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Goblin Market

Goblin Market

by Christina Rossetti

Sisterhood

Symbol Analysis

For the first hundred years after it was written, "Goblin Market" was read almost exclusively as a children's poem about the importance of sisterhood and sisterly heroism. In fact, you can still find greeting cards with the final lines of "Goblin Market" written in them. Just check out the "sister" section of a rack of birthday cards, and you might find one. But what's going on with these two sisters? All of the similes suggest that the two of them are virtually interchangeable, and yet one of them succumbs to the temptation of the goblin fruit, while the other stands firm.

  • Lines 184-186: This simile compares the two sleeping sisters to a pair of "pigeons in one nest."
  • Line 188: Laura and Lizzie are compared to "two blossoms on one stem" in this simile. Are they twins?
  • Lines 562-567: Laura gets the final word because she's the one who provides the moral of the story, and it's about the importance of sisters. These final lines of the poem use anaphora, or the repetition of the same basic structure over and over, to form of a list. Laura is listing all the ways that sisters are awesome.

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