Pining and Longing- Goblin Market

Christina Rosetti’s Goblin Market chronicles two girls, young maidens Laura and Lizzie, who come across a market of goblins as they walk through the woods. The goblins symbolize strange men, who cannot be trusted, yet still Laura, the more naive one of the two, is drawn to them for the items they sell.

Lizzie warns Laura repeatedly to not give into her temptations, but alas she approaches the goblin men. She says “Good folk, I have no coin; … they answered all together ‘buy from us with a golden curl'”, cuts a piece of her hair off and receives the various fruits they are selling. After this, she begins longing for the fruits again and again.

Lizzie warns her again that “‘dear, you should not stay so late, twilight is not good for maidens; should not loiter in the glen, in the haunts of goblin men. Do you not remember Jeanie, how she met them in the moonlight, took their gifts… but ever in the noonlight she pined and pined away… found them no more, but dwindled and grew grey; then fell with the first snow, while to this day no grass will grow where she lies low.'”

This symbolizes what pleasure can do to the human brain, and that once something “good” is given to someone again and again, it becomes hard not to pine and long after it when it is taken away. The theme is just that, longing.

Strength and Mina Harker

I think it is agreeable to say that Dracula scarred every character in the book in some way or another. I also think it is worth noting how much strength is shown by the characters, specifically Mina.

Mina is always thanking men. She is always so grateful and so enthralled by the idea that the men are taking care of things and making plans, etc. But she, whether she realizes it or not, is just as quick and smart as all the male characters are. She does not see it, maybe because she is one woman in a group of five men, and maybe because she has just lost her friend Lucy, who she probably saw as the ideal of what a woman should be (in the home, letting men make choices for her, etc).

Her mindset reflects the Victorian mindset on what a woman’s role is. She is constantly worrying about her husband Jonathan, in all her diary entries and letters. It’s always her either wondering if he is safe, or thanking god that he is with her. A woman’s role, traditionally in this time period, is to be loyal to and tend to their husbands. But Mina does this while actually thinking through why she should be worried, and even reads what Jonathan wrote at Dracula’s Castle and shows it to Van Helsing. She is again, more quickwitted and intelligent than what sits on the surface.

Even after she becomes bit by Dracula, Mina wants to help and to be involved. She is constantly under a lot of stress, having been bitten by a vampire and all, and she shakes off her tiredness and tries her hardest to help. She allows Van Helsing to hypnotize her, among other things. She even travels with the men to Dracula’s Castle.¬†Women in the Victorian era can make for strong characters, as in the case of Mina Harker.

A prisoner to Dracula

It is not hard to see throughout the book that Jonathan Harker has developed fear and trauma due to his stay at Dracula’s castle. He writes from the time he was in the castle, “Doors, doors, doors everywhere, and all locked and bolted. In no place save from the windows in the castle walls is there an available exit. The castle is a veritable prison, and I am a prisoner!” (Stoker Chapter 2) Reading this quote, although short, with the knowledge that Jonathan does get out, which we still don’t know how, gives the reader a new perspective on it. It explains, as do other quotes around the same time in the book, why Jonathan is so traumatized. He simply could not get out of this place that terrified him. He is traumatized from his visit, and from knowing that Dracula is still out there somewhere, possibly close to him in England. Mina notices it before she even reads the diary, that her husband has been acting strange since she first visited him in the hospital. Later on in the book when Mina and Van Helsing read Jonathan’s notebook, we see another side to this quote, of Jonathan’s friends and loved ones learning what went on when he went to Transylvania. The idea of being a prisoner to Dracula can also be applied, in a very different way, to Lucy Westenra. She became a prisoner to Dracula when she was bitten, and was never the same (turned into a vampire) since. She couldn’t get out, just as Jonathan couldn’t. As she went through those countless blood transfusions and other treatments, she was all the time a prisoner/slave to Dracula’s dark ways, and could not physically escape him as she became the “bloofer lady”. It leaves the reader to wonder, will there be more “prisoners to Dracula”?

 

Hugo Baskerville and the Hound

“…nor yet was it that of the body of Hugo Baskerville lying near her, which raised the hair upon the heads of these three dare devil roysterers, but it was that, standing over Hugo, and plucking at his throat, there stood a foul thing, a great, black beast, shaped like a hound, yet larger than any hound that ever mortal eye has rested upon…”

This passage is an excerpt from Dr. Mortimer’s manuscript, detailing the curse of the Baskervilles, and how it originated. Here he describes the hound like creature attacking Hugo Baskerville. It is a supernatural and frightening tale, and as he reads it to Sherlock Holmes and Watson, the message and the depth of the story really set in for the reader. This passage explains the first time the curse of the Baskervilles has ever taken place, and then later goes on to say that each heir of Hugo Baskerville has met similar fates, usually a bloody death, or a mysterious one. Dr. Mortimer believes that the hound is behind the deaths of the heirs. This origin story is already, in the next few chapters, very important in relation to the characters and their actions. Holmes, Watson and Dr. Mortimer meet with Sir Henry Baskerville, the last Baskerville left, and warn him about this curse, which he previously knew nothing about, being in London, far away from the dreaded moor.

Blog Post #1

I chose a passage from the first chapter of the novel, a description of the house at Audley court. “the house faced the arch, and occupied three sides of a quadrangle. It was very old, and very irregular and rambling. The windows were uneven; some small, some large, some with heavy stone mullions and rich stained glass.” (Braddon 7).

This passage describes some of the exterior of the house. For the first few pages of the novel the author offers extensive details about Audley Court. Braddon uses a lot of contrasting imagery to describe the window situation at the house, which is what the passage begins to describe. This passage relates to the book as a whole in that it describes the most used setting throughout the entire novel. I think the disorderly, irregular looking house reflects the disorder of what’s going on in the novel and the drama between the characters. When she states “some small, some large, some with heavy stone mullions and rich stained glass”(Braddon 7), the author gives us insight into the characters. For example, Lucy Graham’s description could be equivalent to, in this instance, to the ones with “heavy stone mullions and rich stained glass”, as she is a powerful figure in the story.