Sisterhood in The Goblin Market

Friday, April 28th 2017

Christina Rossetti’s Goblin Market


Hello All,

Today on Feminist Friday I wanted to take the time to talk about Christina Georgina Rossetti, say that five times fast! She was a famous writer of the “Goblin Market,” a poem that I’ll be exploring in just a few paragraphs. Beyond her writing the poem “Goblin Market,” she also wrote a variety of romanic, devotional, and of course children’s poem, however “ Goblin Market” is my favorite thus far.

Christina Rossetti born December 5 of 1830, of what was then Charlotte Street in London, was born to a very talented family. Her father was  Gabriele Rossetti,  poet in addition to being a political exile from Vasto, Abruzzo and her mother Frances Polidori.

She had two brothers, who in their own right became famous for being William Michael and Date Gabriel Rossetti, for establishing the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in 1848. As political as the “Brotherhood” sounds, its actually  was a group of creative English minds consisting of painters, poets, and critics founded by  William Holman Hunt, John Everett Millais, and of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, they were later joined by William Michael Rossetti, James Collinson, Frederic George Stephens, and Thomas Woolner, then creating what was known as the “Seven Brotherhood.” I have to confess after playing so much Skyrim, the word “brotherhood” makes me want to search the room for a random hand print on the walls.  I would also like to mention that the Rossetti Brothers would not allow their sister Christina to join their Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, typical! Yet that did not stop Christina from writing, and write she did.

Christina Rossetti began her career as a poet from the year 1842, mostly imitating her favored poets of that time. It wasn’t until 1847 when she began to experiment with verses, forms, sonnets, ballads, hymns and of course ballads. She began creating narratives to tell the stories of folk tales, lives of saints and etc. Her most famous collection is still Goblin Market and Other Poems which first appeared in 1863 by the time she was 31. That’s right, even in the century of the 1800 being successful before the age of 30 was still  a thing.

Now you’re probably wondering, what does a woman named Rossetti has to do with me on this fine Friday, the answer is everything!

January 21st, 2017 the Women’s March proved that women can and will unite  to advocate. The usually male dominated world had to stop what they were doing, and witness the collected voices of women around the world as they advocate legislation and polices regarding…

-Women’s Right
-Immigration Reform
-Healthcare Reform
– Natural Environment
-Racial Equality
-Freedom of Religion
-Workers Right

The rallies were aimed towards Donald Trump when he was painfully inaugurated as the 45th President of the United states, yet sharing that page in the history books the world will also have to acknowledge the fact the Women’s March was the largest single-day protest in United States history.

The Women’s March originally planned to be held in Washington continue it’s advocation in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York Cit, Seattle, and even Bismarck  North Dakota.

Women came together to protest for rights they felt passionately about, while also letting Donald Trump know that these weren’t not the types of  pussies you want to grab ‘cuz they’ll grab you right back!

Christina Rossetti, is not alive to day to witness how strongly the united force a group of women reaching unite din a common cause can stretch beyond the pages of a book but to the world.
Rossetti, being excluded from her own brother’s brotherhood, would have stood proud with the women who participated with the Women’s March, probably wearing her own Victorian version of the Pussyhat Project.

Photographer: Roya Ann Miller

This is why I feel it’s important to keep the voices of women who have long since past continue, as they dreamt of a world in which society’s social structure did not hinder the voice of a person, just because she was not born a man.

The world of the “ Goblin Market,” to me is a “woman’s world”. Throughout the length of the poem we never encounter any male characters, plus the only glimpse readers have of knowing that men do in fact exist is revealed at the end, when we are told that Lizzie and Laura have become “wives” even though there are no husband mentioned here are mention of children.

Days, weeks, months, years
Afterwards, when both were wives
With children of their own;
Their mother-hearts beset with fears,
Their lives bound up in tender lives;
Laura would call the little ones
(Lines 54-59)

I feel the Goblin Market might be a reflection of Christina’s feeling towards her brother. Even though Christina Rosetti’s closeness towards her mother, sister, and brothers,Dante Gabriel and William Michael Rossetti. Even though Christina Rossetti was close to her brother, that bond did not extend to the brotherhood they forged when she attempted to be an official member of the artist movement, the Pre-Raphaelite Brother.

Male figures are excluded in this poem, the same way women are excluded in a male dominated world, especially the male dominated artist work during the Victorian period, this is why I believe the true sounding theme of this Victorian poem is about women and femininity. The selected sections of the poem that help support my theory are:

Fetched in honey, milked the cows,
Aired and set to right the house,
Kneaded cakes of whitest wheat,
Cakes for dainty mouths to eat,
Next churned butter, whipped up cream,
Fed their poultry, sat and sewed; (203-208)

These five lines are the long catalogue of exactly Laura and Lizzie’s  domestic chores were, which would lead people to believe they were sisters living by themselves. Expect these listing of chores were the usual household task that women during that time were well equipped if not expect to complete by society standards.

For there is no friend like a sister
In calm or stormy weather (562-563 Rossetti)

Laura is telling the story of the Goblin Market to their children, saying the moral of the story has to deal with sisterly heroism, but does it really? I believe the way Christina Rossetti speaks about the moral of the Goblin Market’s moral, isn’t about the bond of genetic sisters, but the bond between sisterhoods. A group of women coming together towards a common goal, similar to her brothers creating a brotherhood, I believe  Rossetti was speaking about women becoming their own heroes, becoming a heroine. Only with the powers of women staying by each other side like true sister can women truly help to make a change.

Through my interruption of  Christina Rossetti’s Goblin Market, I believe the only true thing a woman wants is to have the same rights as a man.
Rossetti, Christina. “Goblin Market.” Poetry Foundation. Poetry Foundation, n.d. Web. 25 Apr. 2017.

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