Poems, short stories, novels, narratives among other literary works offers us a means through which we can see and understand our nature as human beings, as well as, various cultural, social, and political features of our society which are critical to our societal and individual well-being. They act as a mirror through which individuals and a society can attain self realization particularly in relation to its desired destiny in terms of social, political and economic development.
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Academically, they are usually a creative and constructive way of condemning and attacking evils such as corruption, impunity, gender violence, general moral decadence and discrimination among others which are understandably a stumbling block to realization of societal dreams in the eyes of the intellectuals and wise people, as well as political leaders, of good will.
Due to their significant contribution towards progress of a society poets and authors should strive to be clear in their writings so that readers of different intellectual and educational caliber can understand what they are trying to articulate through their works. The purpose of this paper is to discuss Christina Rossetti’s poem titled “Goblin Market” as a guide to behaviour for children and adolescents.
“Goblin Market” as a guide to behavior for children and adolescents
Children and adolescents’ good behaviors are not only necessary in school where they are required in order to create a favorable environment for learning but also in general life where they cushion them from engaging in things and activities that can potentially endanger their young lives.
Even though at times Rossetti asserted that her poem which features considerably sexual descriptions was not intended for children, she frequently stated in public that the poem was meant for children. Rossetti wrote many children’s poems after her masterpiece “Goblin Market” written in April 1859 and published in 1862 (Barfoot 248).
“Goblin Market” is a story a bout two sisters Laura and Lizzie who dearly loved one another, goblin merchants from whom the title is derived and another girl called Jeanie (Rossetti 1). Lizzie comes out as the eldest of the two sisters who are the main characters because she seems to be well aware about the goblin merchants.
Laura like a good loving sister knowing too well the consequences that would befell one if he or she ate the forbidden fruits of the goblin men following the death of a girl from their village known as Jeanie advised and cautioned her sister Lizzie against looking at the goblin merchants as well as buying their fruits (Rossetti 2).
According to Laura, they were not supposed to eat the fruits of the goblin men which they sold in fantastic abundance, savor and variety because it was not known to any one let alone themselves what kind of soil the ravenous roots of their fruits were fed of (Rossetti 1: Rossetti 2). A keen look at Laura’s stern warning to her sister against eating fruits of the goblin men clearly indicates that they were poisonous and fatal. This fact is well demonstrated by the death of the girl called Jeanie whose story Laura told her sister.
Unfortunately, despite Laura’s advise and caution to Lizzie against buying fruits from the goblin men, Lizzie as curious as most of our typical adolescents and daring children partook the forbidden fruits like Jeanie.
That became the beginning of her horror and a slow death. She first lost her hearing ability and then since she was not able to purchase more of the forbidden fruits from the goblin men, she was constantly sickly and immediately fell into a slow physical weakening and depression. With time she was unable to undertake her household chores.
A seed from the fruits of the goblin men she had kept bore nothing when she tried to plant it. Her sister Lizzie despite Laura’s disobedience and failure to honor her advice against eating fruits from the goblin men was however determined to save her disobedient sister from an immature death. Lizzie finally managed to safe her sister though at a price that would have too left her harmed by the malicious and wicked merchants of death.
Certainly Rossetti’s poem “Goblin Market” has valuable lessons for our children and adolescents who are easily swayed away by anything that glitters and ‘good’ things of our intensively complicated world that is full of many selfish people who are determined to exploit and take advantage of the simple and the less experienced in our society.
Children should learn to genuinely listen and honor advice and cautionary information from their parents, guardians or elder sisters and/or brothers in order to avoid putting their young lives into unnecessary irreversible dangers.
They should avoid despising caution and advice from elders however traditional or old fashioned their opinions and ideas may seem in relation to their adventurous and daring attitudes which have ended up putting many in to undeserved dangers and even sending some into an early grave.
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Children and adolescents should strive to practice high degree of self-control when they find themselves in tempting situations rather than bowing down to their bodily desires which mostly enables them to realize short term gratification with dire consequences.
For instance, if a child or an adolescent finds himself or herself in a situation that can force him or her to engage in pre-marital sex he or she should consider physically running away from the scene in order to avoid the temptation that may eventually lead into addiction to sex and expose them to dangers of contracting Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) or the deadly HIV/AIDS or even falling into the trap of unwanted pregnancies.
Even though we are inherently curious beings children and adolescents should just like traditionalists learn to practice restraints upon their curiosity which has the potential of getting them into trouble that we can live to regret the whole of our lifes or which can even result into unnatural death.
We should not for instance be over curious to find out how it feels like to be high on narcotics however fashionable it may be made to appear to us by our peers or others. Trending into such dangerous paths can turn out to be the beginning of your physical and mental deteriorations due to narcotics’ adverse effects up on an addict’s body and mind like in the case of Laura in “Goblin Market” who fell in to a quick physical deterioration and depression after partaking the forbidden fruits from goblin merchants.
Even though Christina Rossetti’s poem “Goblin Market” at a high level of literary analysis has deeper themes about Rossetti’s world and its people especially women, it is certainly a good guide to behaviour for children and adolescents.
It teaches Modern children and adolescents to learn the value of adhering to conventional wise sayings such as all that glitters is not gold and when a deal is too good think twice in order to avoid fatal traps set by the wicked and selfish with an intention of exploiting the undiscerning, the simple and the carelessly curious in our society.
Children and adolescents should learn that although they can easily get away with a wayward action in the short-term they can hardly get away with dire consequences of deliberate disobedience and uncalculated curiosity.
Barfoot, Charles. And Never Know the Joy: Sex and the Erotic in English Poetry. New York, NY: Rodopi, 2006. Print.
Rossetti, Christina Georgina. Goblin Market and Other Poems. New York, NY: Courier Dover Publications, 1994.Print.pp 1-15