Marriage in Christina Rossetti's Promises Like Pie-Crust and Edgar Allan Poe's Bridal Ballad

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Marriage in Rossetti's Promises Like Pie-Crust and Poe's Bridal Ballad

In Christina Rossetti's "Promises Like Pie-Crust" and Edgar Allan Poe's "Bridal Ballad" female speakers encounter the milestone of marriage. Facing strong pressures from society, Rossetti's speaker refuses marriage in three well-reasoned arguments which are veiled in a guise of superciality. Conversely, Poe's speaker accepts marriage, but by the end of the poem realizes the dire consequences of her decision. Rossetti knows what she wants and does not want out of life; subsequently, Rossetti realizes that personal satisfaction and even joy may exist without a man and thus makes the tough decision not to marry. Poe's naive bride trusts in society and marries
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Marriage, the central issue of the two poems, involves a momentous decision in the lives of both speakers.

"Bridal Ballad's" title immediately reveals the poem's marriage theme. Acknowledging "the ring is on [her] hand," the bride confirms her wedded state by the presence of her wedding band. Describing "the wreath [upon her] brow," the bride still wears her wedding attire; apparently, "Bridal Ballad" occurs on her wedding day. While "Bridal Ballad" quickly discloses the matrimonial theme, "Promises Like Pie-Crust" neverdirectly mentions marriage. Instead, the word "promise" metaphorically represents such a union. Promises, as defined by Roget's Dictionary, consist of commitments or pledges such as mutual contracts for future marriages. Expressly desiring to remain friends with the proposing man in line 21, Rossetti's speaker refuses to take one step further and commit herself in marriage. Since Rossetti practices and anti-marriage stance in her personal life, the poet's history further validates the inference that the poem concerns a refusal of marriage.

Rossetti's first argument shuns marriage's inherent uncertainty. Alluding to Shakespeare, the speaker wishes to "hold the die uncast." The die symbolize the "game" of marriage where the risks run high; failure in marriage involves a life-long penalty, since divorce during the Victorian

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