Christina Rossetti Remember Comprehension

Remember

Introduction

The speaker in Christina Rossetti’s “Remember” wants her lover to remember her fondly when she has “gone far away into the silent land” and not to feel any guilt when the memories begin to fade because she would rather be forgotten if it made them feel “sad”. In this way, the speaker is willing to sacrifice her physical desires for the happiness of her true love.

Remember

Remember me when I am gone away,
Gone far away into the silent land;
When you can no more hold me by the hand,
Nor I half turn to go yet turning stay.
Remember me when no more day by day
You tell me of our future that you plann’d:
Only remember me; you understand
It will be late to counsel then or pray.
Yet if you should forget me for a while
And afterwards remember, do not grieve:
For if the darkness and corruption leave
A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,
Better by far you should forget and smile
Than that you should remember and be sad.

Dictionary Work

When you are studying any text, you should look up any unfamiliar words or phrases because it will help your understanding of the story. An online dictionary, such as dictionary.com, can help.

Research the following words: counsel, grieve, corruption, and vestige. If there are any other words you are not sure about, always look up their definitions.

Comprehension Questions

  1. In the first line, the speaker wants her beloved to “remember” her when she has “gone away”. Why does she repeat the idea of “going far away” in the second line? What does this repetition suggest about her feelings?
  2. What is the speaker actually referring to in the euphemism “silent land”?
  3. Explain in detail what the image of the two lovers holding hands suggests about their relationship?
  4. Look at the fourth line. In your own words, describe what is happening in this image.
  5. What do you think the young lovers had “plann’d” for their “future”?
  6. Why did the speaker remind her lover that he will no longer be able to “counsel” her”? What does it suggest about their relationship?
  7. Explain why the speaker does not want her lover to “grieve” if he begins to forget her.
  8. What is the “darkness and corruption”?
  9. In your own words, describe what is the meaning of the image “forget and smile”.

Repetition

When writers repeat a word or a phrase, they are using the rhetorical device known as repetition. Quite often, this technique emphasises an idea and conveys its importance to the audience. Clearly, the speaker in Rossetti’s “Remember” wants her lover to “remember” her when she has “gone away”. Including the title, the word “remember” is used six times.

However, by the end of the poem, does the speaker actually want her lover to “remember” her?

Euphemism

Instead of referring to death directly, Rossetti uses the milder and subtler description of the “silent land”. This type of substitution is known as a euphemism.

What other euphemisms are used in poem?

Suggest why the speaker seems to be unable to use the harsh and blunt word “death”.

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