Study Guide

Goblin Market Violence

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The real violence in the scene in "Goblin Market" where Lizzie gets beat up by the goblins makes many readers uncomfortable. If eating the fruit is interpreted as a loss of virginity (see the "Sex" theme), does that mean that the goblins' attempt to force-feed Lizzie is an attempted rape? The poem isn't explicit about this, but Lizzie's physical pain and Laura's violent fever during her recovery definitely require more attention.

Questions About Violence

  1. Why do the goblins react so violently to Lizzie's request for take-out goblin fruit?
  2. How is she able to resist them?
  3. Some critics read stanzas 20-21 as an attempted rape scene. Do you agree with this reading? Why or why not? Which passages would you use as evidence to support your argument?
  4. Why is Laura's recovery in stanza 26 so violent?

Chew on This

Laura's violent, painful recovery in stanza 26 mirrors and echoes Lizzie's resistance to the goblins' violence in stanza 21.

Through her stalwart resistance to the goblins' violence, Lizzie is able to transform their evil intentions to her own good purposes.

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