Thursday, 9 February 2012

Sister Maude - Christina Georgina Rossetti

Christina Rossetti lived 64 years 1830 - 1894 and was born in London, in the Victorian period.
The values the Victorian upheld were those like married before you had kids and your family had to approve of your marriage and the fact. Rossetti wrote a range of children poems and some very strong feminism poems.

The poem is written through the perspective of the person having the love affair, and she kept it secret from her mother and father, but her sister told her parents about it; the betrayal.

Theres a sense of betrayal, anger, jealousy between two sisters. There is also sense of mystery between a murder/death. It's a secret love affair.there is use of rhetorical questions in line 2.
Also in lines 1 and 2, the write repeats 'who told my..' which has a sarcastic reading of an obvious knowledge. There's an idea of shame, as in she's not ashamed of her relationship but her family would shame her if they knew.
In line 3, the syntax is unusual as the removal of sister in the first part of the line makes it more shocking that a family member would betray you.
'lurked' is used in line 4 to emphasise her sister's jealousy. 'Spy and 'Peer' give a sense of sympathy towards the writer as she is being spied on by her own sister.

The writer is abusive and harsh against her sister and her lover.
In lines 5 and 6 there is use of similie and alliteration 'clotted curls', 'cold as stone'.
 there is a contradiction between 'Clotted,' and 'Curls'.
In line 7, 'comeliest' is used as a superlative and then 'corpse', this is use of binary opposite.
Line 7 and 8 suggest that he is the most attractive man in the world and she will never find anyone else like that. there is a juxtaposition because comeliest and corpse.

'You might have spared his soul, sister,
Have spared my soul, your own soul too'
There is use of repetition to emphasise that she shouldn't have done it
Though i had not been born at all,
he'd never have looked at you'
Theres a real sense of jealousy on her sisters behalf here and the fact that Maude done it out of spite.

In the fourth stanza it suggests that Maude will be plagued by hell and death as she 'shall get no sleep'
and in the fifth stanza it suggests that her mother and father will be ok as they have done nothing wrong so they shall wear a golden gown and her mother will win a crown.
She also thinks her sins may be be forgivable as she suspects that if her and her lover went to heavens gate they might let her in, but then says 'bide you with death and sin' targeted at her sister, this emphasises the betrayal. The use of sibilance is prominent here is the repetition of 'sister,' this has a religious connotation and the language reflects a snake-like sound with reflects on the original sin where the snake, in the garden of Eden, betrayed Eve. there is also a sense that she is cursing her sister.

Could be compared to sonnet 43 as it starts with a rhetorical, you could link them by the religious aspects.
Also could compare to Brother about the family relationships as growing apart.
Could compare to sonnet 16, you link these through the presentation of love, 'love is eternal'.
Both sonnets are about intense love where this is about intense hatred.

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