Theme: Love/Loss, Death, Grief, Hope – that death is not the end

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Type: Sonnet

Background

  • Written by Christina Rossetti – suffered from illness and so it isn’t surprising that she explores the theme of death
  • As a Christian, she believed that death isn’t the end – in this poem
  • She is clearly talking to a loved one and she wants to be remembered by her loved ones
  • We get a sense that she is telling them to be prepared for the worse
  • Many Rossetti poems mix the themes of love and death
  • The poet seems to be inhabiting a world of imagination or ghost-like place even before she dies
  • It is a hopeful poem – one which brings comfort

Language

  • The poem appears pessimistic because she is acting like she will die any day
  • The very first line tells us the two main themes – love and death intertwined
  • Repetition of “Remember me” is done so many times that it is almost haunting
  • The line “Remember me when I am gone away” sound like someone pleaded, wanting recognition
  • Ironically, Rossetti is asking to be remembered, but if remembrance brings sadness, she would rather be forgotten.
  • The mood of the poem is one of wistful longing and sadness at the inevitability of separation by death

Structure and Form

  • The poem is a sonnet (three four-line stanzas and a rhyming couplet)
  • The first two stanzas have the rhyming scheme ABBAABBA – gentle and haunting
  • The sestet CCCDED – changes the mood less regular so more conversational
  • The repetition of remember is haunting – almost like a ghostly whisper or a bell tolling at a funeral

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