Christina Rossetti’s poem Goblin Market shows the fear that women’s sexuality brought upon men in the Victorian era as well as the fear of women’s growing knowledge and awareness that was becoming prevalent due to access to education in the middle classes. Rossetti does so by dropping evident hints throughout the poem
using fruit to indicate the object being bartered which in this case is sex and everything ‘unholy’ that comes with being impure. I also think that because Rossetti would have been biased against men especially because of her bitterness towards not being a part of her brother’s pre-Raphaelite brotherhood and so she might have used the evil, demonic goblins to represent men and their tendencies. Another hint would be Laura exchanging a lock of her hair for fruit from the goblin men. In class we talked about how lovers would carry around a lock of each other’s hair-representing Laura having a romantic connection or affiliation to the goblins. I found this really interesting so I decided to look into hair in the Victorian era and what it meant in society and apparently hair also represented women’s sexuality and empowerment because the longer your hair was the more fertile you were so by the Goblins taking a lock of Laura’s hair could mean taking away a part of her womanhood- i.e. virginity and purity or taking away her wholesomeness an
d tarnishing her for future marriage. This poems takes the idea of sexual desire and appetite and instead of using men to show the ‘forwardness’ of desire, Rossetti uses female characters to have those traits. “I ate and ate my fill, yet my mouth waters still,” in this context the author means sexually Laura couldn’t get enough of the fruit (sex) but could also mean generally women are the same as men and have the same urges and should therefore be treated equally. Giving some idea of how Rossetti might have been seeking equality and standing up for feminism even in the Victorian era.