Currents in Brit lit
“The Goblin Market”
I read this poem, and immediately washed my hands afterwards. It is filthy rich with compelling storytelling, harrowing overtones, and fluid language. I’m not inclined to say I have a dirty mind, but allusions to eroticism are recklessly splattered across one stanza to another. Value and temptation are persistent in the piece, but at the same time, value and temptation aren’t just tethered to want of purchase and want of product. When I disenfranchise myself from the whimsical wonder the goblins provide along with the quaint simplicity of the sisters’ relationship, playful beckoning unsheathes its mask and rears its sickening face. When Laura succumbs to devious pleasures, her sanity begins to disintegrate. As a man myself, I’m not trying to stand on a soapbox and self-righteously shame men, but from a feminists lens, the passage I’m about to elaborate upon demonstrates a contrast between the naïve gullibility of Laura and the oppressive resentment the Goblin men conceal with their song and dance masquerade.
As Laura disregards fair warning and goes in for the fruit, lines 123-128 go to say
“You have much gold upon your head, they answered all together: Buy from us with a golden curl. She clipped a precious golden lock, she dropped a tear more rare than pearl, then sucked their fruit globes fair or red.”
More often than not, currency is measured in terms of silver or gold. In this instance, Laura’s value as a human being stems from her free flowing blonde hair. It’s unfortunate to say, but some men, on a universal standpoint, still determine a woman’s importance based upon physicality. This sentiment appears to ring true with just the first line alone. Considering the fact that my perception of Goblin’s falls in line with disfigured creepy little creatures, it only makes sense to me that these Goblins are synonymous with the foulest representatives of my gender.
While money is nice in its own regard, the Goblins desire to exploit and humiliate women appears to host more worth to them. As they request a lock of hair for their fruits. When Laura snips her hair, my restoration senses tingle, and I reminisce about Alexander Pope’s “Rape Of The Lock.” While two different breeds of animal, they both share a commonality in how womanhood is desecrated by unnecessary means. Except in this case, Laura willingly prostitutes her femininity for a greater evil.
Dominion over a Woman’s choice and freedom are magnetized as Laura sheds a tear more rare than pearl. I imagine that when the goblins see that Laura caters to their offer despite her emotional distress, the goblins find more power in puppeteering people than they do collecting coin. The last line has sex written all over it. Laura is doing the dirty only to pay homage to the conception of what she thinks she wants. The goblins offer enticing fruit, yet fruit is bound to rot and sweet nothings aren’t much more than what they are.
Ultimately, misguidance and blissful ineptitude harnesses Laura’s dependency to the goblin’s and their fruit. While it wasn’t fair that she was involved in the circumstances that she was, her fate was the byproduct of fallaciously accepting things at face value without paying attention to multiple dimensions in the situation. Moral of the story being, don’t believe in everything you see, don’t listen to everything you hear, and always think twice before making decisions.