How is the story told in Cousin Kate?
Cousin Kate is told in first person narrative from the view of an unnamed narrator; however, the narrator is also involved in the poem. It is told in ballad form and also could be interpreted as a letter to the narrator’s Cousin, Kate. The narrator introduces herself as a “cottage maiden”, she is seen as humbling herself and through this first line we see her as a meek character. This meek character contrasts to the anger and jealousy we see from the narrator later in the poem. “Not mindful was I fair”, this also shows her as meek and uncaring of her looks. The repetition of “Why did a great lord find me out?” exemplifies the narrator’s annoyance and regret of her meeting with this great lord. The great lord “filled her heart with care” this shows that in contrast to her uncaring attitude towards her looks previously, this lord has now made her notice her looks and become mindful of them. The second stanza begins- “He lured me into his palace home”, this gives the reader the impression that she was fooled into an affair. The word ‘lured’ makes the great lord seem a predator and the narrator his prey. This could have a sexual meaning behind it. “To lead a shameless shameful life”, this oxymoron has a more obvious sexual meaning behind it. The words ‘shameless’ and ‘shameful’ conflict making this an oxymoron. This could mean that it was shameless for her enjoyment of the sexual act but it was in fact in real life shameful. She is objectified through the quote “He wore me like a silken knot; he changed me like a glove”. This shows his lack of interest for her as a person, he only used her for sexual intentions, and ‘changed her’ when he felt like it. This quote could also be a sexual innuendo. “An unclean thing, who might have been a dove”. This shows how her innocence and purity is gone and she is now unclean, she has lost her chance to be pure because of her deeds with this great lord. The third stanza introduces the...
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