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Imagine that you’re taking a class on Victorian poetry in which you’ve been reading Christina Rossetti’s poem “Goblin Market” and discussing its depiction of Victorian sexuality. This poem tells the story of two young women who are tempted to buy fruit from goblin men. One of the girls, Laura, succumbs to the temptation. Though she initially experiences erotic fulfillment through her consumption, she quickly becomes addicted to the fruit and wastes away. Her friend, Lizzie, saves her from the goblins’ spells, and the poem closes with a reflection upon their friendship after Laura and Lizzie are both wives with children.

You’ve been given the following prompt: Write a 4 to 5-page paper about what the fruit in “Goblin Market” represents and what it means for Laura and Lizzie’s subjectivity.

You decide to write a paper with the following claim:

Though “Goblin Market” seems to be a poem that resists sexuality altogether, it actually take a celebratory stance towards female love and eroticism. It is the male commodification of female sexuality that it derides.

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Because “Goblin Market” is a lengthy poem, you choose to focus on the following stanza just before the poem’s close:

“That night long Lizzie watch’d by her [Laura],
Counted her pulse’s flagging stir,
Felt for her breath,
Held water to her lips, and cool’d her face
With tears and fanning leaves:
But when the first birds chirp’d about their eaves,
And early reapers plodded to the place
Of golden sheaves,
And dew-wet grass
Bow’d in the morning winds so brisk to pass,
And new buds with new day
Open’d of cup-like lilies on the stream,
Laura awoke as from a dream,
Laugh’d in the innocent old way,
Hugg’d Lizzie but not twice or thrice;
Her gleaming locks show’d not one thread of grey,
Her breath was sweet as May
And light danced in her eyes.”

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Which of the following reasons support this claim?

Claim: Though “Goblin Market” seems to be a poem that resists sexuality altogether, it actually take a celebratory stance towards female love and eroticism. It is the male commodification of female sexuality that it derides.

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  • A. Equating Lizzie’s carnality with nature implies that female sexuality is beautiful and without guile.

  • B. Lizzie’s health returns with the morning, a symbol of new beginnings.

  • C. The poem’s penultimate stanza equates innocence with sexuality.

  • D. Laura wakes up “as from a dream,” showing that her relationship with Lizzie is more based in reality than her interactions with the goblin men.

  • E. Equating health with youth (Laura’s hair turns blond again when she recovers) shows the poem’s preoccupation with aesthetics and beauty.

  • F. Lizzie’s love for Laura is self-sacrificing and unselfish, because Lizzie tends Laura all night long until she gets well.

  • A. Correct! This reason relates to the themes in the claim that sexuality itself is not derided in the poem.

  • A. Sorry. This reason relates to the themes in the claim that sexuality itself is not derided in the poem. Try again.

  • B. Sorry. While it’s true that rebirth is a key part of the stanza, your claim does not engage with this aspect of the poem. Try again.

  • C. Correct! This reason relates to the themes in the claim that sexuality itself is not derided in the poem.

  • C. Sorry. This reason relates to the themes in the claim that sexuality itself is not derided in the poem. Try again.

  • D. Correct! This reason relates to the themes in the claim that it is male commodification of female sexuality that the poem derides.

  • D. Sorry. This reason relates to the themes in the claim that it is male commodification of female sexuality that the poem derides. Try again.

  • E. Sorry. While this stanza does illustrate the poem’s preoccupation with physical beauty and youth, these concerns do not relate to the claim’s themes. Try again.

  • F. Correct! This positive view of the poem’s relationship to female love relates to the claim’s point that male commodification of sexuality, not sexuality itself, is the problem in the poem.

  • F. Sorry. This positive view of the poem’s relationship to female love relates to the claim’s point that male commodification of sexuality, not sexuality itself, is the problem in the poem. Try again.

Submit<

Now that you’ve settled on your reasons, you need to decide what kind of argument you want to make. Which of these three organizational frameworks do you think best fits this claim and its reasons?

  • Parallel reasons<

  • Stacked reasons<

  • Point-counterpoint-synthesis

  • Parallel reasons are most effective when you want to draw attention to a repeated pattern or a similar formal device that occurs again and again throughout a piece. Look again at your reasons: instead of pointing out repetition, they are making a logical argument. Try again.

  • Correct. Stacked reasons are a good choice when you're making an argument that requires that your reader accept certain conditions in order to understand or accept other ones.

  • Point-counterpoint-synthesis is effective when you're making an argument that seeks to pit two sides against each other, only to show that they can be combined into an overall claim. The reasons here all point to an overarching theme--that of female love and eroticism--rather than to disparate ideas, and so there isn't a conflict within them as they are currently written. Try again.

Now that you’ve selected your reasons and decided that you’re writing a paper where stacked reasons make the most sense, drag the reasons into the order they should appear in your outline.

Claim: Though “Goblin Market” seems to be a poem that resists sexuality altogether, it actually take a celebratory stance towards female love and eroticism. It is the male commodification of female sexuality that it derides.

