Having a sibling beside you is one of the greatest gifts you could have especially when you were close to each other and loved to be one another despite of all the circumstances and shortcomings. According to many, no one is an island. A man could not live without anyone by his side. “Goblin Market” showed this kind of thinking. Laura and Lizzie went on through their lives having one another – no matter how old they were, they were still together, for better or for worst.
However, this poem also illustrated different kinds of scenarios that would uncover the true relationship of the sisters and their status in the society as women. The society is the supreme of all sociological thoughts, it would provide the status of men and women as it gives their roles and responsibilities towards one another. Despite of the fact that women have its own ideologies and perspective as humans and individuals, the society still seek for their role as a social symbol of beauty and sexual desire, which women can be deprived in different levels and aspects.
The “Goblin Market”, a poem of Christina Rossetti is about two young women named Lizzie and Laura who loved fruits but they could not be able to go to the Goblin Market even if they could because of Jeanie’s death, the woman who died after eating fruits coming from the Goblin Market. The Goblin Market appears only during nighttime where the moonlight is beyond reach with its magnificent illumination in the eyes of every people in the Goblin Market. Laura once went to the market; the goblin men liked her so much. She wants to buy but she was penniless during that night.
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The goblin men refused to be paid because they really liked Laura so much because of her physical characteristics – yellow hair, red lips, and good posture. The goblin men gave their fruits to Laura; she ripped, sucked, and ate all these fruits until she became full. This experience was one of the most amazing experiences of Laura. After her journey to the Goblin Market, she went home to her sister Lizzie. Lizzie told Laura not to go back to the market especially during nighttime as the moonlight starts to shine because it will make her life become ruined.
Laura’s heart crumpled like a broken hearted. She could not sleep because of thinking about the Goblin Market, the goblin men, and their fruits. She loved their fruits so much. She was amazed with the nectars and juices of these fruits while she was eating because it was full of taste, but she cannot go back because of her sister’s admonition. Lizzie felt that Laura became lonelier and lonelier as time goes by because she could not go to the market.
Because she loved Laura, she went to the market, she wanted to buy fruits for Laura but the goblin men refused to give her fruits, since she was already paid for those. Because of this, terrible fight happened between Lizzie and the goblin men. She was wiser than they were so she ate the fruits and had her penny with her. When she gets home, she asked Laura to taste the fruit juices from her mouth, as Laura needs to kiss her mouth and suck all the remaining juices. After this, Lizzie told Laura about what happened.
Lizzie asked Laura not to go back to the market because they liked Laura so much to the extent of wanting them Laura to be their special girl and would be theirs forever by using their fruits. Laura did not go back to the market anymore. Years later, they became married and have their own children. Both of them still tell their children about their story during their younger days as they recall the life of endurance and cravings for fruits at the Goblin Market. The genre of the poem is fantasy because of the use of goblins.
However, when it comes to the relationship of sisterhood, reality emerged in different level. The society dictates that women holding one’s hand and having intimate connection to one another is common because they were both women especially if their physical characteristics are the perception of being a true woman. Meanwhile, if men were seen holding one’s hand and having intimate connection with one another is a big problem because they were men. They were not judge to be intimate with their same sex friends as what they used to do with their opposite partners.
This is because women are known for its intimacy whether in men or in women while men is intimate only to women. In this case, the connection between Laura and Lizzie is not a “problem” because they were both women and most especially, they were sisters. What I am imposing here as a reader is that Laura and Lizzie is more than a sisterly relationship but they were also have intimate relationship from one another. Laura did not felt that kind of feeling because her mind was focused in the Goblin Market, but Lizzie showed her affection to Laura as what men does.
She cried "Laura," up the garden, "Did you miss me ? Come and kiss me. Never mind my bruises, Hug me, kiss me, suck my juices This statement signifies more than just a sisterly relationship of Laura and Lizzie. It implies sexual intervention of one another. The reason why Lizzie would not want Laura to go to the Goblin Market because she was afraid to lose Laura not as a sister but as a lover, which made Lizzie go to the Goblin Market even if she do not want to. She would rather have the goblin men rather than taking Laura away from her.
Laura’s beauty is the typical social illustration of society towards women, a woman who is blonde, soft-spoken, beautiful – perfect. Goblin men liked her because of her physical attraction as well as Lizzie’s attraction towards her. Because of this, Laura’s character became a prisoner. She was imprisoned by Lizzie not to take care of her but to make her Lizzie’s object of sexual desire. Laura’s innocence brought her into the arms of her sister who became her comforter and lover at the same time, which she could not feel due to her virtuousness. The poem however can be said as feminism.
Aside form the characters’ individuality as a woman, this poem shows how woman fall for someone, their strength, their weaknesses, the way they revenge, and the way they conquer their fears and conflicts. The author used Goblin men and not real men to emphasize the strength of women because if it would give an image of a man, most likely than not, women will fall on the same hole – falling in love to the man of their dreams. Other images that are very significant to the development and justification of the protagonists are the fruits. Fruits are known for its taste, richness, fullness, and perfection.
The goblin men sell their fruits in this condition not because to earn more profit or to gain more buyers but because they want to attract women who is the same as their fruits like Laura. The goblin men represent Laura as their fruits because of her perfection. It means that our culture defines women not for its inner beauty but always on the outer characteristics. When it comes to its form and content, this poem would not be able to reveal the true meanings of its images and symbols if the reader would take it as a shallow description of the Goblin Market.
The reader should have an in-depth relativization of the poem in order to understand fully the meanings of its elements and symbols because it contains large amount of perspective towards women in the past, present, and future. As a whole, this poem describes our cultural depiction on women. It contains elements of desire, innocence, and beauty that a woman should have to be able to become part of the status symbol in the society. Our culture defines what will be the future. Through this text, it was said that society would always rely on women having “perfect” physical characterization.
Because of this social symbolization, many women would be oppressed and deprived in different angles and situations because not all women are born to be beautiful. If this text would be the basis of the society, only “perfect” women would be the daughters of God.
Rossetti, Christina. Goblin Market. Victorian Web: Literature, History, and culture in the age of Victoria. 2005. Retrieved on October 23, 2007 from http://www. victorianweb. org/authors/crossetti/gobmarket. html
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