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Goblin Market - 2
Transcript of Goblin Market - 2
"Goblin Market" divides into four major
sections. This division allows us to explore the tensions at work in the poem within the
context of its major themes.
Can you identify and name the four sections?
What did you decide?
Temptation, fall, redemption, and restoration.
The first two lines of "Goblin Market" ("Morning and evening / Maids heard the goblins cry")
The language creates a sense of an ongoing and constant state rather than any specific situation.
The language of the goblins' enchanted fruit is sensual and indulgent - is this what we expect from CHILDREN'S POETRY?
Rossetti's use of language that is both oral and aural in nature.
The plosive (
Denoting a consonant that is produced by stopping the airflow using the lips, teeth, or palate, followed by a sudden release of air
) such as "Plump unpecked cherries" (line 7) or "Rare pears and greengages, / Damsons and bilberries" (23-24) immediately connect the fruit described to the experience of eating.
There is undoubtedly a temptation at work in the goblins' cry. Although the second line of the poem has described the hearers of the goblins' tempting call (maids), another seduction is taking place — one between the poem and the reader.
The poem now moves into the story of two specific maids, their attempted seductions by the goblin men, and their individual responses to being tempted.
we perceive an apparent bond between Lizzie and Laura — not only in the similarity of their names but also because they represent opposing responses.
Neither sister understands why she should not eat the fruit; they only know they should not and that some harm may come to them if they do. Both react out of this ignorance: Lizzie's flight represents not so much her moral stance as her fear, whereas Laura's decision to stay expresses her desire for understanding, for knowledge.
Laura first notices only their economic qualities while the narrator highlights their menacing, bestial aspects.
Laura is compared to a swan sticking its neck out from a cluster of rushes, a lily drooping over a brook, a poplar branch shimmering in the moonlight, and an unmoored ship moving out to sea. Each image used to illustrate the move is white, representing purity.
The goblins, now described as brothers — again, naming their sex and setting them in direct opposition to Lizzie and Laura, who will soon be identified as sisters for the first time — "leer" and "signal" to each other; they are called "queer" and "sly".
Laura's lack of a coin with which to purchase the goblins' fruit places her in the precarious position of dependence on the goblins.
Laura's golden hair is literally a part of her — something she must cut from herself in order to give to the goblins.
In this way, the act is another example of Laura's active role in her own downfall.
Hair is a biblical symbol of a woman's glory; for a woman to cut her hair is to defile herself in the eyes of her religious community. Specifically, gold hair in Victorian society represented innocence .
The single tear Laura sheds betrays her knowledge that she is literally selling her self in order to experience the fruit.
Later in the poem, as Laura begins to languish under the effects of the enchanted fruit, one of the first physical signs of her weakened condition is the loss of the golden color from her now-thinning hair.
Laura's fall is clearly a reference to The Fall in Eden that occurs when Eve partakes of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
No longer a maid, Laura takes on the voice of the goblin men in describing the fruits of which she has partaken: The descriptive language employs the same pleasing aural qualities we hear in the goblins' own descriptions of the fruits they ply.
Laura's fall and subsequent declining health are linked to the fruit and to fruit-bearing plants; she is described in terms of her own inability to bear fruit. The narrator states that her "tree of life" — an important biblical and pagan symbol — "drooped from the root".
Later, when Laura tries to cultivate a fruit tree from the kernel stone of one of the goblins' fruits, watering it with her tears, the pit does not take root and grow. This could be a reference to a loss of reproductive ability, but the language is more indicative of biblical imagery regarding the soul: New Testament Christians are known by the fruit they bear.
She ages prematurely: Her face bears this decay as well. The narrator notes Laura's "sunk eyes and faded mouth". In addition, her uncontrollable weeping and gnashing of teeth are references to biblical descriptions of souls in torment. Her lack of initiative is also a sign that her tree is not bearing fruit.
Laura, unlike Lizzie, no longer tends to household duties: she neglects the livestock, stops baking, and, instead of keeping the house tidy, sits by the fire.
LIZZIE THE REDEEMER!
The second half of the poem is LIZZIE'S STORY!
In order to save Laura, she must face the same temptations her sister faced and, not succumbing, stand.
