How Rossetti Narrates the Story of 'Cousin Kate' Essay

1268 Words Oct 23rd, 2012 6 Pages
‘How does Rossetti tell the story in Cousin Kate’
In Cousin Kate the poet presents the reader with the idea that women have many expectations in life and are governed by men, giving them no real freedom, and that to become truly happy one must break away from social expectations. Personally I believe this poem presents Rossetti with a stage where she can speak of her resentment at the power men have and the weaknesses and few liberties that women have in the Victorian period; as in the end she takes sympathy for Cousin Kate who appears to have everything, because she must live under the order of her husband.
Rossetti chooses a first person narrative in this poem so the narrator can addresses her questions, laments and moans to Kate. She
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Also for a modern reader the time which is it set has great implications on our interpretation of the poem, as all the supposed sins she has committed aren’t considered sins in our society, it’s important for us to realise that she became ‘an outcast thing’ because of the restraints and expectations of women in Victorian society.
The language Rossetti uses helps the story to unfold and the shift of attention to show the powerlessness of women in the Victorian period. Throughout the poem the poet uses verbs to describe the lord as always taking control, and the women as passive inferring that men always make the decisions ‘great lord find me out’ ; ‘he lured me’ ; ‘he changed me’; ‘cast me by’; ‘he wore me.’ These are harsh actions, which become more ominous with regard to Kate. Like a stalker, the lord: ‘Chose you’ ‘lifted you’ ‘saw you’ ‘he bound you.’ By portraying the actions of the women as against their control and suggesting that their fates were determined by the ‘Great Lord’ Rossetti is vividly expressing the small freedoms women had in a supposedly free country.
Moreover, Rossetti uses many alternative language features throughout to help tell the story; the repetition used in: ‘Why did a great lord find me out’, conveys the anger

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