Christina Rossetti’s “After Death”
A women’s perspective in death
In Christina Rossetti’s 19th Century poem “After Death” she shows death through the perspective of a dead woman. This is an uncommon poem for the period of time in which the poem was written. Women were not known to be narrator; nevertheless, Rossetti was not the only female poet. There were plenty other of women who weren’t scared to do against the status quo. For example Emily Dickinson wrote plenty of poems from a woman’s point of view like her poem “Because I couldn’t stop for Death” where she begins to speak about death coming to pick her up and acting like such a gentleman. “Death – He kindly stopped for me-“ (lines 1-2). Rossetti begins to draw the reader in by opening with a setting. “The curtains were half drawn, the floor was swept with rushes, rosemary and may ” (lines 1-2). In the 19th century when someone passed on, they were viewed in their homes; therefore, when the deceased is viewed the home is filled with flowers to discard the smell of death. Rossetti was quite straight forward in the poem she doesn’t describe the man nor woman. Only until the fifth line does she begin to only describe their actions through verbs; such as, “leaned”, “thinking” “hear”, Heard”, “turned”. As she describes the actions of the dead woman, it almost seems as if the women is portrayed to be smarter than the man even though she is dead. “ He leaned above me, thinking that I slept”. Knowing what the man is thinking and doing- one step ahead- the woman is saying that the man feels sorrow for this woman but cannot come to terms with her death so merely looks over her body as if she were asleep. But little does the man know that this woman can hear and see him though she is no longer alive. “ But I hear him say, “poor child, poor child” as the silence grew in the room she could now see deep down he truly wept for her. The narrator can see the man cared for her but only when she was gone. Like most people...
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