A prominent theme in many of the texts that we have read this semester is the Victorian fear of the foreign: whether it’s foreign people or animals. Often, this manifests itself in making whatever is foreign something that is dangerous and can harm the protagonists of the plot. This fear of the foreign is seen in Christina Rossetti’s poem “Goblin Market”. This poem revolves around two sisters who are trying to resist the temptation that comes from these little goblin men and the fruit that they sell. One of the many reasons that the sisters try to not give in and buy the fruit is that they say that they don’t know where the soil that grows the fruit has been, they fear this unknown. Early in the poem Laura tells Lizzie “We must not look at goblin men, We must not buy their fruits; Who knows upon what soil they fed Their hungry thirsty roots?” (Rossetti). In these lines, the fear of foreign and the unknown that comes with foreign things can be seen. While the goblins inhabit the orchard, they are creatures that are not from the area, making them foreign to others. The fear of the foreign is evident when the sisters are wary about the growing conditions of the fruit. If the fruit was being sold by some non-foreign person, I bet that the sisters would not have fears about what the fruit was grown in, but since these goblins are foreign creatures, they have doubts.
The fear of the foreign and foreign places can also be seen in Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Dracula travels from Transylvania to England and unleashes chaos onto the unsuspecting British people. Not only does Dracula have physical characteristics that differ from other “non-foreign” characters, Dracula acts as a symbol of the “threat” that foreign influence may have on British people and society. When Harker is staying at Dracula’s castle in Transylvania, Dracula tells Harker, “We are in Transylvania; and Transylvania is not England. Our ways are not your ways, and there shall be to you many strange things” (Stoker, 28). Dracula openly admits that his ways are foreign to Harker, and while Harker is unaware of it at that time, Dracula’s different ways are more sinister than Harker could imagine. When in England, Dracula’s foreign ways causes chaos and death. This causes fear within those who experience the horrors that Dracula brings and reinforces the idea that foreigners will only harm British society. At a time when the idea of the foreign caused great fear within Victorian England, the fear and anxiety that was felt manifested itself in works of literature.