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Thoughts on Goblin Market, among other things

pejordan's picture

This first week of class has given me a lot to think about, but I’ll start with my thoughts about the course in general. I think that as students at Bryn Mawr or Haverford we are expected to take responsibility for our learning, but I’d never really thought about taking responsibility for helping others learn as well. Framing the course as a potluck in this way resonated with me, and helped me to understand that we all see things in different ways. By using our different experiences with feminism and literature, we can help each other to see different sides of the text or issue we are considering. In addition, the style of evaluation is very new to me as well. There is a fair amount expected of us, but I think that withholding evaluation until the end of the course will help me to think of my work as a cumulative portfolio, and make connections that I may not have if every one of my papers were being graded individually.

 Now some thoughts about “Goblin Market”: I was intrigued by all the different ways critics have seen the poem, but the one that stood out to me on my first reading was one of sexual harassment and physical abuse. I totally hadn’t seen the economic side, but I thought it was really interesting given the time period it was written.  I wasn’t totally sure what the overarching “point” was by the time I got to the end of the poem, however; if men are so evil, then why did Lizzie and Laura each get married? Is there a specific type of man that the goblin men represent, or is it more a reflection on Laura’s failure to resist temptation? Just some questions that have come up for me.