Study Guide

Goblin Market Setting

By Christina Rossetti


"Goblin Market" seems to take place in some kind of fantasy parallel universe with several important differences from our own world. First of all, there are goblins, and they have a traveling fruit market. (Don't buy the fruit, though, because you'll get hooked on it, and then you'll waste away and die.) Second, there are no men. Seriously. Laura and Lizzie live by themselves, and even at the end of the poem, we learn that they have become "wives/ With children of their own" (lines 544-545), but we never see or hear of their husbands.

Other than the fruit-peddling goblins and the distinct lack of human men, though, the world of "Goblin Market" looks an awful lot like an idyllic English countryside. There are lots of fresh flowers, cows to milk, chickens to feed, babbling brooks and meadows… not a bad place to hang out, if you like bucolic scenery. Again, though, take it from us: don't eat the fruit.