At the start of the poem, a rhetorical question is used. ‘Who told my mother of my shame, who told my father of my dear?’ implies that the poem is written to a specific person and it gives the poem an accusing tone. This suggests that the speaker blames Sister Maude for what has happened. The use of a caesura in the first stanza also demonstrates the speaker’s anger. ‘Who but Maude, my sister Maude’ suggests a betrayal, the caesura emphasizes the fact that it was the speaker’s own sister who is the cause of her anger. The repetition of ‘Maude’ emphasizes the speaker’s anger as each time it is repeated, the reader is reminded of the cause of the anger.
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Also, the poem has many references to religion. At the time the poem was written, religion was a big part of society and many people believed in an afterlife. ‘My father may sleep in paradise’ is referring to heaven. However; Sister Maude has done something so terrible that the speaker believes that ‘Sister Maude shall get no sleep’. This demonstrates the speaker’s anger as she believes that Maude deserves the worst punishment for what she has done. The final line in the stanza, ‘either early or late’, breaks the rhythm of the poem. This emphasizes the severity of the speaker’s belief as it makes the fate of Maude clear to the reader.
In the final stanza, the speaker shows her anger by separating her from the rest of her family. ‘My father may wear a golden down, my mother a crown may win’ suggests that the speaker believes that her parents will not suffer the same fate as Maude. The speaker also tells the reader that ‘if my dear and I knocked at Heaven-gate, perhaps they’d let us in’. This implies that although the speaker has been shamed by Maude, what she has done is nothing compared to the tragedy caused by Sister Maude.
The final two lines of the poem show how bitter the speaker is towards Maude. The line ‘Sister Maude, oh Sister
Page 2 How does Rossetti use language, form and structure to convey the speaker’s anger towards Sister Maude? Essay
Maude’ implies a mocking tone which suggests the speaker’s spite towards Sister Maude. This emphasizes the anger the speaker has as she can laugh in the face of Maude after telling her what fate awaits her. The final line, ‘bide you with death and sin’, also suggests a spiteful tone. The emphasis on the word ‘you’ implies accusation and makes the line seem like a curse on Maude. This suggests anger as the speaker will never forget what Maude has done and the memory of the event will always haunt her and Maude like a curse.
The rhyme scheme of the poem is ABCB. The rhyme at the end of the second and fourth line of each stanza emphasizes the anger of the speaker as it keeps the poem moving forward and suggests that there is always another point the speaker can make. Using a poem to convey anger suggests that the speaker has put a lot of thought into her accusation, this implies that the anger she feels towards Maude is something that she is always thinking about. Adding two extra lines to the end of the final stanza emphasizes the message that they give. The final two lines of the poem give the speaker’s final message to Maude and this suggests that the sisters did not speak again. The final message given in the poem was the final message given to Maude by her sister. This implies the strength of the speaker’s anger as it tells the reader that the event caused her to hate her sister.See More on Poetry