Exploring the Loss of Innocence in Christina Rossetti’s poem ‘Cousin Kate’
The poem ‘Cousin Kate” written by Christina Rossetti signifies a story of the speaker which explains what happens to a ‘cottage maiden’ once she has been sullied by a man which consequently leads her to lose her innocence. ‘Cottage maiden’ creates a rural simplistic image of the speaker who has a low status. Due to the Victorian era in which the poem was written it is clear that the poem is based around the fact that women were not treated fairly as there was a patriarchal society.
The poem is directly addressed to Cousin Kate, which fundamentally reflects how in society, blame was blamed on women. The poem is written as a dramatic monologue; moreover Rossetti has used a traditional ballad structure to convey a narrative. The speaker says “Not mindful I was fair”, this adds to the image of her being innocent, she had no intentions to raise her status therefore she’s stressing that she was less deserving to what happened to her. Rossetti then introduces a new character, the Lord, who brings anger, frustration and despair to her. It is evident in “Why did a great lord find me out” and “To fill my heart with care?” this signifies the lord’s powerful status as he has made her care for him, which in turn brings trouble upon her.
In the next stanza Rossetti uses the word “lured” which creates an ominous feeling. “He lured me to his palace home” indicates his status. Also in this stanza it appears that Rossetti has used assonance where she has repeated the sound of ‘o’ in ‘woe’ and ‘moan’. These emphasise the speakers’ sense of grief. Rossetti has used an oxymoron; this conveys the speakers’ confusion thus showing her conflicting state of mind, it is evident in “shameless shameful life” the words are contradicting each other therefore may be showing confusion. Furthermore, Rossetti uses sibilance in the sound ‘sh’, which gives the impression it’s a secret. The simile “like a...
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