Should Christina Rossetti be at the table?
Originally, I saw Goblin Market as being about the dangers of “strange men,” but by looking at commonalities in the interpretations offered by other critics, I can see that Goblin Market lends itself to a wide range of interpretation. The common thread seems to be that the goblins must represent something forbidden that young women could fall prey to (drugs, sex, food, consumerism…etc…). The real point of importance to me is what all of these interpretations could say about women and sisterhood. Regardless of what the temptation is, the roles given to women are both one who falls victim to temptation, and one who selflessly rescues a weaker victim. On one hand, it seems very feminist to have a heroine who does not need the help of a man. On the other hand, it seems that everyone who falls victim to temptation in the world of Goblin Market has been a woman, the only reference to past victims was also a woman and there is no significant mention of human men. What would have happened in the poem if a father, brother, or other male figure was present? While a female helping another female seems very feminist, a temptation that only corrupts women seems strange and could be promoting women as the “weaker sex.” I am still not sure whether Christina Rossetti deserves a seat at the table – although she promotes independence and sisterhood, the sisterhood came at great expense and does not seem to exist in a broader world that includes men.