This is very interesting angle from which to approach this poem. The themes of "Goblin Market," on the face of it, seem fairly obvious—the pure and virginal heroine must enter into a world of dangerous men (all of whom want to sully her virtue) and can only emerge intact by resisting all temptation. Viewed from the angle of industrialization and globalization in the nineteenth-century, however, the reader is forced to focus in on precisely the kinds of men Rossetti's heroines must resist. The goblins in the poem, it cannot be forgotten, are tradesmen, and they are trading in food. In the context of Victorian London, which was increasingly becoming a melting pot of foreign vendors selling their exotic wares from all over the British Empire, this is significant.
The cries of the goblins—"Come buy, come buy"—are an echo of similar calls that would have been heard in the street markets of any town in England, but although the wares of the goblins begin with the common English "apples and quinces," they swiftly move to "swart-headed" and "wild free-born" fruits. The "swart-headed" reference is also significant, as it seems to recall other dark-headed elements introduced into London: namely, people from the Middle East and beyond. "Pine-apples" and "pomegranates," the latter a fruit which has long held a sexual connotation, continue the array of exotic wares: these "Citrons from the south" have an obvious appeal, the poem says, to innocent girls and others who cannot possibly understand the origins of the wares. The difficulty lies in deciding which of these foreign wares are safe. Western anxieties about their countries being infiltrated by foreign traders and their unknown wares are captured in the image of Laura and Lizzie struggling to resist the "goblin men" and their fruits of unknown provenance—"Who knows upon what soil they fed / Their hungry thirsty roots?"
The sisters are both convinced that the "evil gifts" of the goblin men would be damaging to them. However, this does not make it any easier for Laura to stay away. Notably, what the goblins covet from her is a part of her very person, and a part which symbolizes her opposition to them, in terms of racial symbols: " a precious golden lock." Having given this up in search of the rare delights, she becomes swiftly addicted to them, sucking "until her lips were sore."
Ultimately, Laura can only be redeemed through her sister, Lizzie, who represents a sort of judicious curator of the goblin fruits. Knowing, or fearing, that the goblin men will attack her with "gibe or curse," Lizzie presents her sister at the end of the poem with the juices to which she has become addicted, "squeez'd from goblin fruits for you." In the face of her sister's sacrifice, the goblin juice becomes "wormwood to [Laura's] tongue," as, seeing what Lizzie has endured for her sake, Laura recognizes what the fruit truly is. Engaging with the goblins, in any way at all, is best avoided, and once the initial temptation has passed, this becomes clear.
Interpreted through the lens of industrialization and globalization, then, Goblin Market becomes a caution against engaging with anything that is unknown or exotic. The two English sisters, Lizzie and Laura, can only survive by resisting temptation and clinging together, something which has an obvious sexual connotation, but also a wider applicability in terms of the growing merchant class and availability of foreign wares. The impact of this industrialization on the individual is, Rossetti suggests, simply that it offers too much choice and too little explanation: better to avoid the dizzying array of options altogether than to allow oneself to become corrupted through contact with the unknown.