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"Winter my secret" by Christina Rossetti
Transcript of "Winter my secret" by Christina Rossetti
by Christina Rossetti
Traditionally, women from this period had to follow honor codes, which involved being pure and silent.
"Victorian society was preoccupied not only with legal and economic limitations for women's lives but with the very nature of women". (Carol T. Christ & Catherine Robson, 2006)
Most female Victorian poets were seeking liberty and wanted to voice their emotion through their writing.
"Winter: My Secret"
Sexual Desire Theme
The poem begins by the speaker teasing the listener with the idea that she has a secret.
"Only, my secret's mine, and I won't tell".
The language is flirtatious and portrays a mysterious sensual thought in her mind. There are indications of playfulness and seduction.
"Suppose there is no secret after all/ But only just my fun"
The speaker appears active and in control of her sexuality as she lures the listener.
Sexual Desire Language
The language in this dramatic monologue suggests how the speaker is guarding kiss-and-tell gossip.
These verbs have connotations of intimacy and sexual activity.
They correspond to kisses, suggesting this woman is promiscuous, and rebelling the conventional pure Victorian woman.
Desire For Privacy
Rossetti promotes the power of the female mind.
The speaker takes ownership of her secret and never reveals what it is.
"a veil, a cloak, and other wraps"
These private thoughts are masked away, suggesting the secret is protected in her mind by a metaphorical veiled shield.
could be reinterpreted as society aggressively attempting to expose the truth.
By revealing the speaker has a secret, this causes the public's desire to chip away at her thoughts.
Rossetti operates the words in her poem as a barrier to the mind.
This presents that no matter how enclosed women's lives may be physically, they will always have a creative mental space.
The poem portrays the idea that Victorian women desired a private place of their own where they could have imaginative freedom from their contained lives.
Rossetti was an English poet most famous for her works, "Goblin Market", "Remember" and "Winter: My Secret".
She lived a quiet life and never married.
She is described as "One of nineteenth-century England's greatest 'Odd Women'". (Greenblatt & Abrams, 2006)
This poem was written in 1857.
It is a dramatic monologue which is a poetic form used to conceal the female speaker's secret, acting as a mask.
There are four stanzas with varied rhyming schemes such as, internal rhyme, "blows and snows" and rhyming couplets, "A veil, a cloak, and other wraps:/ I cannot ope to every one who taps."
Desire for privacy
"Winter: My Secret" portrays a woman's sensual urge to protect her secret passions.
Consequently, this causes the speaker's desire for a private interior space from society.
Both forms of desire are secretly locked away inside her mind, displaying the speaker's powerful imaginative freedom.
Thank you for watching!
I hope this helped with your understanding of Christina Rossetti's poem, "Winter: My Secret".
There is continued sexual imagery involving food and consumption.
"golden fruit ripening to excess"
The sexual desire is symbolised through the ripe fruit associated with greed.
There is an engagement with temptation but Rossetti's speaker is not revealing all of her thoughts because they are locked inside her mental interior space.