March 3, 2018
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The previous stanzas bring the themes of temptation and sin into play with the goblins calling out for people to buy their fruit. The most obvious comparison to this would be Eve and the forbidden fruit in Eden. Rossetti then provides us with two different responses to this temptation. Lizzie vehemently rejects the temptation, claiming “Their evil gifts would harm us”, before jamming her fingers in her ears, closing her eyes and running away from the source of temptation (1467). This imagery evokes a child-like and more importantly innocent and pure view of Lizzie, speaking to her high sense of virtue in comparison to Laura, who chooses to stick around and ultimately give in to temptation in an almost sensual and hedonistic way.
The forbidden fruit is indeed strong throughout the whole of the poem, I wholeheartedly agree. It seems that Laura is full of curiosity, but is that on the whole wrong? I think Lizzie’s warnings are what made Laura curious; a lot like the parent telling the teenager not to do something which in tern makes the teenager even MORE inclined to do it.
There is a clear religious symbol in the words “fruit forbidden”, or as in the case of Eve–the Forbidden Fruit. Although this does seem to indicate the sin of tasting the forbidden fruit would cause Lizzie’s life be “wasted” like Laura’s was after she tasted the goblin men’s fruit, I also feel like there are a lot of feminist undertones to the poem as a whole. It may not just be about giving in to temptation, but giving into men. In the end, Lizzie saves Laura and in the last stanza of the poem says “for there is no friend like a sister” and lists some things sisters do for each other. However as a reader I feel like those things are not only things sisters do for each other, but that other women should do for one another as well. Just my take on the poem as a whole–especially because women can be tempting as well as men, but this poem focused on “goblin men” instead of a tempting woman.
[“Buy from us with a golden curl.”]
This stanza shows that there are more than just monetary ways to pay for something. With the line quoted we are shown the way that laura pays for the fruit. She pays with her body. This can be compared to present day when you look how a women can dress up and go out to a bar and she has all the money that she needs within her looks to pay for all of the drinks. This plays into this piece with the constant sexual overtones about what is allowed and what the forbidden fruit may be.
Though the poem has much sensuous imagery, this ending sort of kills the argument that it is about a maiden falling into sexual scandal. Laura falls and is enraptured by the pleasures of the flesh (of the fruit) and later much like in Keats La Belle Dame sans Merci, cannot reach that ecstasy again. It takes her sister’s molestation to bring her out of her addiction to the fruit. This does not jive with the idea that Laura lost her virginity. I sort of wonder if this is not an allegory for the commercial market though it is twice said “Men sell not such in any town.”
This poems reminds me of Eve eating the apple, and even the image of the Tree of Life reminds me of that and how a modern romantic might be retelling this story. And later in stanza 25 Laura calls it “fruit forbidden.” There is also a hint of what I would consider in my modern senses, incest between Lizzy and Laura. But in the end, the women overcome the evil fruit and this could be the writers feelings to how to old religion is dead and women are stronger then they think.
It’s interesting to see the echo of the “forbidden fruit” mythos throughout literature. Laura’s immediate addiction to the fruit brings to mind not only eve and the apple, but also the pomegranate from Greek Mythology. It’s reminiscent of Eve and the apple because, as Lizzie has been alluding, once you taste of the fruit, you can never go back. This is similar to the Grecian pomegranate–thought to be the fruit of Hades, which if you ate, you surrendered your soul to the Underworld. With the connections of these myths from all over the world, it really shows the transcendentalism of the written word.
[Come buy, come buy:]
The connection to commercialism and sensual indulgence would seem to position the goblins in association with worldly and industrialized values, paradoxical as that seems. But the wedding of material reality and conditions with the language and imagery of the supernatural is familiar to us from Coleridge and from Mary Shelley, among other writers we’ve discussed. As with many other situations in Victorian verse, the poem deals with alternative choices and paths: one self-oriented, liesurely, and self-gratifying, and the other characterized by sacrifice, asceticism, and an embrace of less tangible goods and principles. As Carlyle put it, “soul is not synonymous with stomach.”
