Analysis Pages

Vocabulary in Goblin Market

Vocabulary Examples in Goblin Market :

Goblin Market

🔒 29

"Dogged her with gibe or curse..."   (Goblin Market )

A “gibe” is a taunt or sneer. The word “dogged” is interesting because it describes the way in which the goblins pursue Lizzie, but it also underscores the animal quality of the goblins.

"parleying..."   (Goblin Market )

The verb “to parley” means to speak, specifically in the discussion of terms. Lizzie and the goblins are locked in negotiation. Lizzie wants the goblins’ fruit in order to heal Laura. The goblins want to defile Lizzie.

"Panniers..."   (Goblin Market )

A “pannier” is a picnic basket. It is a French word, typical of Rossetti’s willfully high style of diction.

"the first glazing rime,..."   (Goblin Market )

The noun “rime” literally refers to frost, a symptom of winter’s descent. Figuratively, a rime is a poem or tale. This second, figurative definition is put to use here as well, for the words and lines themselves are the rime about the rime.

"Odorous..."   (Goblin Market )

At this time, the adjective “odorous” meant sweet-smelling or pleasantly fragrant.

"cankerous care ..."   (Goblin Market )

The adjective “cankerous” means of cankers, as in “diseased” or “decaying.” The noun “care” in this context means “trouble” or “grief.” So, the “cankerous care” refers to Laura’s ailment as a result of having eaten of the Goblins’ fruit.

"Pellucid..."   (Goblin Market )

The adjective “pellucid” means transparent or clear. These grapes are figured as the most perfect form of their kind.

"daisies..."   (Goblin Market )

Daisies are flowers that symbolize innocence and purity. That they do not grow on Jeanie’s grave suggests that she was what Victorian audiences would have called a “fallen woman,” a woman who sacrificed her innocence and fell from the grace of God. The barren grave could also be symbolic of unhallowed ground, a burial site that is not graced by God.

"noonlight..."   (Goblin Market )

The noun “noonlight” means the light of the sun at noon, or the brightest or clearest light of the day.

"And gnashed her teeth for baulked desire,..."   (Goblin Market )

The adjective “baulked” means “stopped” or “prevented.” Laura is tormented by her overwhelming and unquenchable desire for the goblin fruit. She is so tormented that she begins to act like the goblins. She “gnash[es] her teeth” in an aggressive, animalistic, goblin-like manner. She is paying the price for her reckless pursuit of pleasure.

"succous..."   (Goblin Market )

The adjective “succous” means “sweet” or “juicy.” It comes from the Latin succus for “juice.” Laura remembers the delicious, succulent goblin fruit and craves more. She despairs at the thought of never tasting that tasty but wicked fruit ever again.

"iterated..."   (Goblin Market )

The adjective “iterated” indicates a pattern of alternation and repetition, of renewed or repeated action. The “iterated jingle” is “‘Come buy, come buy,’” with its back-and-forth diction.

"furze..."   (Goblin Market )

A “furze” is a spiny evergreen shrub with yellow flowers, growing abundantly on waste lands throughout Europe. This familiar plant is juxtaposed with the exotic fruit that the goblins are selling in order to emphasize the disconnection between Laura’s everyday life and the exciting world she has come in contact with.

"purloin..."   (Goblin Market )

The verb “purloin” means to steal under circumstances which involve a breach of trust. In using this verb, Laura claims that she could not take money from her sister Lizzie because it would not only be stealing but deceptive. Laura seems to acknowledge that her sister does not want her to buy or eat this fruit.

"queer..."   (Goblin Market )

In this context, the adjective “queer” means strange, odd, or peculiar. Notice that while Laura seems unaware of the danger these goblins pose to her, the narrator’s word choice hints to the reader that there might be something sinister about the goblins.

"Leering..."   (Goblin Market )

The verb “leering” means to look at something with an expression of slyness, malignity, or immodest desire. Leering connotes malicious intention or evil. The use of this verb further emphasizes the bad intentions of these goblins.

"ratel..."   (Goblin Market )

A “ratel” is a type of honey badger which would have been exotic to Victorian readers. Notice that the goblins are not only portrayed as animalistic but also exotic. They are so strange that they must be a combination of familiar and imaginary beasts.

