The comma preceding John’s name is to be expected, but the placement after “No,” rather than simply saying “No thank you,” makes the refusal all the more adamant. This forcefulness proves important when one considers that, while on the surface the poem can be read as an exchange of polite society, certain indicators allow for a much more ribald interpretation. Through a closer examination of the text, both of these interpretations become apparent. The narrator establishes both the format of the poem (i.e. the narrator addressing someone referred to as “John”) and the back story all within the first quatrain of the poem. “John” teases her daily, despite her disavowal of having ever indicated any affection for him. His actions “wax a weariness” (line 3) upon her, an alliterative description of her growing annoyance that makes a slight reference to the moon (and therefore the menstruation cycle). The fact that he uses such terms as “do” and “pray” - the latter being used synonymously with “please” - seem to imply that despite his childish teasing, he is attempting to behave in a civilized manner. These terms can be inferred to mean that the couple are both connected to upper class society… or at least mimic it in order to try for that effect. The second quatrain begins with the narrator reiterating the first line of the poem, except where initially she claims “I never said I loved you…” (line 1) she now states “You know I never loved you…” (line 5).
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Christina Georgina Rossetti’s poem entitled “No, Thank You, John” takes its title from the last line of the poem. It summarizes the narrator’s attitude in rebuffing a would-be paramour. This is an extension of the theme of the poem, in which the narrator tries both through humor and bluntness to discourage her suitor, finally making a small allowance that “Here’s friendship for you if you like; but love,- / No, thank you, John.” …
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