Studying Christina Rossetti’s Poetry
AQA Spec B
Unit 1: Aspects of Narrative
Areas to cover
Context and Background:
 Religion –High Anglican
 Representation of 19th century women
 Feminist theory
 Pre-Raphaelite brotherhood
 Death
 Love and Unhappy Love
 Temptation
 Religion
 Role of women
Narrative Aspects to consider:
 Metaphor and extended metaphor
 Discourse
 Use of the natural world
 Fable and fairy tale
 Poems as Allegories
 Narrative voice
 Voice of women
Useful websites:
 Pre-Raphaelite
Women: Christina Rossetti
4404?tag=rbxcra.2.a.11 Critical essays on Rossetti’s poetry
 Analysis of The Goblin Market
 The Letters of
Christina Rossetti
 Really useful resource4
Some key points to consider:
Celebrates the joy of the natural world
Comes from an artistic background
Some critics have suggested that she was sexually abused by her
Explore devotional and secular themes in poetry
Uses the seasons to highlight cyclical nature of life
Includes images of decay, destruction and threat, juxtaposed with
images of renewal, creation and harmony
Examples of tension between control and chaos and between self
assertion and self destruction, often resulting in intensity.
Suggests that the only resolution offered for conflict and tensions
is death
Deals with repression of Victorian women
Suggests that sexual temptation is the downfall of mankind
Generic activities for studying poetry:
Complete Narrative Analysis charts for each poem
Hot-seat speakers in poems
Find images to represent metaphors and extended metaphors
Recreating as fairytales with critical commentary
Adopting voice of other characters in poems and rewriting in
similar style but from different perspective
Find/create music to suit poem, looking at tone and rhythm
Create their own webquest
Set up a blog to discuss issues
Group annotation of poem and feedback
Alphabet chart for Rosetti: A for Anglican, B for brotherhood of
pre-raphaelites etc Can go on the classroom wall
Storyboarding of poems
Write a commentary of the poems in a similar poetic style, using
same techniques an dforms
Discussion groups-groups create their own discussion threads for
given poems
Research context and background
Teach poems to key stage 3 classes
Make sure students can explain ‘how the writer tells the story’ in
each poem