Goblin Market Tale

Words: 973
Pages: 4

Can Goblin Market be seen as a Fairy Tale?

Goblin Market is Rossetti’s most famous poem, separated from the rest of her work by its narrative power and the changes of literary taste that value its density over the transparency of some of her work. It was written in 1859 and published in 1862 in the volume “Goblin Market and Other Poems”.
Goblin Market was seen as striking and innovative for Rossetti’s contemporaries, it also showed a familiar narrative mode, a blend of the allegorical and the fantastic that can be seen as particularly Victorian.
The interest in the fantastic in the 19th century came from the Victorian divided mind; the fantastic narrative allows for the expression of forbidden impulses, as described by Stephen Prickett.
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Rossetti tackles several different themes in her poem: female strength, warnings of self-indulgence, biblical references to the Fall of Man, female sexuality, amongst others. Whilst these themes have been discussed in various academic articles, perhaps the simplicity of the fairy tale structure and nature of the poem is often ignored. In the defence of Goblin Market being perceived as a fairy tale, the nature of the genre allows the poem to be able to incorporate many layers of meaning at the same time. Rossetti has incorporated the essential elements of a fairy tale into Goblin Market such as the integral “happily ever after” ending and a moral that stands the test of …show more content…
Fairy tales are usually set in a world that can be seen as familiar to our own and characters may have mundane routines, there is always a supernatural element in a fairy tale world. For example, in “Cinderella” the titular character completes an ordinary set of tasks such as cleaning the kitchen. It is the fact that a “fairy godmother” appears to her to magically conjure up a dress and a carriage to travel to the ball in is what lends a fantasy element to the story. Likewise in Goblin Market, Lizzie and Laura live ordinary and realistic lives. They have a mundane set of tasks to carry out every day: “Kneaded cakes [...]/ Next churned butter, whipped cream,” Despite these seemingly ordinary tasks, Rossetti suggests that the sisters live in a fantasy world. Other than one reference to another person, Jeanie, until the end of the poem, no other humans are mentioned, which would suggest that Lizzie and Laura live alone without the company of other family members or neighbours. This odd detail causes Goblin market to plunge into a fantasy setting as it would seem improbable for two young girls to be able to achieve a self-sufficient lifestyle. The fantasy setting is also evident through Rossetti’s use of hyperbole throughout the poem. Just as fairy tales describe the bravest prince or the “fairest of them all” as in Snow White, many elements in Goblin Market are described as being the very best or