Poem Analysis: Goblin Market By Christina Rosetti

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By the time I had finished reading Goblin Market by Christina Rosetti, I had been pushed through an array of emotions; ranging from confused and uncomfortable to relieved and empowered. Having begun reading without any prior background knowledge on the poem or Christina Rosetti, I felt nothing but utter confusion my first pass through the poem. Why would these animal-looking goblins be selling fruits in the glen? Why would they accept a lock of her golden hair as payment? What could have possibly been in those fruits that allowed Laura to hear her sister’s voice but not their goblin cries? The story had me baffled because I first read it as a literal story, when in fact, it is an allegory meant to be interpreted for a deeper meaning. I think a lot of readers would share this same feeling at first, because without the proper background knowledge, the poem is not sensible.
Upon adjusting my thinking, the poem felt uncomfortable to me at first. Rosetti uses extremely graphic language, like “She sucked and sucked and sucked the more…She sucked until her lips were sore” (234-236). In a literal sense, if anyone ate fruit
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In the years when Christina Rosetti was alive and writing poems, a “fallen woman” was someone that was either seduced or raped if she left the house without an escort or stayed out past dark. These women were outcasted from communities, they were unable to marry, and they were unable to move towns. This idea is close to Christina’s heart because she was an active volunteer at a home for fallen women. Obviously, it can be understood how different the times are because today we would be calling these women victims, and consoling them, not punishing them. So, the difference in culture and ideology really need to be taken into consideration before thoroughly analyzing the poem; otherwise, it would not make sense to the
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