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Loss of Virginity or Withdrawal Symptoms?

michelle.lee's picture

While reading The Goblin Market, I had trouble deciding whether the poem was about the events surrounding a girl's first sexual experience or an encounter with addictive substances. I felt it easily went both ways.

But sat down listless in the chimney-nook
And would not eat.

Laura's whole personality has changed at this point in the poem either from sex or drug withdrawal. 

Then sat up in a passionate yearning,
And gnashed her teeth for baulked desire, and wept
As if her heart would break.

Again, this line is ambiguous and, I felt, could be interpreted both ways.  Laura could be experiencing a serious desire to have sex again or she could be desperatly wanting to fulfill her next drug fix. 

Either way, I saw The Goblin Market as a cautionary tale for all types of addictions.  Whether it be a sexual addiction or substance abuse, the general plot of The Goblin Market could be applied to all sorts of addictions. 

Perhaps sexual and drug addiction were a focus because they were prominent during the time the poem was written?