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April 24, 2018 at 12:02 am
See in context
March 6, 2018 at 1:54 pm
March 6, 2018 at 11:30 am
March 6, 2018 at 9:53 am
March 5, 2018 at 10:35 pm
March 5, 2018 at 10:06 pm
March 5, 2018 at 9:12 pm
March 4, 2018 at 6:27 am
April 27, 2018 at 2:08 pm
This poem emphasizes the cyclical qualities of life. This stanza acknowledges the transition from the innocence of youth into a complicated older society. It demonstrates how happiness and youth are fleeting. In the previous stanza we are told about a carefree old man. He demonstrates how in our old age we might return to the same wonderous joy of youth. Although the elderly might posess this same happy disposition, the still carry wisdom and pain with the memories of a complicated life. Many reminisce about the simplicity of being a young girl or boy where everything is exciting and new. It takes a realist perspective where, “The sun does descend,/And our sports have an end.” This poem demonstrates how neither happiness nor sorrow are permanent afflictions. The cycle continues with no true end in sight.
April 27, 2018 at 1:58 pm
In the final stanza we see that, while the narrator doesn’t truly move to the Lake Isle of Innisfree, he takes the isle with him in his thoughts, memory, and temperament. He is expressing how he will take refuge in his memory of the isle in order to live amongst society while embracing a feeling of peace and connection with nature. Even, “While [he stands] on the roadway, or on the pavements grey”, he is able to connect with the Isle in his , “deep heart’s core” and in his soul. This is a form of escapism, while he still allows himself to be somewhat entrapped by a materialistic society. He gives in to most social conventions while holding on to romantic ideals.
April 27, 2018 at 1:48 pm
This poem reminds me of Henry David Thoreau’s Walden. The narrator desires to escape from society by living alone in nature. This is likely in response to an increasingly industrialized society. He glorifies nature and it’s peaceful qualities by describing the Lake of Innisfree with a natural supernaturalist perspective. This sort of ideal is expressed often throughout the arts and can be described as a romantic perspective.
April 26, 2018 at 1:51 pm
The final stanza in Dover beach is provoking in that Arnold speaks to lover about a dark and unhappy world. His is a realists perspective, likely in light of a declining faith in humanity and religion. This is a time, “Where ignorant armies clash by night”. In the dawn of industrialization conflict seems prevalent as society becomes materialistic. At this time society was fighting unaware over materialistic, and capitalistic reasons. Arnold has lost faith in humanity and struggles to move past, “The eternal note of sadness”. His is a romantic perspective where he looks at war, materialism, industrialization, and capitalism, as a true decline in humanity with no end in sight.
April 24, 2018 at 11:45 am
This poem exemplifies the transcendent ideals of writers in this period. “I’m happiest when most away” followed by, “I can bear my soul from its home of clay” suggests that the author finds happiness in spirit. She desires a freedom that comes with escaping the physical world before her. The, “home of clay” she speaks of is likely her physical body. In some religions a deity creates humans with clay. This poem is likely demonstrating escapism where the author would enjoy escaping reality if only in spirit. This is likely a response to industrialization which tends to strengthen attachment to the physical/material aspects of society.
April 24, 2018 at 12:13 am
Yes, definitely hearing your lover tell you they love you while meaning it is beautiful to the soul. Sometimes, though, feeling it is more important. The passionate intensity throughout the whole poem shows that she does need to hear it more than feel it. It soothes the soul to hear your lover telling you how they love you.
April 23, 2018 at 10:54 pm
This whole poem brings to mind an ending, as in a changing of the season; possibly a spring straight into winter. There is a loss and isolation feel to it, especially at the mention of Danae. I do love winter and I know now everyone does, which is why to me this feels like he’s writing about an ending of a beautiful spring.
April 23, 2018 at 9:52 pm
There are two phrases that stand out to me in this: train-oil breath and petitionary growl. I have no idea why, but the first thing that came to my mind is world weariness. Carlyle is excellently descriptive about this Hyperborean Bear, this Russian Smuggler. Carlyle is trying to explain to him that he is absolutely not interested and who can blame him? It’s only after he shows the Russian his pistols that the Russian backs off. An everlasting no? If the pistols hadn’t dissuaded him, Carlyle might have been involved in a Duel, which is not something he wanted.
April 23, 2018 at 8:54 pm
I, too, thought war when I read this. The hope he shows until the stanza you mentioned was palpable, but so is his despair.
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