E212-M Christina Rossetti Questions
E212-M CHRISTINA ROSSETTI QUESTIONS


Assigned: "Song — She sat and sang alway" (1584), "Song — When I am dead, my dearest" (1584), "After Death" (1585), "In an Artist's Studio" (1586), "Winter: My Secret" (1588), "No, Thank You, John" (1601), "Sleeping at Last" (1604).

"Song" (I)

1. What is the value of memory and hope in this poem? What changes have they wrought, if any, in this poem's speaker? From what force has the speaker been released?

2. How is this poem concerned with the limitations of expression? How are the speaker's emotions resolved or dealt with, if they in fact are dealt with?

"Song" (II)

3. What is the point of the speaker's projecting consciousness beyond death?

4. How are remembrance and forgetting similar in their effect?

5. Is Nature present in this poem? If so, what role does it play?

"After Death"

6. What perspective does this poem afford the speaker? In what sense does the speaker gain release from forces restricting her?

"In an Artist's Studio"

7. What reflections does this poem make about the way Pre-Raphaelite art represents women?

8. How is the woman referred to in Christina Rossetti's poem transformed from her ordinary self, and to what end?

"Winter My Secret"

9. What is the benefit to be gained from keeping a secret? How does the speaker treat the imagined addressee in this poem?

10. What purpose do the references to the seasons serve?

11. How is this poem about expression and concealment? What sorts of expression are alluded to?

"No Thank You, John"

12. How does this poem construct an unattractively "male" perspective on male/female relations, and how does the female speaker counter that perspective?

13. How does this poem differentiate between friendship and love?

"Sleeping at Last"

14. Compare this poem to earlier poems in which Christina Rossetti concerns herself with the subject of death. What has changed about her perspective?

Edition: Abrams, M. H. et al. The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Vols. 2A-C. 7th ed. New York: Norton, 2000. ISBN 2A = 0393975681, 2B = 039397569X, 2C = 0393975703.