Study Guide

A Birthday Appearances

By Christina Rossetti

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Towards the end of "A Birthday," the speaker goes a little HGTV on us, what with all the decorating demands. Those specific directions, though, are aimed at sprucing up the joint in preparation for the speaker's beloved. At first, it may seem superficial to be so hung up on how that dais looks. Then again, given all the Christian symbols used in the decorating, we'd say that the directions seem more understandable. The way things look in this poem tends to reflect a deeper significance.

Questions About Appearances

  1. Why is the dais so important to the speaker?
  2. What does the speaker's choice of decorations reveal about her relationship with her beloved?
  3. Whom do you think the speaker is those giving decorating instructions to in stanza 2?

Chew on This

The speaker relies so heavily on visual appearances in this poem because she wants the world to recognize her inner joy.

The outward appearances described in this poem are meant to reflect the speaker's inner contentment.

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