  • A. Equating Lizzie’s carnality with nature implies that female sexuality is beautiful and without guile.
  • B. The poem’s penultimate stanza equates innocence with sexuality.
  • C. Laura wakes up “as from a dream,” showing that her relationship with Lizzie is more based in reality than her interactions with the goblin men.
  • D. Lizzie’s love for Laura is self-sacrificing and unselfish, because Lizzie tends Laura all night long until she gets well.
Reason 1:
Reason 2:
Reason 3:
Reason 4:

Sorry. This order jumps around from topic to topic. Try again.

You decide to write a paper about Christina Rossetti’s “Goblin Market” in which you want to synthesize the point and counterpoint listed below. Which potential synthesis presents the most compelling relationship between the point and counterpoint?

Point: The goblins represent male sexuality, which is associated with danger and coercion.

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Counterpoint: The goblins represent the dangers of exoticism and cultural or racial otherness, which is associated with the marketplace and international trade.

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Choose the best synthesis of the previous point and counterpoint:

  • Since the goblins are associated both with male sexuality and foreignness, the poem clearly shows the dangers of both heterosexual love and cross-cultural coupling, and celebrates same sex desire and partnerships between women of the same nationality.

  • By associating foreignness with a commodified and rapacious sexuality, the poem does not condemn heterosexual love per se, but rather establishes an insular, English form of purity in which same-sex female desire keeps women pure for their husbands by shielding them from the enticements of exotic and commercialized sex. In their xenophobic rejection of this foreign, commercialized sexuality, Lizzie and Laura assert their virtue and self-control as English women.

  • The poem clearly demonstrates Christina Rossetti’s overt sexism and her more passive racism by depicting both male sexuality and foreign sexuality in a negative light.

  • Try again. This synthesis merely pairs the two points side by side without attempting to link them together in a meaningful way.

  • Correct! This synthesis shows the relationship between the two foregoing reasons by showing the result of their coexistence.]

  • Try again. While this synthesis does link the two parts of the argument by associating them both with the supposed feelings of the author, it fails to show any relationship between the point and counterpoint that can be proven with evidence from the text itself.

Your friend is drafting the following claim, and wants your advice about trimming irrelevant reasons from his outline and choosing a compelling order for his argument.

Claim: In “Goblin Market,” the poem presents alternatives to domesticity and though it repeatedly rejects these alternatives, the poem ultimately casts domesticity itself as an unsatisfying vocation for women.

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Which of the following reasons support this claim? Click on the reasons you think belong in your friend’s outline.

  • A) Though Laura has been saved by the end of the poem and becomes a mother, motherhood is portrayed in a negative light. Her heart is “beset with fears” and she tells her children of her “early prime / Those pleasant days long gone”, a phrase which suggests that domesticity represents a decline.

  • B) The goblin men tempt Laura with exotic fruits that appear different from the rainy British climate and therefore tantalizing.

  • C) Lizzie’s ferocious protection of Laura, warning her about Jeanie and watching over her all night long despite Laura’s fall, demonstrates the strength of eroticized female kinship.

  • D) The poem suggests that the taste of the Goblin fruit makes Laura dissatisfied with the traditional options she has at her disposal, neglecting her housework for something more fulfilling.

  • E) In order to save her friend, Lizzie braves the Goblin men and their fruits, standing “like a lily in a flood” or a “beacon” in the midst of the sea. Though a terrifying experience, her trip to the Goblin market allows Lizzie to display a heroism not available to women in the private sphere, and one that she remembers with fond nostalgia after becoming a parent.

  • F) We can think of Lizzie as a fallen woman, not only because of her sexuality, but also as a parallel to the Biblical figure of Eve, who was punished for eating from the Tree of Knowledge. Lizzie pines away when the fruit of knowledge is denied her, just as Victorian women were denied access to formal education.

  • A. Correct. This reason helps to support the main claim that the poem represents domesticity as stultifying.

  • A. Sorry. This reason helps to support the main claim that the poem represents domesticity as stultifying. Try again.

  • B. Sorry. This reason has little relationship to the claim about domesticity and its various alternatives. Try again.

  • C. Sorry. This reason has little relationship to the claim about domesticity and its various alternatives. Try again.

    • D. Correct. This reason helps to support the main claim that the poem represents domesticity as stultifying.

    • D. Sorry. This reason helps to support the main claim that the poem represents domesticity as stultifying. Try again.

      • E. Correct. This reason helps to support the main claim that the poem represents domesticity as stultifying.

      • E. Sorry. This reason helps to support the main claim that the poem represents domesticity as stultifying. Try again.

        • F. Correct. This reason helps to support the main claim that the poem represents domesticity as stultifying.

        • F. Sorry. This reason helps to support the main claim that the poem represents domesticity as stultifying. Try again.

