Christina Rossetti, selected poems Contents
- A Better Resurrection
- A Birthday
- A Royal Princess
- At Home
- Cousin Kate
- Despised and Rejected
- Goblin Market
- Good Friday
- Jessie Cameron
- Maude Clare
- Shut Out
- Song (When I am dead, my dearest)
- Summer is Ended
- The Convent Threshold
- The Lowest Place
- To Lalla, reading my verses topsy-turvy
- Winter: My Secret
Helpful revision / essay questions
In answering each question, have the relevant poem in front of you and think carefully about language, structure, imagery and themes:
1. What are the central themes of Goblin Market? How does the language used contribute to the overall effectiveness of the poem?
2. What does Cousin Kate suggest about the place of women in Victorian society?
3. In what ways would you describe A Better Resurrection as a hopeful poem?
4. Both A Birthday and Song (When I am dead, my dearest) are concerned with natural and spontaneous expression through song or poetry. With this in mind, compare their use of the lyric voice.
5. How does A Royal Princess portray the problems of society? How does it offer a challenge to the reader?
6. Write an essay on the identity of the speaker in At Home.
7. How is the speaker's relationship with God described in Despised and Rejected?
8. What are the echoes that Rossetti describes in her poem Echo? How do they contribute to the tone of the poem?
9. In what ways can Good Friday be described as devotional? How could a reading of the poem help an individual who is struggling with his or her emotions?
10. Discuss the representation of the sea in Jessie Cameron.
11. Compare the characteristics of Maude and Nell in Maude Clare.
12. Discuss the speaker of Remember. How are her struggles represented?
13. Describe and identify any shifts in tone in Shut Out.
14. Discuss the struggles that the speaker of The Convent Threshold faces. How are these struggles represented through language and structure?
15. Compare and analyse the various warnings that Rossetti offers in The Lowest Place and Summer is ended.
16. Discuss the representation of reading in To Lalla, reading my verses topsy-turvy.
17. What are the central comparisons that structure Twice? Think about the journey of the speaker as she makes these comparisons and reaches conclusions.
18. How far do you agree with the view that Goblin Market is a story for children?
19. How far do you agree with the view that an overwhelming sadness hangs over Rossetti's poems?
20. To what extent do you think that The Convent Threshold is an assertion of love?
21. How do you respond to the view that the males in Rossetti's poems are always villains?
22. Betrayal is at the heart of the relationships between men and women in Rossetti's poetry. How do you respond to this view?
23. Some readers find The Convent Threshold a most uncomfortable reading experience. Do you think the poem is an uncomfortable reading experience?
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