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? [...]
[...] It is necessary to note that Barthes seems to be implying that to incorporate any aspect of the author's life into an interpretation or analysis of the work is to cut off all possible other interpretations or analyses. Goblin Market defies this sentiment, with its countless overlapping interpretations, explanations, and clarifications. For example, some critics say that there is no proof that Rossetti's poem was anything but a childish fairy-tale, having no suggestive dialogue or provocative imagery. The proof lies in a statement made by Christina Rossetti's brother, William Michael Rossetti, who said, have more than once heard Christina say that she did not mean anything profound by this fairy tale” (qtd. [...]
[...] We should therefore steadily set it before our minds at the outset, and should compel ourselves to revert constantly to the thought of it as we proceed” (430). In other words, take care in reading poetry, concentrate on the knowledge you have and the notions you give, and let nothing separate you from what is While some critics think it necessary to condense and restrict the rules for literary interpretation, others feel quite the opposite. Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar have spent their writing lives trying to free the literary female from her captivity, a captivity that stems from the “submissive silences of domesticity,” (1537) as well as broaden the ways in which we read. [...]
[...] And to delineate the means of expression by which we view this projection, is to limit it indefinitely. Perhaps all the critics are wrong; maybe the author is always alive, the historic and personal aspects are never absent, and the characters are always free, because we as readers free them, from captivity. (see next page for Works Cited) Works Cited Arnold, Matthew. Study of Poetry.” The Critical Tradition: Classic Texts and Contemporary Trends. 3rd ed. Ed. David H. Richter. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's 429-434 Barthes, Roland. Death of the Author.” The Critical Tradition: Classic Texts [...]
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