Goblin Market

Good Essays
chrSomone Jackson
Mr. Price
English 2223 01
28 October 2012
Christina Rossetti’s “Goblin Market” One of the strongest emotions inherent in humans is desire. Christina Rossetti poem “Goblin Market” is filled with many suggestive pieces referring to different kinds of fruits that play upon the hidden desire. From exotic fruit to sweet nectars, she has her audience wondering about her true meaning for the fruit. The question to be answers is what are the “fruits” being offered to the girls? Many people believed that the poem was directed towards being gay or lesbian just by the vivid language Rossetti used in her poem, but in all actuality that theory was far from being right. During the Victorian period, emphasis was put on ladies to be very conservative. Christine Rossetti’s Goblin Market defies the confinements of the Victorian age while romantically critiquing what takes place in the dark outside of the regality of social circles in relation to forbidden sexuality. In the poem ‘fruit” was referenced many times in relations to the goblin men. In a sense the “fruit” can be related to the old Christian story of Adam and Eve and the forbidden fruit. The forbidden fruit was Eve weakness but was her desire to have it lead to her demise. The context of the fruit in Goblin Market has explicit sexual connotations that lend to an instructive and more importantly, cautioning perspective on sexual activity. From the very first stanza, with its descriptions of luscious fruits for sale in the "Goblin Market," some hard to find but summer ripe, one cannot help but read these mouth-watering depictions with sexuality in mind. Examples of this would be “Plump unpecked cherries” (Rossetti 7) and “Figs to fill your mouth, Citron from the South, Sweet to tongue and sound to eye;” (Rossetti 28-30). The “fruit” mention throughout the poem can be linked to the idea of an addiction. Being that the “fruit” was forbidden “Their offers should not charm us, / Their evil gifts would



References: made in Christina Rossetti poem were “Mindful of Jeanie, Give me much and many; Held out her apron, Tossed them her penny. (Rossetti 365-367). “Goblin Market” shows a lot of her brother Dante’s influence, and references to his poem “Jenny” several times. Christina likely borrowed the idea of goblins and Jeanie from his poem also. “Jenny” is told through the eyes of the man, while the woman in question is asleep, reinforcing the argument that Christina Rossetti meant to illustrate the experience of prostitution from a female’s perspective. To continue to focus on the matter at hand which is the “fruit” that is being offered to the girls in “Goblin Market. For one the Victorian period, once stated before, is related to women and prostitution and Rossetti poem played upon that in a fairy tale way. Lesbian acts were taken out of perspective when people read the poem but once Rossetti clarified the intentions of the poem people where more forgiven. Since Laura indulged in the forbidden fruit she did become addicted to it and Lizzie being her sister wanted to get her more fruit so that she will return to her normal state of mind. Just like drugs will make a person do crazy things for it Lizzie did not want to her sister suffer from depression and death. Ultimately Lizzie saved her sister from the bad affects that the fruit brought upon here due to poor decision making and at the end of the story they both grew up and had children of their own. Overall the basic concept of the fruit that is given to the girls is more like a drug. The unspoken lesbian act that many Victorian perceived was way out of context. The fruit symbolized the drug that the prostitute, Laura, wanted to get from the goblin in return all she had was an addiction. Thanks to a strong sisterhood and not anything related to gays, Lizzie was able to break the habit and they both grew old and had their own families. Work Cited Black, Joseph. “Goblin Market” The Broadview Anthology of British Literature. Concise ed. Volume B. Canada, Ontario. 2007. 810-817. Print.

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