Also the use of “the silver stream” tells us that the girl is drunk by using alliteration to create a slurring sound. In ‘The Seduction’ there are similes such as “his eyes as blue as iodine” and “the Mersey, green as a septic wound”. These similes help to create a picture of the setting by giving the reader something to compare with. In ‘Cousin Kate’ the metaphor “your love was writ in sand” is used. This tells us that the maid thinks Kate’s love is temporary and fake. She believes it could simply be washed away. A lot of the language used in ‘The Seduction’ is symbolic.
“So she followed him there all high white shoes” is an example of this. It is important that the shoes are described as white as white is a symbol of purity and purity is a strong theme is both of the poems. Later in the poem it says “and on that day she broke the heels of her high white shoes”. This is telling us that she has lost her innocence and is no longer pure. Another example of this is in ‘The Seduction’ where the girl rips up all her magazines “until they were just bright paper, like confetti strewn on the carpet”. The confetti is linked to weddings.
The word confetti is used as it is immediately linked to marriage, and again purity. Finally, ‘The Seduction’ says “with a softly rounded belly”. The word belly is used because it is a childish word and so reminds us that the girl in the poem is still a child. Symbolism is also used in ‘Cousin Kate’. The maid says “you sit in gold and sing”. Gold is a symbol of wealth and riches, singing represents happiness. The maiden says “so I sit and howl in dust” as dust is a symbol of poverty and dirt. The maid is saying she feels lonely, dirty and unhappy. Another technique used in both poems is repetition, which is mainly used for emphasis.
In ‘The Seduction’ it says “by stupid, stupid promises”. This could be an example of the girl realising her guilt and beginning to face up to the mistakes she’s made. It tells us how she feels about the events by repeating the things that keep going over in her head. In ‘Cousin Kate’ the maid asks her son to “cling closer, closer yet”. This is because she wants the reader to know how much she cares for her son and wants to look after him. It reassures the reader that although he’s illegitimate and his conception was a mistake, her son is loved very much. Contrast is another theme that featured greatly in both poems.
In ‘Cousin Kate’ the contrast between Kate, the maid and their relationships is decreased a lot. The poem says that while the lord was with the maid he “changed me like a glove” but when he was with Kate he “bound you with his ring”. This shows he has a different attitude between each woman, and also has different attitudes towards each person. The poem also says: “So I sit and howl in dust, You sit in gold and sing. ” This talks about the situation of both of the women after Kate has married the lord. The two women are said to be sitting in either gold or dust and either howling or singing.
These are very different and create a clear difference in how life is for them. Another comparison used in the poem is: “O cousin Kate my love was true, Your love was writ in sand”. This is used to describe the maid’s feelings about Kate’s relationship. She says that although she really loved the lord, Kate does not. Finally in ‘Cousin Kate’ the maid says “yet I’ve a gift you have not got”. By this she means that she has a son and as she later goes on to say (“and seem not like to get”) Kate will possibly never have a child. The maid knows how much the lord wants one “to wear his coronet” or gain his inheritance.
There are also many comparisons in ‘The Seduction’ of before and after the girl becomes pregnant. Before she was pregnant she dreamt of holidays and teenage parties. After she is pregnant the girl says: “Where were all the glossy photos of summer? Day trips to Blackpool, jumping all the rides” After she is pregnant she no longer feels that she will be able to go on these trips and follow these dreams. Before she is pregnant, the girl used to read teen magazines such as ‘My Guy’ and ‘Jackie’ but after she became pregnant she couldn’t read them anymore, as she felt betrayed and cheated by all the stories and promises in them.
The poem says: “For where now was the summer of her sixteenth year? Full of glitzy fashion features, and stories of romance? ” She feels that she has missed out on opportunities that other sixteen year olds have. Also before she falls pregnant, the girl is planning to sit her O levels in June. Afterwards she says: “Better to be smoking scented drugs Or festering visibly unemployed Better to destroy yourself in modern man made ways Than to fall into this despicable man made void. ” She is now saying she would prefer to take drugs, become unemployed and destroy her life than to become pregnant.
She describes becoming pregnant as falling into a “despicable feminine void”. This means that she feels her life is now empty; pregnancy is like a female disease, guaranteed to spoil your life. Both poems also contain questions. In ‘Cousin Kate’ the maid says: “Why did a great lord find me out And praise my flaxen hair? Why did a great lord find me out To fill my heart with care? ” She is questioning herself and makes the reader do the same. This is done to give the impression that the maid is confused. She isn’t used to receiving attention from men and doesn’t really know what to do.