There’s no such thing as a free lunch. From getting kicked out of Eden to spending 6 months out of every year with the king of the underground there is always a price to be paid. Forbidden fruit is always a warning. These stories tell us that no matter how sweet something may seem we must be wary and guard against “foul temptations”. This story is meant to teach women to guard their purity.
I would love to stop there as I feel my point makes itself even on a cursory glance but I’m told I need to “analyze the text.” So let’s do just that.
The goblins peddle their wares and Lizzie warns Laura against them “Their offers should not charm us, Their evil gifts would harm us.” (Rossetti) She is not explicit and yet she is very clear. These goblins are strange creatures and wish to do Laura harm. Laura disregards this very sound advice and lingers. She wants to buy some fruit but she has no money to which the goblins respond “You have much gold upon your head.” (Rossetti) Her hair is representative of her purity in its perfect whiteness. She doesn’t understand that she is selling more than a simple lock of hair but rather her purity for the sensual pleasures of the fruit that the goblins offer. “She sucked and sucked and sucked the more Fruits which that unknown orchard bore; She sucked until her lips were sore;
Then flung the emptied rinds away But gathered up one kernel stone, And knew not was it night or day As she turned home alone.” (Rossetti) Reader I love a good peach as much as the next girl but I’ve never liked a peach so much that I’ve had to do a walk of shame after I ate one.
With her purity gone Laura wastes away. She is nothing without it. The seed of that wild night bears no fruit. Lizzie, distraught at Laura’s pain, goes to get back Laura’s purity. She pays for goblin fruit with coin which they refuse and instead try to take Lizzie’s purity as well. Lizzie refuses and even as the goblins become more and more aggressive she stands resolute. “White and golden Lizzie stood, Like a lily in a flood” (Rossetti) as the goblins “pinched her black as ink.” (Rossetti) A classic black and white, good vs evil, purity vs corruption.
In the end, their purity prevails and they both become wives. Married. The return to normal.
Yours at a time far too close to the witching hour,
Carmine “Red” Zingiber