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Shut Out - Christina Rossetti

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by

Awien William

on 6 May 2016

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Transcript of Shut Out - Christina Rossetti

Shut Out - Christina Rossetti
A Brief Summary
Key Themes and Quotations
Most important Poetic Techniques
Pronouns
Rhyme scheme

Rossetti seems to use
pronouns
to emphasize her loneliness and exclusion but also to show who holds the power between the persona and 'shadowless spirit'.
'It had been
mine
, and it was
lost
'
The
juxtaposition

of 'mine' and 'lost' seems to show the relationship between possessions and
women in the Victorian era
. Rossetti perhaps wants to show that women in the Victorian era had no possessions or power over anything because something that belonged to the persona was lost. Conversely, the loss of her possessions seems to emphasize the persona's
loneliness
and

isolation
without the garden and nature - which could be
symbolic of freedom or someone beloved.
'
He
answered not.'
Rossetti's use of the
masculine pronoun
to describe the spirit that 'kept the gate' gives the spirit a sense of power. Keeping in mind that because Rossetti lived in a
male dominated patriarchal society
,
'he'
is used to emphasize the spirits dominance.
'Wherein a lark made
her
nest'
Female personal pronoun
is used for a fragile bird to
symbolize
how women were viewed in the Victorian era. Contrarily, Rossetti may be
subverting readers view of women
because the lark has her own nest.
The rhyme scheme of this poem is
ABBA
. It is also written in
iambic tetrameter
.
This controlled rhyme scheme may be the persona gaining a sense of power. Through this sense of control Rossetti seems to be subverting the readers expectations of a frustrated, angry and isolated persona.
Pastoral Imagery
Rossetti seems to use
pastoral imagery
to depict women's freedom under male control and some aspects of
Religious imagery
like the garden of Eden.
The pastoral imagery that perhaps could be used to
depict freedom
is
'flowers bedweed and green'
. interestingly, held behind 'iron bars' it seems to reinforce the idea that the persona is feels
imprisoned
and
trapped
.
However, the garden and purity of pastoral imagery could be symbolic of the
Garden of Eden
and the
'iron bars'
perhaps the
gates of heaven
. These seem to be
religious connotations
, as we know Rossetti was a devout Christian so this would be a likely interpretation of the garden.
Connect and Contrast
Speaker seems to be "shut out" of her garden but it's not revealed why.
She asks the "shadowless spirit", who is
standing guard
, to give her some buds from her garden to cheer her up.
When the spirit doesn't reply she attempts to bargain with it.
This has an
adverse effect
as it responds to this by building a wall so she can no longer look through the gate into her garden.
The poem ends with the speaker
lamenting her loss
and comparing the flowers surrounding her to those in her garden.
By: Awien, Princess & Simba



'Shut out' can be compared to countless Rossetti poems where in which she uses
pastoral imagery
to symbolize something like 'Goblin market' where fruits were used to create
sexual
and
phallic imagery
and flowers to convey the purity of the girls.

Contrastingly, 'Song (When I Am Dead My Dearest)' has pastoral imagery too, however the persona seems to not want the nature as desperately as the persona in 'Shut Out' does. This is apparent through the line
'Plant thou no roses at my head/nor shady Cyprus tree:'
Iambic Tetrameter?

A line of poetry with four beats of one stressed syllable followed by one unstressed syllable.

This technique seems to sound like a heart beat so maybe Rossetti's replicating the persona's calm heart beat through iambic tetrameter.
Full transcript