Study Guide

Goblin Market What's Up With the Title?

By Christina Rossetti

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What's Up With the Title?

The title of our poem is self-explanatory: "Goblin Market." It's about the fruit market run by goblins. It doesn't seem too tricky … or is it? Like the poem itself, the title "Goblin Market" is deceptively simple: it seems straightforward, but there's a lot more going on under the surface.

The title tells the reader that markets are going to be important in the poem, but what kind of market? What do goblins sell, and why would they run a market? Is this a poem about capitalist merchant economies in general, or about a literal market where people can buy and sell stuff? Or is it about the Victorian "marriage market," which is how people referred to the underhanded manipulations many men and women went through to marry into rich families and move up in society? What is a "Goblin Market," anyway? From the title, it sounds like it's a fairy tale or fantasy, or maybe something for kids. But as you know by the end of the poem, it's more complicated than that. Like we said: deceptively simple.

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