The description of the goblins' approach once they notice Lizzie's "peeping" (330) is relentlessly oppressive. In Lizzie's ears, they are not cooing and "full of loves" (79) as they were in Laura's. The goblins appear, displaying their more fearsome animal qualities:
LIZZIE APPROACHES THE GOBLINS
The goblins' assault on Lizzie for refusing to eat their fruit can only be described as a metaphorical image of rape. They violently claw and tear at her, shoving their fruits at her tightly closed mouth. The imagery is unmistakably sexual.
Kinuko Craft 1973
Like a lily in a flood, —
Like a rock of blue veined stone
Lashed by tides obstreperously, —
Like a beacon left alone
In a hoary roaring sea,
Sending up a golden fire, —
Like a fruit-crowned orange-tree
White with blossoms honey-sweet
Sore beset by wasp and bee, —
Like a royal virgin town
Topped with gilded dome and spire
Close beleaguered by a fleet
Mad to tug her standard down.
WHAT DOES THIS REMIND YOU OF?
Hint: think earlier in the poem!
Lizzie's victory over the goblins — her ability to stand — is as transformative for her as it will be for Laura. Not only by looking and listening to the goblins, but also by resisting the temptation to eat their fruit, she has proven herself a worthy redeemer.
REMIND YOU OF ANYONE?
LIZZIE THE REDEEMER
LIZZIE THE JUBILANT
Her language is that of a victor returning from the battlefield - who else does she sound like though?
LAURA THE RESTORED
Rossetti keeps us waiting - we are unsure as to whether the actions of Lizzie will be enough to save her transgressive sister.
Laura's ultimate restoration is to be accepted into domestic life - with a family of her own.
A Satisfactory closing?
The ending of the poem adheres to the conventions of children's fairy tales - it's simplicity is often commented on by critics - is this Rossetti's way of suggesting that underneath a simple statement is a complex message?
There are three commonly held interpretations of the poem:
1. A children's story
2. An feminist reading
3. A religious/moral reading
There is an article on Google classroom to help you...
INTERPRETATIONS OF GM
Which reading do you favour? Why?
Terms you will need to know today!
What did you get?
- to go beyond the limit of what is morally or legally, acceptable.
- the act of breaking a religious or moral law.
- From Christian doctrine and refers to the fall of man in the book of Genesis when Adam & Eve disobeyed God and ate from the Tree of Knowledge.
-the desire to do or have something that you know is bad or wrong
- the act of being saved from the power of evil; the act of redeeming.
- in Literature refers to the act of bringing back a balance etc. that existed previously.
- a story in which the characters and events are symbols representing other ideas such as truths, fears and human qualities
Christina Rossetti was the youngest of four children of Gabriele Rossetti, an Italian patriot who came to London in 1824.
Born on 5 December 1830, she had one sister, Maria, and two brothers, Dante Gabriel and William.
Christina and her sister were mainly educated at home by their mother, and brought up as devout Anglo-Catholics.
Rossetti's brothers, Dante Gabriel and William Michael were founder members of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.
This group of artists, poets and critics approached art by studying nature in close detail and by choosing subjects that they thought were morally uplifting.
Rossetti was engaged several times but broke off both engagements on religious grounds, she lived with her mother and died of cancer in 1894
1830 - 1894
Can you tell me any more?
Rossetti and the Pre-raphaelites
Who/what is pre-raphaelite?
A handy site:
Nature is at the core of this sentiment.
A poem by a woman about women!
The Victorian Era 1837 – 1901 was the period of Queen Victoria’s reign. It was a period of intense colonial, industrial and artistic growth but religion remained firmly at the core of society.
Women in Victorian Literature fell in two extremes –madonna/whore syndrome.
How are women presented in this poem? Is it a surprising presentation given the context?
HWK: read this article:
What points of interest have we got so far? Time setting? Maids? Goblins?
Read the next few lines
What is there to say?
Rhyme? Meter? Form?
What is rhyme meter and form?
How would you read this section?
END OF LESSON 1!
STARTER: LESSON 2 - Can you craft a tweet that summarises the content of the poem? Think hard about the fact that you have only 140 characters...
In pairs discuss the key features of a fairy tale. From your reading of the poem Goblin Market is it fair to categorise it as a fairy tale?
Take a look at the introduction sheet. Take your allocated section and pull out 3 key points to share with your group.
Rossetti's initial title was
'a peep at the goblins'
TIME FOR YOU TO WORK
Your task is to prepare an interpretation of the poem
This presentation should demonstrate clearly the interpretation that you have found most compelling.
I'm looking for:
- understanding of the text
- evidence of research
- careful planning of presentation
WINNER = PRIZE!