Sister Maude



Ballad Form

- Traditionally used for storytelling, often love stories

- First Person Narrative

- The Narrative is biased and emotional which makes the poem highly personal

- ABCB Rhyme Scheme - Rossetti manipulates these features as it's a love story gone wrong

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Stanza 1

We learn that a secret relationship has been discovered by the speaker's parents.

Repetition of 'Who told' - This puts emphasis on the annoyance and disbelief of the speaker conveying a sense of change and conflict in the Speaker's life

Juxtaposition of 'Shame' and 'Dear' - This conveys that there was a secrecy in this relationship and describes the relationship between the two, showing that there was love in their relationship

'Oh' - This cyncial exclamation creates a bitter tone as if the situation is becoming clear to her conveying to the audience a sense of realisation and anger.

'My' - The Personal Pronoun shows the audience that there is a family connection showing how deep this betryal is, showing how deeply upset the speaker is that her own family has done this, this sets up the story as the poem is about the betrayal

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Stanza 2

We learn that the Speaker's love has died

"Cold as stone" - This simile almost has a double meaning in this poem, it could be a nice synonym to proclaim his death but it could also be metaphorical to describe the Speaker's heart and life now that her lover is dead.

"Clotted Curls" - This alliteration conveys descriptive imagery which is deeply personal as it gives an insight into the viewpoint of the Speaker as to what she literally sees making the poem seem more emotional and we now know the context of the death and visualise his dead body.

"Comeliest Corpse" - This alliteration and use of superlatives shows how highly the Speaker thinks of him that even in death, she stilll loves him dealy - and elevates him. This conveys to the audience a deep admiration implying how heartbroken the Speaker must be making the audience feel sympathetic. 

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Stanza 3

The Speaker directly addresses her sister and accuses her jealously of killing him

Sibalance - This creates a tone of disgust as if she is biting out the words towards her sister, creating a very negative tone showing her dislike towards her because of the event conveying the anger that the Speaker must have to be angry at a family member.

"He'd have never looked on you." - This is the line that suggests Maude's jealously and shows that the Speaker knows why Maude has some participation in it, this blunt direct address is not only rude but shows how bitter she is to be this abrupt. 

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Stanza 4

The Speaker contrasts her heavenly parents to her sister.

Parallel Structures - This possesive parallel structure conveys a childish tone as if she was showing off how heavenly her parents are showing how rude and bitter this hearbreak has turned her. Also note that the Speaker uses 'my' instead of 'our' secluding Maude from the family unit conveying that she is disinheriting her because of this betrayal.

Semantics to Death - Lexis choices such as 'paradise' and 'Heaven-gate' shows that the Speaker is thinking about death and perhaps is obsessing over it thinking about her lover constantly and constantly conveying how broken she has become. 

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Stanza 5

The Speaker detaches herself from her sister

Added two lines - This draws attention to the content in the actual lines as it breaks the pattern and becomes slightly disjointed representing the disruption that Maude made in her life. This is also the section where the Speaker curses her making it significant and conveying importance to the audience as if this is the ending to the story.

"Oh Sister Maude" - This exclamation is ironic showing how bitter she became as she no longer uses a personal pronoun to describe her, this conveys a sense of wickedness and cruelty, preparing the audience for an ending. 

'You' in Italics - This direct address traps Maude in death and sin and draws attention to this, this puts emphasis on the blame of the situation showing how obsessive the Speaker has become as she is singling out her sister to curse her. 

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