The Goblin Market: Forbidden Fruit
The short epic poem the Goblin Market by Christina Rossetti resembles a fairytale because of the goblins and the happy ending of the united sisters, however the metaphors and allegory of fruit is ambiguous for different interpretations of drugs, sexual pleasures, temptation to sin, etc. The poem is broken into four major sections- temptation, fall, redemption, and restoration. Many people had mixed feelings toward the poem; some were even shocked of the Goblin Market because of how dark it is since Rossetti is usually linked to children novels and nurseries. The target audiences is not children but adolescents, as this poem is a merely a stage to warn young women about temptation and desires.
In the Goblin Market there is an odd list of twenty nine different kinds of fruits. Many overwhelmed readers may question why there is so many different kinds of fruit: why not one or two? Just like the overwhelmed reader it may symbolize Laura being overwhelmed by her temptation and desire to eat the different kinds of mouth watering fruit. The fruit is both ripe and the source of decay. The fruit represent opposites: “night vs. day, light vs. dark, summer vs. winter, and life vs. death.”(Krocker) The maidens only hear the goblin cry in the morning and in the evening, never at night. Mornings and evenings are transitional periods, “Twilight is not good for maidens.”(Rossetti 144) Even after Laura cannot hear the goblins anymore, Lizzie still can, but only when “slow evening came” and “before the night grows dark.” The transition symbolizes the transition from a young girl to a woman. Another example of youth to maturity is where the goblins sell the fruit, the brookside a split between land wa...
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...urns into bitter poison for Laura. In a way the Goblin Market is a message to society about drug abuse and the dangers of an addiction.
In addition the fruit may also act as a disease; normally fruits are healthy, however in the poem it does the opposite by slowly killing the person who digests it. “Tender Lizzie could not bear to watch her sister's cankerous care”, a cankerous sore is one of the primary symptoms of syphilis a sexually transmitted disease. In the poem the men’s roots are in the soil, which is unclean, symbolizing the men having sexual relations with the prostitutes. Women reproductive organs are called “garden”, so prostitutes have mal nourishing soil because they have already been “ruined”. The parliament passed series of contagious diseases acts that provided examinations for prostitutes, since diseases were widespread by 1864. (Orchisse 4.)
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