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Essay 4: Christina Rossetti’s “Goblin Market” Argumentative Analysis
Christina Rossetti’s “Goblin Market” predates the previous two novels we read in a larger genre of literature deemed Victorian Gothic Literature. Rossetti’s work comes at the beginning of this movement and is therefore sometimes ascribed to earlier literary movements as well. Nonetheless, it shares many of the same principles as those works decidedly categorized as Victorian Gothic Literature, capturing moments of romance, horror, and cruelty.
In our fourth essay, we’ll be moving toward a more detailed, more rigorous form of argumentation. In this fairytale poem, readers are guided through a cautionary tale about two sisters and their unfortunate encounters in the Goblin Market. Literary critics have debated since its publication the true meaning behind the tale, pondering what lessons Rossetti meant to impart in the writing of such a story. While Rossetti herself never confirmed or denied any of these suggested meanings, representatives from feminist theory, social and historical theory, religious and spiritual theory, and others have all claimed to know the “true” meaning behind the lines.
Therefore, it will be your job as a writer to review these theories, looking at the thoughts from the majority opinions, and argue for the assertion of one or more of these claims over the others.
This essay will be subjective, stocked full of your opinions, which are then supported by the claims of others, textual evidence, and your own analysis. Be sure that you have read Chapters 1-7 in They Say, I Say to help guide in evaluating and responding to other people’s opinions.
o I have included a list of possible sources to get you started in later weeks. Please understand that there are many other possibilities available to you through the MJC library print and online collections.
o You should cite the text of the poem to the website that I provided. Here is that citation:
Rossetti, Christina. “Goblin Market.” Representative Poetry Online. 1862. University of Toronto
Libraries. [Your Access Date, without brackets] < http://rpo.library.utoronto.ca/poem/1753.html>.
o Be sure to write a clear, accurate Works Cited page and match any sources on your works cited page to their parenthetical citations within the text.
o Please understand that sources such as Wikipedia, About.com, Dictionary.com, SparkNotes (or other literature summary sites), and other sites should not be used as professional sources. Please use sources found from MJC’s library, journal list, and online periodical databases.
? MLA must be observed in formatting and documenting (both on your Works Cited page and parenthetically—see Chapter 11 of Writing and Revising)
Assignment: What is the primary message (or what are the primary messages) that Rossetti hopes to impart to readers in “Goblin Market”? Are feminists correct in believing it is message of female strength and hero creation? Are social and historical critics correct in suggesting the message is meant to smooth women’s entrance into the world of capitalism (the figurative “market”)? Are religious and spiritual theorists correct in arguing that the poem is a representation of the temptation, fall, and redemption of one’s spirit? Are conservationists correct in suggesting that it’s a representation of Rossetti’s love for nature? Is one of these groups more correct than the others? Are they all correct? Are they all wrong?
Important Miscellaneous Information:
? Students should aim for 7-9 pages of text, not including any graphics (which are optional) and not including the works cited page.
? Your analysis must incorporate at least four different sources, including the text of the poem.
o Please review plagiarism policies in syllabus and remember that plagiarism is not tolerated in any form. Students found to be recycling previous material, copying or misusing copyrighted information, using someone else’s work, and/or misleading their audience with ideas, evidence, or thoughts not their own will be referred to the Dean of Literature and Language Arts and, if need be, the Vice President of Instruction. Furthermore, students will forfeit a grade on the assignment or essay that has been plagiarized.
? Final drafts with excessive grammar and punctuation mistakes (5 or more similar problems) will be returned to the author for revision. Revised drafts must be handed in within 2 working calendar days. Students will lose 10% each time a draft is returned and revised.
The Writing Process:
1. Read and listen to Rossetti’s “Goblin Market.” As you read, make note of passages that seem to be suggesting some larger meaning, some larger message.
2. Review Chapter 7 for method of development when analyzing a subject (119-121)
3. Read Chapter 10 in Writing and Revising intently, noting how to substantiate, support, and present an argument.
4. Read Chapters 5-6 in They Say, I Say and prepare for upcoming discussion board requirements.
5. Read the excerpt provided from Burlinson’s article and begin doing extensive research on all possible theories for the “lessons” intended in Rossetti’s “Goblin Market.” You may find one theory or another more compelling, but please be sure to read through research connected to each theory to be sure that you understand the argument of your opponents. It will make your argument that much more persuasive.
6. Read Chapters 8-10 in They Say, I Say for more help in developing writing skills and completing Essay #3.
7. Review Chapter 11, reminding yourself how these authors suggest that you integrate source material.
8. Be sure to complete the discussion requirements in this unit, as they will prepare you to write and think about Rossetti’s “Goblin Market.”
9. Complete your first draft by December 1st at midnight and submit it to Blackboard.
10. Complete Peer Review of Essay 4 by December 3rd.
11. Review the poem, the chapters listed above, and wait for my feedback, which should be returned to you within a few days. Review my feedback as well as the feedback provided by your peers.
12. Final Draft of Essay due on December 10th by midnight to Blackboard.
Please understand that you must write at least 7 FULL pages to be eligible for a passing grade on both the first and final drafts of Essay #3. See the class syllabus for more information on this topic.
Your comments on both your first draft and final draft will discuss the items listed above; however, scores will be provided holistically.
First Draft: (Due December 1st at midnight)
Final Draft: (Due December 10th at midnight)
First Draft: 10 pts.
Final Draft: + 150 pts.
160 pts total for Essay #3

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