Rossetti - Goblin Market (Quotes)

Rossetti - Goblin Market (Quotes)

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Goblin Market ­ Christina Rossetti (Quotes)
`Women and Femininity' Quotes
Morning and evening
Maids heard the goblins cry (1-2)
Only women can hear the goblins. Are the men completely
absent in the world of "Goblin Market," or do the goblins
not represent a threat to them?
"We must not look at goblin men,
We must not buy their fruits" (42-43)
Even "look[ing]" at the goblins is dangerous. This could be
analogous to the widespread belief in Victorian Britain that
young women should know nothing about sex, because
even the barest knowledge could contaminate them and
make them less pure.
Like two wands of ivory
Tipped with gold for awful kings. (190-191)
Laura and Lizzie are being compared to two white ivory
scepters with gold on the ends. Since their skin is pale and
their hair is golden blonde, the simile makes some sense.
But what's the deal with these "awful kings"? Are the
girls' bodies and hair only beautiful for the use of "awful
kings"? Why can't they just be pretty on their own?
Talked as modest maidens should:
Lizzie with an open heart,
Laura in an absent dream (209-211)
The girls chat as they go about their work, but Laura's too
busy obsessing about goblin fruit to pay much attention to
her sister.
"For there is no friend like a sister
In calm or stormy weather" (562-563)
Laura gets the last words in the poem. After telling the
story of the goblin market to their children, she tells them
that the moral of the story has to do with sisterly heroism.
Does this really seem to be the moral of the poem?
`Sex' Quotes

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Like a vessel at the launch
When its last restraint is gone. (85-86)
Laura is compared to a ship after all the lines have been
drawn in and the anchor is up. She seems to have
completely lost her self-"restraint." No more inhibitions.
It's time to go for some goblin fruit.
She sucked and sucked and sucked the more
Fruits which that unknown orchard bore;
She sucked until her lips were sore. (134-136)
These lines hardly need our commentary ­ they're like fruit
porn.…read more

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And what are the "joys brides hope to have"? This might
be a reference to sex. Jeanie couldn't wait for her
marriage, so she dawdled with the goblin men and ate
their fruit. We now know that this was a big mistake.
In her gay prime (316)
"Gay" means happy and carefree, but during the period
when Christina Rossetti was writing, it was commonly
applied to prostitutes or women who were promiscuous.
So this line could suggest that Jeanie had had sex before
marriage.…read more

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Laura can't wait for her second taste of goblin fruit. She's
like an addict: she can't focus on anything but where her
next fix is going to come from.
Then sat up in a passionate yearning,
And gnashed her teeth for baulked desire, and wept
As if her heart would break. (266-268)
Laura seems to be showing signs of physical addiction. We
see that she is actually in pain here.
Laura kept watch in vain
In sullen silence of exceeding pain.…read more

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Sin' Quotes
"No," said Lizzie: "No, no, no;
Their offers should not charm us,
Their evil gifts would harm us." (64-66)
Lizzie seems to realize that the goblins' fruits are a
temptation to be avoided. Her repeated refusal, "No, no,
no," suggests that she does, however, feel the temptation.
We get the sense that all maidens who encounter the fruit
are tempted.…read more

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In these lines, Laura actually calls the goblin fruit
"forbidden." It's the closest Rossetti ever comes to
comparing the goblin fruit to the "forbidden fruit" in the
Garden of Eden.
`Violence' Quotes
Their looks were evil. (397)
The goblins are just beginning to show signs of violence.
Earlier in the poem they were just funny or strange; now
they're starting to look "evil.…read more

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Met the fire smouldering there
And overbore its lesser flame; (507-509)
Laura's recovery is described with very violent images. She
experiences something like a battle between the two
"fire[s]" in her body.…read more


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