A Safe Place

Christina Rossetti wrote Goblin Market to stress the importance of women sticking together, which helped them avoid the social mishaps of the mid 1800’s. Throughout the poem, Lizzie continuously tries to protect her sister Laura from the enticing goblin men. As the sisters were collecting water from the brook, Lizzie did everything in her best effort to warn her sister not to fall weak to the temptations. When Laura ate the fruit, Lizzie could have returned home, away from her sister and the goblin men. Instead, she decided to fall asleep that night cradling her sister in her arms. “Cheek to cheek and breast to breast Lock’d together in one nest” (Rossetti). Even after Laura disobeyed Lizzie, the two continue to profess their love for each other. I believe Rossetti’s purpose of writing was to illustrate that women were already at a disadvantage due to double standards, and unjust social expectations. Mistakes are unavoidable, but that should not diminish the sisterhood between all of the women. Rossetti wanted to get the message across to her female readers that a strong bond was necessary to keep them safe and free from all temptations during this time period. 

At the end of the poem, Lizzie sacrifices her own free will to help Laura escape from the ravenish temptations. “They trod and hustled her, Elbow’d and jostled her, Claw’d with their nails, Barking, mewing, hissing, mocking, Tore her gown and soil’d her stocking, Twitch’d her hair out by the roots, Stamp’d upon her tender feet, Held her hands and squeez’d their fruits Against her mouth to make her eat” (Rossetti). Lizzie went to retrieve fruit to save her sister despite knowing the danger it brought. Her selflessness strengthened their sisterhood. Women sticking together during 1800, rural England was very important. Rossetti believed in feminine individuality and fighting gender discrimination. She wrote Goblin Market so female readers would see the hardships and temptations of society were inevitable, but sacrificial love for one another will always protect their sanctuary. 

One thought on “A Safe Place”

  1. I agree with the idea that much of this story is about how women should stick together. It made me reflect on how women were treated in that society and how someone like Rosetti definitely would understand the importance of women sticking together. In terms of other readings with this same theme, I think Lady Audley’s secret is a great example of the contrary. It is the story of a lady in this society without the support of anyone else, and it does not go well for her.

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