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What are the themes of Christina Rossetti's "A Birthday" besides those below? -Getting...

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abwa2013 | (Level 3) eNoter

Posted May 4, 2013 at 11:50 AM via web

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What are the themes of Christina Rossetti's "A Birthday" besides those below?

-Getting introduced to her religion

-Celebrating the day she was born

-Meeting her love

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

Posted May 5, 2013 at 11:12 AM (Answer #1)

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There seem to be few other possible themes for this poem apart from the ones identified in this poem. The way that the poem is entitled "A Birthday" with the indefinite article rather than "My Birthday" strongly suggests that this poem is not strictly about the speaker's own birthday. Certainly the extremity of emotion and joy she experiences on this day is somewhat incongruous if it were her birthday alone. Note the way that such lines strongly hint that what the title refers to is not a literal birthday but the day when something was birthed:

Because the birthday of my life

Is come, my love is come to me.

The phrase "birthday of my life" indicates that the speaker feels in a very real sense that she has not lived before because of the way she now feels alive and happy in a way that she has never experienced prior to this important "birthday." The final line of the poem indicates that this birthday relates to a "love" who has entered the speaker's life. Whether this love is, as the question suggests, a description of God and is a religious experience, or whether the poem is actually about a more physical and corporeal love is unclear. In a sense, it is unimportant, as the speaker clearly does not identify the source of this life changing event. What is clear is that with the advent of this "love," the speaker's life will never be the same again, and the description as she tries to capture her emotions and feelings of joy and ecstasy highlight this strongly.

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abwa2013 | (Level 3) eNoter

Posted May 5, 2013 at 11:53 AM (Answer #2)

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There seem to be few other possible themes for this poem apart from the ones identified in this poem. The way that the poem is entitled "A Birthday" with the indefinite article rather than "My Birthday" strongly suggests that this poem is not strictly about the speaker's own birthday. Certainly the extremity of emotion and joy she experiences on this day is somewhat incongruous if it were her birthday alone. Note the way that such lines strongly hint that what the title refers to is not a literal birthday but the day when something was birthed:

Because the birthday of my life

Is come, my love is come to me.

The phrase "birthday of my life" indicates that the speaker feels in a very real sense that she has not lived before because of the way she now feels alive and happy in a way that she has never experienced prior to this important "birthday." The final line of the poem indicates that this birthday relates to a "love" who has entered the speaker's life. Whether this love is, as the question suggests, a description of God and is a religious experience, or whether the poem is actually about a more physical and corporeal love is unclear. In a sense, it is unimportant, as the speaker clearly does not identify the source of this life changing event. What is clear is that with the advent of this "love," the speaker's life will never be the same again, and the description as she tries to capture her emotions and feelings of joy and ecstasy highlight this strongly.

 

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