Sisters’ Relationship in Christina Rossetti’s “Goblin Market”
The relationship between the two sisters Laura and Lizzie in Christina Rossetti’s “Goblin Market” seems highly controversial. Having in mind that the author wrote during the Victorian era, when such values as religion, sexual restraint, morality, code of conduct were appreciated, and it was a patriarchal society, where women had to work hard and obey men, might have influenced what she wrote about. Therefore, I will look at the two possible interpretations of how the relationship between sisters in “Goblin Market” can be understood. At one point it looks as if Rossetti is representing women’s desires in times when they had to be hidden and the need to restrain from various temptations. Yet, another way to look at the sisterhood is from the feministic point of view: the strength of women during times of their oppression and the importance of relationship between them.
First, I see the relationship between the two sisters as contradiction between the Victorian morality and the wish to be set free of these social rules. Laura, to my mind, is representing women’s desires, which they were not supposed to have during those times. Lizzie acts as the one, who obeys the rules. The poem begins with stating that the two sisters are constantly being tempted by goblins’ cries to “come buy, come buy” their sweet fruits. I see goblins as the society and their fruits as temptations that women have to restrain from. That is why they are described as hard to resist “plump unpeck’d cherries”, “bloom-down-cheek’d peaches, “swart-headed mulberries”. Lizzie does not succumb to temptation because she knows it is inappropriate to desire these “fruits”. She warns Laura that goblins’ “evil gifts would harm” them, which means that if they act the way they want they would be judged and pushed out of society. Lizzie tells Laura that she has to remain virtuous and reminds her of “Jeanie”, who was judged greatly by society...
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