The Seduction is a poem written by Eileen McCauley. It is about a young and vulnerable sixteen year old girl whose head is filled with thoughts about love and romance portrayed in teenage magazines. These fake ideals lead her to believe that a boy, whom she meets at a party, truly loves her, when really he is just getting her drunk so her resistance will be lower and she will give in to what he wants from her: sex. Three months later she discovers that she is pregnant, she blames teen magazines for filling her head with false ideal of romance.
In the very first verse of the poem, the writer introduces the scene of the poem, “He led her to the quiet bricks of the Birkenhead docks, far past the silver stream of the traffic throughout the city, far from the blind windows of the tower blocks. ” This tells us of how there is nobody around to witness what they do. It becomes clear to the reader at the beginning of the poem that he is trying to get her drunk, as when the poet is describing the moment they met, one of the first things he is doing is buying her drinks. We also see this at a later stage when they are at the docks. He handed her the vodka” – this quote proves that he is making an effort to try and get the girl drunk because the alcohol will affect her decisions and causes her to agree to things she normally wouldn’t. Also In the second verse, the boy mutters “little slag. ”
This shows us that the boy thinks very little of the girl and lacks respect for women. We then discover that the girl is under some sort of spell because as he talked about football, “she had nodded, quite enchanted” this shows us that she is keen to listen to what he has to say. With his eyes as blue as iodine” – the use of the word ‘iodine’ used to describe his eyes suggests that there is something dark about him as iodine is a dark blue/black acid. In the fifth stanza, the boy mentions that he goes down to the river when he should be in school or having dinner with “a bag of shimmering paint thinner. ” This shows us that he doesn’t spend much, if any time in school and that he uses the paint thinner as a drug. If the girl was sober, this would be a clear sign to stay away from him but he has lowered her resistance by getting her drunk.
We can tell that the girl is a young teenager who enjoys school and wants to do well as she talks about her education in an enthusiastic way. The beginning of the sixth stanza makes us realise how precocious this girl really is, “so she followed him there, all high white shoes, all wide blue eyes and bottles of vodka. ” This sentence shows us that she is trying to grow up too fast because this is what the magazines made her believe was the right thing to do. The poets then says “then when he swiftly contrived to kiss her, his kiss was scented by Listerine” this tells us that he was prepared for what he wanted to do.
Even though we realise that the girl is very precocious, we discover how immature she actually is as it says “she stifled a giggle, reminded of numerous stories from teenage magazines” this also tells us that she has read about moments like these but hasn’t experienced them until now. The next stanza begins with “When she discovers she was three months gone” this shows us that the poet has used euphemism to emphasise the harsh reality of what this girl is going through. And she ripped up all her My Guy and Jackie photo comics” I think she does this because the magazines are what filled her head with false ideals about what romance and love should be like. She is angry that the media lied to her and that’s why she ripped then all up. The next stanza then says “and on that day, she broke the heels of her high white shoes and flung them at the wall” she does this because they were the shoes she wore on the night of the party to make her look and feel older.
She doesn’t want them anymore as she realises that she doesn’t want to be older because of the massive problem that she is faced with. The eighth stanza is mainly telling us about what the magazines have told this girl about what her life should be like “full of glitzy fashion features and stories of love and romance, where strangers could lead you to bright new worlds, and how would you know if you never took a chance? ” This reflects on the consequences of what she did last night and how the media made her think she should take a chance.
The ninth stanza says “full of fresh fruit diets” this shows us that she won’t be able to try out any of these diets as she is now three months pregnant. “Now with a softly rounded belly, she was sickened every morning by stupid stupid promises, only tacitly made” This shows us that she is reminded every morning of the huge mistake that she made that night. Also the word “stupid” is repeated twice, maybe to emphasise that she regrets her actions a lot.
The poet then states in the ten and eleventh stanza the things that the girl would be missing out on. This reminds us that the girl is so young and is faced with problems that she shouldn’t have to face at that age. “With a glass of lager-shandy, on a carpeted floor” this sentence makes the fantasy of romance seem far better than what is really is. The use of the words “carpeted floor” makes it seem luxurious and “lager shandy” makes it seem much more innocent as it is a lighter drink than the vodka she drunk the night of the party.
In the last few stanzas, the poet states things that the girl would rather do than become pregnant “But then again, better to be smoking scented drugs or festering, invisibly unemployed” This shows us that she is almost going into a state of depression. She then describes being ‘stuck in a feminine void’, which basically means accidentally becoming pregnant. In the very last stanza, it becomes clear to us that she is very ashamed of herself because the poet says “better to turn away, move away, fade away, than to have the neighbours whisper ‘you always looked the type. ’
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