Common Elements in Elizabeth Gaskell's The Old Nurse's Story and in Christian Rossetti's Goblin Market

Common Elements in Elizabeth Gaskell's The Old Nurse's Story and in Christian Rossetti's Goblin Market

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Aside from the five themes of Democracy, Gender, Culture, Empire and Industrialization, the sixth theme, Victorian Gothic, provides just as much of an overview of the Victorian time period. This new theme appears in Elizabeth Gaskell’s short story, The Old Nurse’s Story and Christina Rossetti's poem Goblin Market. Both works illustrate common elements of Gothic literature, such as; old houses, mystery, horror, ghost, fantasy creatures, the unknown and oppression. Both author’s background stories provide insight to their reason behind their writings. Elizabeth Gaskell was a minister's wife that began to write when her only son died to cope with her depression. She wrote to “critique society and promote social reform” (Norton 1260). Christina Rossetii was a Victorian author that was strictly involved with the Catholic Church and had a high moral code. Her code was so strict she never married again and lived a quiet life. This paper argues that The Old Nurse’s Story and the Goblin Market provide important representation of Victorian Gothic literature by utilizing Gothic themes.
The Gothic addresses the fact that we cannot fend off the irrationality of our minds. Gothic literature departs from the traditional nature of the world to explore the unknown. There are six literary and culture elements of Gothic Fiction that include; castles, Catholicism, sexual oppression, wilderness, the supernatural, and the grotesque. The Victorians were known for their prudish ways, strict prudish moral code, imperial empire, gender roles, and technological advances and scientific discoveries. These attributes provide grounds for Gothic literature to flourish. Elizabeth Gaskell and Christina Rossetti's used some of gothic elements such as; the superna...


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...hold their moral values and emphasis the importance of sisterly love.

Victorian Gothic was a literary genre that went against the social norm. Gaskell’s loss of her child prompted her to write stories such as The Old Nurse Story, and she used haunted houses and oppressed women and children to not only bring dark terror to the audience but shine light on social issues that were arising in the Victorian era. Rossetti’s religious background inspired her to allude to temptation and fruits from the Bible and comment of the oppression of female sexuality in the Victorian period. The Victorian Gothics not only horrify and disturb the reader but speak out on social injustices such as the gender role.




Works Cited

Christ, Carol T., Catherine Robson, Stephen Greenblatt, and M. H. Abrams. The Norton Anthology of English Literature. New York, NY: W.W. Norton, 2006. Print.

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