The poem “No, Thank you, John” by Christina Rosetti, shows the point of view of a woman who is refusing a man who continues to romantically pursue her. The narrator of the poem is very direct to this man John in saying that she is not interested in him at all. She says he may have a better chance with other women saying “I dare say Meg or Moll would take pity upon you if you’d ask: And pray you don’t remain single for my sake Who can’t perform that task”. In these lines, the woman not only begs him to try for other women, but also informs him that she cannot and will not return any of his romantic affection. This stanza really shows the woman’s tone toward John and gives the reader the energy that she is actually annoyed by the continued interest from John. She continues, saying “Let bygones be bygones: Don’t call me false, who owed not to be true: I’d rather answer “No” to fifty Johns Than answer “Yes” to you”. The point of view in this poem is very important because it allows the reader to get insight of the woman’s true thoughts. While this stanza seems pretty harsh, the message is very clear. She is NOT interested in John and never will be. The woman finishes off the poem with “Here’s friendship for you if you like; but love,- No, thank you, John”. I really enjoy the title of the poem being used in the final line of the poem and the effect of the line. If none of the other rejections sank in, that one has to.
This poem is truly unique. The very direct rejection of a man is not something I have seen in poetry before, and it directly challenges the classic love poem. Usually a love poem shows the point of view of a man who is wounded and trying so very hard to persuade their love to want them back. “No, Thank you, John” is not only the opposite of that stereotypical love poem, but also allows for the woman to give her side and show that this type of resilient and stubborn man is not the victim, but rather an annoyance. This poem shows a woman who is so tired of being pursued by the same man and is running out of ways to say no. The importance of this poem is to show that it is not cute for a man to continue to try like this, and rather that this is straight up harassment. During this time period, this type of thinking was certainly not the standard – and even today, while it is more recognized, there are still many women who have to deal with this. This poem is important because it shows the man is not the victim in this scenario, but rather the aggressor. The final line shows the woman being very strong-minded, not only due to her ability to be immovable in her rejection, but also due to the way she was able to stay respectful in her final refusal – a subtle comment on societal gender roles and normities.