Thepoem’s title is self-explanatory. “Goblin Market” is about afruity market that is run by Goblins. The title looks simple but in adeceptive manner. It looks straight forward but more is going onunder the surface. The reader is first informed that markets aregoing to be very important in the poem. The title provokes questionssuch as: what kind of a market? Why should goblins sell in a market?From the title, one expects a fairy tale, fantasy, or something meantfor kids[ CITATION Mer94 l 1033 ].However, after reading the whole poem, one realized that the poem ismore complicated.
Likemost art, the poem ‘Goblin Market’ by Christina Rossetti isfascinating and interesting to read. The poem is full of symbolismwhich forces the reader to dig up and unearth the good stuff in thepoem. ‘Goblin Market’ is about two sisters who are taken illafter eating an awful goblin fruit.
Symbolismand Imagery and Sound
Thepoem talks about consuming a fruit and desiring more. In line 9, thegoblins use a metaphor to describe the peaches. The descriptionlikens the peaches to human faces with “cheeks”. In line 43 talkof “hungry thirsty roots”. The roots belong to a tree that issaid to be feeding on soil. In lines 415 to 417, Lizzie is comparedto an orange tree. In lines 406 to 408, there is intense imagery ofgoblins who try force Lizzie to feed on the fruits in order tounderscore violence the scene.
Afterthe poem had been written years ago, it was read as a poem for kidsand emphasized on importance of sisterhood. Many similes are used inthe poem to suggest how the two sisters are virtuallyinterchangeable[ CITATION Har87 l 1033 ].However one of them takes the goblin fruit. In lines 183-186, the twosistersare compared to “pigeons in one nest”[ CITATION Ros97 l 1033 ].Line 188 compares thetwo girls to “two blossoms on one stem”. The last stanza of thepoem repeats the basic structure leading to the formation of a list.
The‘Goblin Market’ has flowers that are associated with fragilepurity and delicate fruits. The “plucking” of the flowers is arepresentation of a loss in purity. The 83rdline likens Laura to a lily. The lilies are a sign of death. The120thline makes use of a metaphor to connect the flowers with cash money. In line 409, Lizzie is compared to a lily. The simile is accompaniedby alliteration of the “l” sounds. The alliteration connectsLizzie to the lily. In lines 533 and 534, “new buds” togetherwith “cuplike lilies” refer to Laura’s health[ CITATION Ros97 l 1033 ].
Fora poem with the word market in the title, money must be involved.However, in the poem, money is seen to be changing hands two times.In line 126, Laura relates the gold coins to the golden hair and cutssome to use it as money. Line 127 gives the tears of Laura a monetaryvalue. The line creates a mental picture that suggests thetransformation of her whole body into something more precious[ CITATION Ros97 l 1033 ].
Mostpoets connect the moon to the feminine gender. In other cases, themoon is used to show changes in various cycles since it transformsthroughout the month. In the poem, the moon depicts an addiction tothe fruit. The 84thcontains a simile that compares Laura to a “moonlit poplar branch”the flowering tree symbolizes her youth. In line 246, the moon isused to signify danger.
Thepoem has an irregular rhyme scheme. The general rhyme scheme is theABAB scheme. However, there exists a between a word and its rhyme.
Thereis no “I” in the poem. Instead, it is a narration by the thirdperson. The narrator seems to be distant from the story. The narratoris this case seems to be describing the ‘Goblin Market’ in anobjective manner. Firstly, she lists every goblin fruit that is forsale and fails to make judgments concerning their goodness orbadness. She leaves Laura and Lizzie to judge for the reader. Attimes, the narrator slips in adjective suggesting that she is notobjective. For instance, she terms Lizzies advice to Laura as “wise”,and uses the term “sullen”[ CITATION Ros97 l 1033 ]to describe Laura’s silence. Asthe poem nears its end, the narrator decides to single out Laura andaddresses her. She calls Laura a fool for eating the goblin fruit.It is at this point that the poem reaches its climax and the narratoris unable to keep silent. She is forced to voice her opinion by theexcitement accompanied by the climax.
Harmon, Peggy, Polly Pen and Christina Georgina Rossetti. "Goblin market : a full-length musical in one act." The best plays of 1985-86 (1987): 283-287.
Merchant, Peter. "`Like a beacon left alone` : the position of Christina Rossetti`s Goblin Market." Children`s literature in education (1994): 67-81.
Rossetti, Christina Georgina. Goblin Market: A Tale of Two Sisters. San Fransisco: Chronicle Books, 1997.