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What characterizes Christina Rossetti's writing style? 

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caleber96 | Honors

Posted February 26, 2013 at 8:09 PM via web

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What characterizes Christina Rossetti's writing style? 

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted October 22, 2013 at 6:02 AM (Answer #1)

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What is distinctive about the writing style of Christina Rosetti is the way in which her poems often use quite simple diction but have an often much more complex subject matter. Also, her works are often written as if they were songs or nursery rhymes, with regular meter and rhythm. Consider, for example, the first stanza of "Song":

She sat and sang alway

By the green margin of a stream,

Watching the fishes leap and play

Beneath the glad sunbeam.

Such stylistic features as simple diction combined with clear rhyme and rhythm patterns suggest a rather simplistic poetry, and yet Rossetti in so many of her works uses her stylistic features to explore and discuss elements of Christianity and women's place within it. In particular, her brother, William Michael Rossetti, argued that his sister created works infused withher own "spirit of self-postponement," and Virgina Woolf famously remarked of Rossetti's poetry that she "produced poems that sing like music in one's ears..." Stylistic features that are recognised as being common to Rossetti's work therefore are a simple diction and regular rhyme and rhythm which could lead some to take her poems as simple nursery rhymes or songs, yet the content of those poems belie their simple stylistic appearance, as they capture a lyrical beauty and are used to discuss issues such as self-renunciation that are incredibly powerful. Any reading of a poem such as "Goblin Market," which possesses massive narrative intensity, or "A Better Resurrection," in which Rossetti discusses her position as a Christian, will automatically dismiss any claims that her poems are not serious or deep enough for study and general readership.

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