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Critical Analysis of “Goblin Market"

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Andrea N.
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  1. Barthes was a writer and French critic from Paris.
  2. The notion of the fallen woman stems from the biblical depiction of Eve.
  3. Is assigning an author really an imposition?
  4. Barthes implyies that to incorporate any aspect of the author's life into an interpretation of the work is to cut off all other interpretations or analyses.
  5. If the Queen's looking glass speaks with the King's voice, how do its perpetual kingly admonitions affect the Queen's own voice?
  6. Gilbert and Gubar touch on the notion of women being trapped.
  7. Gilbert and Gubar focus a great deal on the theme of the madwoman.
  8. As feminist critics, Gilbert and Gubar write mainly of the plight of the female writer and character.

Sylvia Plath once said, ?The blood jet is poetry, and there is no stopping it.? This was true for many poets, and especially true for Christina Rossetti. Rossetti had poetry in her blood, art in her veins. When she first wrote ?Goblin Market? in 1859, some critics speculated that it was to be read aloud to the ?fallen women? (i.e., prostitutes) in the company of the Anglican Sisters with whom she associated at the St. Mary Magdalene Home for Fallen Women at Highgate Hill. With the poem's embedded images of sex and the allure of sin, one could see why Rossetti would attempt to write such a poem. She may have been trying to dissuade these ?fallen women? from a lifestyle of sin. In sway with this argument, still other critics found a religious aspect to the poem, comparing its many lines to passages from the bible and citing the similarities. After all, Rossetti was a very pious woman and clung to her Christian faith like a mother to a child. And yet, throughout all of these possible interpretations, one thing remains certain: there is no one right way to analyze Goblin Market or poetry in general for that matter?or is there?

[...] One might also think the poem lacks strength with its blatant portrayal of Laura's inability to fight off temptation. The poet writes, ?Laura stretch'd her gleaming neck / Like a rush-imbedded swan, / Like a lily from the beck, / . / When its last restraint is gone? (81-86). However, even with this mountain of sorrow and weakness, Goblin Market contains plenty of strength and perhaps even a little joy. Take into consideration the ending of the poem, in which Lizzie braves the goblins, allowing them to ravage her and soak her with their deadly fruit juices, just so that she can return home and save Laura from suffering the same fate as the lost Jeanie, who perished because she had no sister to save her. [...]


[...] He claims that once an idea leaves the mind of its author and reaches the text itself, then the author's role becomes obsolete. He breaks this down by stating that when this disconnection of author and text occurs, the voice loses its origin. This causes the author's inherent death and it is at this point that the writing begins. And yet, one wonders if it is possible to read Goblin Market by these strict guidelines. How can one ignore the countless ways in which Christina Rossetti affected her most famous poem? [...]


[...] These critics argue that any sexual subtleties found within the poem are in the mind of the reader, not the poet. Barthes cares not for uninvolved, third-party opinions?even from Rossetti's own brother. The author is dead, therefore she has no brother; this notion is transfixed and cannot be altered. And yet, one wonders how Barthes expects readers to dismantle the text without deciphering it, to unravel a poem without contemplating and interpreting every angle of its meaning, meaning of which Christina Rossetti is a large part. [...]

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