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Cousin Kate by Christina Rossetti

A revision resource
by

Mr Wood

on 21 March 2013

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Transcript of Cousin Kate by Christina Rossetti

Cousin Kate By Christina Rossetti How is love presented? More contrast and oxymoron Joy at Kate's failure? Other people's perceptions Is it a bit rude? Innocence The Narrator The Other Woman The Lord The Characters: a love triangle Presents herself as innocent and pure. She is attractive, but not really aware of her own beauty. He is a predator. Look at how he seeks the women out. Kate is younger, more attractive. Is there a hint of jealousy? The narrator is cast aside in favour of her own cousin, so she is betrayed by her own family. Look at the sounds in the title - the alliteration of the harsh 'k' sound gives a hint of venom. There is a joyful sense at first. The oxymoron is interesting. 'Shameless' sounds as if they have nothing to feel guilty about, so does the 'shameful' element come later when she realises it is wrong? Or does the shame come from the wider community?
Can you be a 'plaything' and a 'love'? Yes. I'll let you work that out.

Look at the contrast between "dove" and "unclean thing". She was virginal and pure like a dove, but has become sullied by her love affair.

Look also at how he treats her, casting her aside. The contrast between the two women comes from outside: it is other people - including the Lord - who see the narrator as impure.

Look also at the way Cousin Kate is described as being "bound" with the wedding ring. This is a great opportunity to explore language. The metaphor can be seen as positive if you consider them bound together in a marriage, but also negative if she is constrained and unable to escape. The narrator's joy is very interesting and complex - a great opportunity to explore the language and how she is perceived:

look at the order of "my shame, my pride". First shame, then pride. Why? Is this the order that she saw the child? Does pride being last emphasise her feelings for him?
the juxtaposition shows how society views her contrasts with how she views him
is she proud because of the child as a human, or because Kate cannot conceive? The narrator concludes by looking at her own fecundity and that of Kate. She knows that both the Lord and her cousin want a child, but cannot conceive.
does she enjoy this failure? Look at the word "coronet" and the phrase "broad lands".
There is a sense of value and worth, money and possessions, as well as social standing. The narrator has nothing of this kind.
But what she has she values more. Feelings at the end Read my poem and I shall tell you some important stuff to revise... That's all folks...
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