An era of advancement of human thinking was mainly personal as people started to learn a lot about themselves and about the world around them, and we began to understand how we came to be on this world. This is when we experienced the changes that the Industrial Revolution brought to this time. People started searching for social change especially about the differences between men and women and between social classes. Women started to understand their importance in society and decided to stand up for themselves. Many authors saw what was going on and wrote about it using poems, stories, and other forms of literature. Musicians and artists wrote songs and illustrated the difficulties of this time. These artists were not afraid to express their views on the adversities of living during this time and the unpleasantness of everything going on around them.
Author Christina Rossetti wrote Goblin Market to show what the women living during this time were experiencing. This tale exemplifies what the social standards were during the era, it is constructed as a guideline for young females on staying pure until marriage and avoiding all temptation. During the Victorian Age, there was a lot of hypocrisy, judgment, and disrespect towards women. Men were allowed to do many things that women couldn’t because it was expected of them. In Goblin market the theme of sisterhood is constantly reverberated. It focuses on two sisters and the temptations of life. Sin and temptation were shown at the beginning of the story when the goblins at the market used their “fruit” to entice Laura to “sin” and eat it. This is synonymous to the story of Eve in the Bible, where Eve was tempted to sin by eating the fruit. The goblin men are meant to be literally men and are shown as goblins to illustrate their evilness.
There is no mention of men in the story Goblin Market, as the author chose to leave it out and focus on the idea of women. Laura’s purity was disrupted when she ate from the fruit and she began to age and become who she would be had she never married. The lack of purity in a woman was seen as an abomination. Women were supposed to be pure until marriage and that is what made them a suitable wife. Although after eating the goblin’s fruit, she became impure and no one wanted her. At the end of the story Lizzie, her sister, went to the goblin men to find the fruits her sister so desperately wanted. Lizzie didn’t know that her sister would be healed if she were to eat the juices once more, but she still tried to get the fruit to help her. The goblins wouldn’t give her the fruit to take back and tried forcing Lizzie to eat it but she wouldn’t let herself no matter how much pain the goblins inflicted on her. “One may lead a horse to water, twenty cannot make him drink. Though the goblins cuff’d and caught her, Coaxed and fought her, Bullied and besought her, scratched her, pinched her black as ink, Kick’d and knock’d her, Maul’d and mock’d her” (Rossetti).
Christina Rossetti exemplified the modern woman and the feministic views that they portrayed. Many of her poems show the hypocrisy of men and the role that women were supposed to play in society. The role of a woman was lesser than a man, women were supposed to be a servant to men. They were to continue the man’s bloodline and tend to their needs. They were expected to be pure. “Goblin Market” represented this idea throughout the entire story. “According to the traditional family pattern, the women were supposed to look after the household chores and take care of children while the men would earn money. There was a strong presence of male dominance in the society. Women were to obey what men told them to do” (Vaijayanti). Rossetti’s literary works show that she was hoping for change in the Victorian Era for females. She was influential in showing the differences and in closing the gender gap in Europe. This was one important motif during the Victorian Era. During the Industrial Revolution, women started standing up for themselves and even started working. “Working women not only shared the burden of earning money but it also gave them a sense of security. Their lives were no longer restricted to the house and children” (Vaijayanti). This changed the way women were viewed in Victorian society and the way that they viewed themselves.
This kind of segregation extended past gender and was also apparent among the different social classes in Victorian society. People were divided into three different classes, the upper class, middle class, and the working class. The working class was made up of skilled and unskilled workers. They are known as the working class because that all they did in order to survive. “The working class was the worst affected class in the Victorian times. Lack of money resulted in a negligible food supply. For some working families, the living conditions were so pathetic that they required their children to work in order to bring home some extra income to survive” (Vaijayanti). The Middle-Class people were the ones who owned businesses. Because of the industrial revolution during this time, it actually allowed for more job opportunities to open up and this helped children of the middle class with their education because they can now afford to attend school. The upper class had better living conditions and more authority, it was considered as the Royal Class. They also had better education than the working classes these classes could not afford to get an education because they had to work. This division of social classes was shown in the poem this shows how the Working-class had to send their children to work even though it meant risking their safety and being apart from their families, in order to get an income to keep their homes, food on their table, and clothing on their backs.