Christina Rossetti's used her poetry to express herself; her work
exhibits many autobiographical elements and from it the reader can
discern Rossetti's emotions, beliefs and her comments on the society
she lived in. As a female poet it would have been improper for
Rossetti to deal directly with these issues though and so her ideas
are masked through appearing to be children's poetry and having simple
meanings. 'Goblin Market' superficially appears to a moral story about
two sisters one of whom gives way to the temptation of the goblins
forbidden fruits but through her poetic techniques Rossetti manages to
embody her fears and desires.
One of the desires Rossetti appears to have in this poem is for a
relationship similar to that of Lizzie and Laura; the closing lines of
the poem express the joys of having a sister "To fetch one if one goes
astray", but Rossetti had only brothers. This theme of friendship is
crucial to the plot of the poem and maybe Rossetti yearns for someone
she can feel close to. Rossetti shows the difference between the love
Laura has for the goblins fruits and the love between the sisters
through the use of parallelism. While Laura "sucked" the goblins'
fruits "until her lips were sore" showing Laura's greed as she gives
way to temptation and gives a strongly physical image, Lizzie calling
"Hug me, kiss me, suck my juices / Squeezed from goblin fruits for
you" brings to mind Lizzie's self-sacrifice - the difference of
Laura's lust for the juices and Lizzie's love for her sister is
apparent. The image by Rossetti describing the sisters "Like two
pigeons in one nest" creates a strong impression of the closeness
between the two s...
... middle of paper ...
before love in Rossetti's life.
'Goblin Market' contains many of the key themes that appear throughout
Rossetti's poetry. In typical Rossettian style it appears almost
superfluous on first reading but subtexts hidden within it. The casual
rhyming scheme suggests that the work is a aimed at being children's
poetry but the issues it deals with are distinctly adult. Early in the
poem Laura is described as "rearing her glossy head" and much later on
Lizzie is referred to as being stubborn as a "horse"; this
demonstrates that through repetition and subtle parallels Rossetti
manages to show how both sisters are so similar and yet so far apart.
Christina Rossetti's use of poetic devices allows 'Goblin Market' to
work on several levels allowing her to write poetry both acceptable to
the society she lived in while also allowing her to express herself.
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