Close Reading of Christina Rossetti’s Goblin Market


Christina Rossetti’s Goblin Market could be seen as a take on the agrarian lifestyle versus the industrial one. As the industrial revolution takes hold of the nation, it brings with it a dirty sinful lifestyle that tempts and threatens the sweet nature of the agrarian life, as we can see with Lizzie and Laura. Lizzie unlike her sister Laura is not at all tempted by the forbidden fruit whereas Laura is. However it is interesting to see how Lizzie disregards this, when her sister has sinned and given into the dirty lifestyle of industrialism.

Lizzie’s love for her sister as the reader can see is unconditional; she goes to great lengths to end her sisters suffering, much like a Christ figure. “Eat me, drink me, love me” (Rossetti 1506) Lizzie is offering up her body for Laura as a form of communion, who has sinned by eating the forbidden fruit, much like Eve. Lizzies has gone through great lengths to end her sisters suffering, “For your sake I have braved the glen and had to do with goblin merchant men”(Rossetti 1506) again making herself look more like a Christ figure as Christ scarified himself for humanity. Lizzie ends up giving up her innocence, which we can view as her agrarian lifestyle, and trades it in for the industrial one that she has warned Laura about, just to save her for her sins. What is particularly interesting is how sexual in nature this form of communion is, its almost as if both sisters must sin again to become pure. Lizzie offers up her body, much like Christ, however she does so in a very sexual nature “Hug me, kiss me, suck my juices” (Rossetti 1506) it gives the reading an interesting tone, in order to receive penance both sisters must act in deviant and sinful way, both sister must give into the industrial life, to regain their peaceful agrarian one.



Christina Rossetti. “Goblin Market.” The Norton Anthology of English Literature. Vol. E. New York: W.W. Norton &, 2012. 1496-1508. Print.

One thought on “Close Reading of Christina Rossetti’s Goblin Market

  1. K, you start off with an interesting premise that the poem is about the shift from an agrarian to an industrial culture, which is totally valid. The rest of the blog, though, seems to focus on other themes like innocence and sin, Lizzie as a Christ-like figure, purity, etc. and it’s not clear how these relate to agrarian or industrial society. Lastly, don’t forget to slow down on the AWESOME quotes here and really explore the language she uses! 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s