Why can't Laura hear or see the goblins after she's eaten the fruit in Christina Rossetti's "Goblin Market?"

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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The fruit of the goblins, in Christina Rossetti's "The Goblin Market," is tempting. Once a person eats it, he or she will crave it. Unfortunately, the person can no longer hear the singing and chanting of the goblins in order to find the market to obtain more fruit. Instead, the person is left to wander, looking for the market and craving the fruit. 

Laura, on of the girls in the poem, bargains with a goblin. She trades a lock of her hair for the goblin's fruit. Immediately she begins suck on the fruit (the most amazing fruit she had ever tasted). Later, Laura returns home to her sister Lizzie. Lizzie warns Laura of the story about a girl dying after eating the fruit of the goblins. She was not able to get the fruit and died in her desperation to obtain it. Laura does not believe her and states that she will get more fruit the following day. Unfortunately, Laura is unable to hear the singing and chanting of the goblins. Laura desires the fruit so much that she begins to grow old. 

Lizzie, not wanting to lose her sister, goes to the goblins. She asks them for fruit for Laura. The goblins refuse and try to tempt Lizzie. Lizzie refuses the fruit, and the goblins smear it on her face. She returns home and tells Laura to kiss the juice (still on her face). Laure does so, soon collapsing into a coma-like state. Eventually, Laura regains her youth and no longer desires the fruit of the goblins. 

Laura cannot hear the goblins after she first tastes the fruit because it is there goal to have their fruit desired by those who eat it once. Since the person who eats the fruit loses the ability to hear the singing and chanting, he or she will go on to desire the fruit without their desire ever being filled. 

Some critics argue that Laura symbolizes Eve. Her taking of the fruit symbolizes Eve's taking of the apple (or pomegranate, depending upon one's thought). Her lack of ability to hear the goblins after tasting of the fruit symbolizes Eve's inability to remain in the Garden of Eden. 

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