        • Submit<

Since these reasons all point to a relatively similar pattern that occurs throughout the poem, you decide to use parallel reasons. Based upon the following emphases, which reason would you select to come last in the final instances?

Select the reason that you would want to end with. Note that there may be more than one correct answer.

Emphasis: The poem is about the ability to withstand convention.

  • Though Laura has been saved by the end of the poem and becomes a mother, motherhood is portrayed in a negative light. Her heart is “beset with fears” and she tells her children of her “early prime / Those pleasant days long gone”, a phrase which suggests that domesticity represents a decline.

  • The poem suggests that the taste of the Goblin fruit makes Laura dissatisfied with the traditional options she has at her disposal, neglecting her housework for something more fulfilling.

  • In order to save her friend, Lizzie braves the Goblin men and their fruits, standing “like a lily in a flood” or a “beacon” in the midst of the sea. Though a terrifying experience, her trip to the Goblin market allows Lizzie to display a heroism not available to women in the private sphere, and one that she remembers with fond nostalgia after becoming a parent.

  • We can think of Lizzie as a fallen woman, not only because of her sexuality, but also as a parallel to the Biblical figure of Eve, who was punished for eating from the Tree of Knowledge. Lizzie pines away when the fruit of knowledge is denied her, just as Victorian women were denied access to formal education.

  • This reason is about Laura's fears, not the ways she withstands convention. Try again.

  • Correct. This reason is about Laura's dissatisfaction with the options she has been given.

  • Correct. This reason is about Lizzie's bravery in an unfamiliar situation, one that she is unable to experience again once she returns to the domestic realm.

  • This reason is about the perils of a lack of education, not convention. Try again.

Since these reasons all point to a relatively similar pattern that occurs throughout the poem, you decide to use parallel reasons. Based upon the following emphases, which reason would you select to come last in the final instances?

Select the reason that you would want to end with. Note that there may be more than one correct answer.

Emphasis: The poem is a lesson in the dangers of female ignorance.

  • Though Laura has been saved by the end of the poem and becomes a mother, motherhood is portrayed in a negative light. Her heart is “beset with fears” and she tells her children of her “early prime / Those pleasant days long gone”, a phrase which suggests that domesticity represents a decline.

  • The poem suggests that the taste of the Goblin fruit makes Laura dissatisfied with the traditional options she has at her disposal, neglecting her housework for something more fulfilling.

  • In order to save her friend, Lizzie braves the Goblin men and their fruits, standing “like a lily in a flood” or a “beacon” in the midst of the sea. Though a terrifying experience, her trip to the Goblin market allows Lizzie to display a heroism not available to women in the private sphere, and one that she remembers with fond nostalgia after becoming a parent.

  • We can think of Lizzie as a fallen woman, not only because of her sexuality, but also as a parallel to the Biblical figure of Eve, who was punished for eating from the Tree of Knowledge. Lizzie pines away when the fruit of knowledge is denied her, just as Victorian women were denied access to formal education.

  • This reason is about the anxieties of motherhood, not female ignorance. Try again.

  • This reason is about the fears of motherhood, not the dangers of ignorance. Try again.

  • This reason is about Lizzie's bravery, not the dangers of ignorance. Try again.

  • Correct. This reason is about the ways the poem dramatizes the lack of female education and its effects upon women's psyches.

Since these reasons all point to a relatively similar pattern that occurs throughout the poem, you decide to use parallel reasons. Based upon the following emphases, which reason would you select to come last in the final instances?

Select the reason that you would want to end with. Note that there may be more than one correct answer.

Emphasis: The poem sets female friendship up as a fulfilling alternative, if an unrealistic one, to motherhood.

  • Though Laura has been saved by the end of the poem and becomes a mother, motherhood is portrayed in a negative light. Her heart is “beset with fears” and she tells her children of her “early prime / Those pleasant days long gone”, a phrase which suggests that domesticity represents a decline.

  • The poem suggests that the taste of the Goblin fruit makes Laura dissatisfied with the traditional options she has at her disposal, neglecting her housework for something more fulfilling.

  • In order to save her friend, Lizzie braves the Goblin men and their fruits, standing “like a lily in a flood” or a “beacon” in the midst of the sea. Though a terrifying experience, her trip to the Goblin market allows Lizzie to display a heroism not available to women in the private sphere, and one that she remembers with fond nostalgia after becoming a parent.

  • We can think of Lizzie as a fallen woman, not only because of her sexuality, but also as a parallel to the Biblical figure of Eve, who was punished for eating from the Tree of Knowledge. Lizzie pines away when the fruit of knowledge is denied her, just as Victorian women were denied access to formal education.

  • Correct. This reason dramatizes the ways that motherhood seems less appealing than earlier experiences.

  • While this reason is about the failures of domesticity, it does not relate to motherhood. Try again.

  • Correct. This reason is about Lizzie's bravery in order to save her friend, an experience that she can only re-live in her memory once she returns to the domestic realm.

  • This reason is about the perils of ignorance, not motherhood. Try again.