1.4 STRONG RELATION BETWEEN GOBLIN MARKET AND C.ROSSETTI’S PERSONALITY

As I have said in other place, personality can be the most  subjective theme or the most concrete if you prefer it. Now, I am going to consider these two options. On the one hand, it contains a certain degree of subjectivity because it is formed by my opinion and from the others. On the contrary, it’s pretty specific because I am giving the reasons by which I think how Chrisitina’s Rossetti’s personality was and I am going  beyond a simple thought and I have looked for and explained the best poem that I feel fit better to it. So, all of this is detailed below.

A repressed sexuality

Christina Rossetti determined by education and Victorian morals but at the same time against it

Religion will prevail

Feminism, her dream

First of all, I would like to describe what ‘Goblin Market’ is.

It was composed in April 1859 and published in 1862, is a poem by Christina Rossetti. In a letter to her publisher, Rossetti claimed that the poem, which features remarkably sexual imagery, was not meant for children. However, in public Rossetti often stated that the poem was intended for children, and went on to write many children’s poems. When the poem appeared in her first volume of poetry, Goblin Market and Other Poems, it was illustrated by her brother, the Pre-Raphaelite artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti.

It is about two close sisters, Laura and Lizzie, as well as the goblin men to whom the title refers, and another girl named Jeanie. Although the sisters seem to be quite young, they live by themselves in a house, and are accustomed to draw water every evening from a stream. As the poem begins, twilight is falling, and as usual the sisters hear the calls from the Goblin merchants, who sell fruits in fantastic abundance, variety and savour. On this evening, Laura lingers at the stream after her sister has left for home. Wanting fruit but having no money, the impulsive Laura offers a lock of her hair and “a tear more rare than pearl.” Laura gorges on the delicious fruit in a sort of bacchic frenzy, then comes to her senses and, after picking up one of the seeds, returns home. Lizzie, waiting at home, and “full of wise upbraidings,” reminds Laura about the cautionary tale of Jeanie, another girl who, having likewise partaken of the goblin men’s fruits, died just at the beginning of winter, after a long decline.Night has by then fallen, and the sisters go to sleep in their shared bed. The next day, as Laura and Lizzie go about their work in the house, Laura dreamily longs for the coming evening’s meeting with the goblin men. But at the stream that evening, as she strains to hear the usual goblin chants and cries, Laura discovers to her horror that, although Lizzie still hears the goblins’ voices, she no longer can. Unable to buy more of the forbidden fruit and sickening for the lack of it, Laura falls into a slow physical deterioration and depression. As winter approaches, Laura pines away and no longer does her household work. One day she remembers the saved seed and plants it, but it bears nothing. Weeks and months pass, and finally Lizzie realizes that Laura is on the verge of death. Lizzie resolves to visit the goblin men to buy some of their fruit, hoping thereby to soothe Laura’s pain. Carrying a silver penny, Lizzie goes down to the brook and is greeted in a friendly way by the goblins. But their attitudes turn malicious when they realize Lizzie wants to pay with mere money and to carry the fruits home with her. Enraged, the goblins pummel and assault Lizzie, trying to make her eat the fruits. In the process, they drench the brave girl in fruit juice and pulp. Lizzie escapes to run home, hoping that Laura will eat and drink the juice from her body. The weakened sister does so, then undergoes a violent transformation of such intensity that her life seems to hang in the balance. The next morning, though, Laura has returned to her old self, both physically and mentally. As the last stanza attests, both Laura and Lizzie live to tell their children of the evils of the goblins’ fruits – and the awesome powers of sisterly love.

The poem’s attitude toward temptation seems ambiguous, since the happy ending offers the possibility of redemption for Laura, while typical Victorian portrayals of the “fallen woman” ended in the fallen woman’s death. It is worth noting that although the historical record is lacking, Rossetti apparently began working at Highgate Penitentiary for fallen women shortly after composing “Goblin Market” in the spring of 1859.

According to Antony Harrison of North Carolina State University, Jerome McGann reads the poem as a criticism of Victorian marriage markets and conveys “the need for an alternative social order”. For Sandra Gilbert, the fruit represents Victorian women’s exclusion from the world of art. Other scholars – most notably Herbert Tucker – view the poem as a critique on the rise of advertising in pre-capitalist England, with the goblins utilising clever marketing tactics to seduce. Laura J. Hartman, among others, has pointed out the parallels between Laura’s experience and the experience of drug addiction. Finally, I read ‘Goblin Market’ as an explosion of deep feelings, that is to say, Christina Rosseti is deprived in her society and environment and she is appealling to a change through verses.

Now, maybe you wonder:  What about her personality? or What kind of relation it stablishes? This is very simple: ‘Goblin Market’ expresses feelings and experiences and from this  is constructed her personality. Up to now, everything is clear but there is an element which attracts attention: after reading her biography and contextualize it, the feelings and the personality (read between the lines, in this case verses) doesn’t correspond with the personality she shows face to society. So, I am going to analize the poem to get her true personality out of it.

I talk about a certain degree of  connotations from a repressed sexuality, about the fashions of Victorian Era and how she is against these morals, about religion and finally: Feminism as an example of born fighter. All of this couln’t be possible to write about it if  she wouldn’t have given to us her poems written or her brother wouldn’t have published it.

I did my best to analyze Christina Rossetti’s personality and ‘Goblin Market’ and I have retrieved some information from:

http://www.wikipedia.org/

http://www.lagrange.edu/resources/pdf/citations/2009/1o t3English_Galt.pdf

http://anglicanhistory.org/bios/cgrossetti.html

http://www.kirjasto.sci.fi/rossetti.htm

http://www.reelyredd.com/bio_christina_rossetti.htm

http://olympe.files.wordpress.com/2007/06/essay-goblins-rossetti.pdf

http://www.upress.virginia.edu/books/rossetti4.html

http://www.lagrange.edu/resources/pdf/citations/2009/13English_Galt.pdf

http://www.victorianweb.org/

http://rossetti.webjewel.net/engl_bio.html

http://www.helium.com/items/1118490-goblin-market-sexuality-in-the-goblin-market-femine-roles-in-the-goblin-market



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