Jenny Rossetti

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Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s fatal woman figures in his poems “Jenny” and paintings Found and Proserpine subverts traditional Victorian gender categories. Rossetti upsets this traditional perception by projecting masculine traits onto his female characters. Rossetti uses these women to express his own insecurities, anxieties, and fantasies. By casting his male gaze and voice onto the female objects, mixing the senses of the genders, creates synaesthetic works that give visual expressions to states of mind. Rossetti’s female twin soul represents the many states of mind one can be in. Therefore, showing our senses are vast, can always be changing, and not limited to the traditional five. What is deemed as tradition or traditional changes meaning…show more content…
By the first stanza, it is made clear that Jenny is a prostitute: “…with your head upon my knee;-/Whose person or whose purse may be/The lodestar of your reverie” (Rossetti 19-21). Rossetti associates male sexual organs with money all while Jenny’s head is upon the narrator’s knee. Yet in the same stanza the narrator draws a parallel to the Virgin Mary saying, “Poor shameful Jenny, full of grace” (18). The continued play on senses through imagery and allusion allows Rossetti to evoke a sympathetic stance from his audience. Along with the references to the Virgin Mary, there are specific images that arouse a sense of the virginal in the same stanza. “…kisses which the blush between / Could hardy make much daintier” (8-9) gives an image of innocence as Jenny blushing between kisses, contradicting Victorian views of the prostitute. It is through these ever-changing senses that Rossetti searches for his clear masculine voice in. However, his voice is never clear because of his second soul, which represents the many states of mind that one can be

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