"wombat..."   (Goblin Market )

A “wombat” is an Australian marsupial with rodent-like teeth and claws that burrows into the ground. The British empire began to colonize Australia in 1770 and began passing land rights laws in the 1830s. Rossetti’s mention of this strange exotic animal both paints the goblins as strange creatures and reveals the colonial backdrop of this poem. Written in 1859, “Goblin Market” could also be read as indicative of anxiety about Britain's growing colonial empire: these new places were so different from Europe that they might have seemed threatening to a Victorian mindset.

"dimpled..."   (Goblin Market )

The adjective “dimpled” means plump, chubby, or fat. Generally dimples connote innocence, youth, or purity. Lizzie uses her “dimpled fingers” to shut out the dangerous noise of the goblins and their temptation, signifying that Lizzie is innocent and pure down to her fingers.

"peep..."   (Goblin Market )

Here, the narrator uses the verb “peep” rather than “look.” Peep means to look through a narrow space, such as half-shut eyes, a crack in a fence, or other type of small opening. It suggests a secret or stolen glance at something forbidden. It also casts the person who does the “peeping” as dangerously indulgent: they know they should not look, but do so anyway. The use of this verb tells the audience that Lizzie has warned Laura against looking at the goblins before, and perhaps that Laura has taken in this forbidden sight before.

"Hobbling..."   (Goblin Market )

The goblins are characterized as beastly and decrepit. The verb “hobbling” signifies moving in an uneven, clumsy, or otherwise graceless manner. It is generally used to connote old age or corruption. This depiction of the goblins sharply contrasts the innocent, golden depiction of the two girls: the goblins are corrupted while the girls are innocent.

"copse and dingle..."   (Goblin Market )

A “copse,” or a “coppice,” is a thicket, grove, or growth of small trees, whereas a “dingle” is a dell or hollow shaded with trees. Little details like this help illustrate Lizzie’s journey back from the goblin market by showing the confusing variety of the landscape.

"Mauled..."   (Goblin Market )

The verb “to maul” has several meanings; however, two are particularly relevant here. First, the verb can mean to attack and injure someone in a way that damages skin, causing bloody injury. Second, this verb can also mean to touch, harm, or handle someone in a rough, sexual way. Such a word choice underscores the brutality of the goblin men with the young maid as they try to force her to submit to them.

"One may lead a horse to water, Twenty cannot make him drink...."   (Goblin Market )

This is a slightly altered form of the 12th-century English proverb “You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make him drink.” Essentially, it means that you can give someone an opportunity, but you cannot force them to take it. The narrator draws on this saying but substitutes the number twenty to convey the magnitude of force the goblins apply to Lizzie, the proverbial horse in this scenario.

"beleaguered..."   (Goblin Market )

The adjective “beleaguered” means “besieged,” “invested,” or “beset” and conveys an image of someone or something being completely surrounded. In this case, Lizzie stands alone while the goblin hordes force themselves and their fruit upon her.

"hoary..."   (Goblin Market )

The adjective “hoary” has several meanings, and nearly all of them apply in this extended simile. On one level, “hoary” simple means a white or gray coloring to one’s hair. The sea, then, has whitecaps. On another level, this adjective means “ancient, venerable from age, or time-honored,” and the ocean has often been considered an ancient, mysterious place deserving of respect. Both of these meanings derive from depictions of the Greek god of the sea, Poseidon, who is often characterized as hoary, or gray-haired, ancient, and deserving of respect.

"obstreperously..."   (Goblin Market )

In order to convey how aggressively the goblin men attack Lizzie, the narrator utilizes several similes. Here, the goblin assault is depicted as waves crashing “obstreperously” against Lizzie, the rock of “blue-veined stone.” The adverb “obstreperously” emphasizes the impact of the assault, because it means clamorously and noisily.

"Like a rock of blue-veined stone  ..."   (Goblin Market )

In this simile, Lizzie is depicted as a “blue-veined stone.” The color of her veins, and therefore blood, in this simile is important. Blue blood is an expression that characterizes old, noble, upper-class ancestry. This adds to the divine aspect of Lizzie as she bears the brunt of the goblin men’s aggression to save her sister.

"Maids..."   (Goblin Market )

The noun “maids” refers to virginal or chaste women. The main characters of this poem are portrayed as innocent and under the threat of temptation. Setting up the poem in this way suggests a thematic undertone of both resisting temptation and preserving one’s chastity.

Analysis Pages