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Goblin Market

Goblin Market

by Christina Rossetti


Symbol Analysis

Flowers in "Goblin Market" tend to be associated with delicate, fragile purity, as opposed to the luscious, decadent, and sensual goblin fruit. Flowers, though, can be "plucked," which often represented a loss of purity (line 151).

  • Line 83: This simile compares Laura to a lily by the edge of a "beck," or stream. Lilies often symbolize purity in western culture, but they are also sometimes associated with death.
  • Line 120: Laura connects the golden flowers on the "furze" with golden coins, or money, through metaphor.
  • Lines 150-151: Poor, misguided Jeanie – she ate the goblin fruit and even wore the "flowers" they'd picked for her. There's a possible pun on the word "bower" here: a "bower" is a shady part of a garden, but it's also used to describe a lady's private dressing room. So a "flower" that was "plucked" from a "bower" could very well suggest the loss of virginity.
  • Line 409: This simile compares Lizzie to a lily, and the alliteration, or repeated "L" sounds in these lines really underscores the connection between Lizzie and a lily.
  • Lines 533-534: In these lines, the description of the "new buds" and "cup-like lilies" relate metaphorically to Laura's new freshness and health.

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