Goblin Market Metaphor Activity

by eNotes

  • Released March 12, 2020
  • Language Arts and Literature subjects
  • 12 pages
Purchase a Subscription

Grade Levels

Grade 10

Grade 7

Grade 8

Grade 9


This activity gives students an opportunity to practice examining and analyzing metaphors. Metaphors express images, emotions, actions, experiences, and nuances through direct and indirect comparisons, allowing readers to access deeper levels of meaning in the text. In this activity, students will classify and analyze different kinds of metaphors in order to develop close reading skills and draw inferences from the text.

Christina Rossetti’s poem “Goblin Market,” first published in 1862, takes the form of a cautionary tale for children. Two girls are tempted by the otherworldly fruits of goblin merchants and one succumbs, necessitating a daring rescue by her sister. The poem’s explicit moral—“there is no friend like a sister”—supports its reading as a didactic text; however, its sensual imagery and theme of innocence overcome by temptation invite more mature interpretations. Rossetti’s use of metaphorical language intimates the deeper meanings to be gleaned from this fairy-tale parable about a walk in the woods that takes an uncanny turn.

Skills: analysis, drawing inferences from text, close reading, identifying the relationship between words

Learning Objectives:
In completing this activity, students will

  • examine metaphors in a text;
  • classify metaphors in a text as direct and indirect;
  • analyze metaphors by focusing on the two things being compared and interpreting how one of them is described through the comparison.


Our eNotes Classroom Activities give students opportunities to practice developing a variety of skills. Whether analyzing literary devices or interpreting connotative language, students will work directly with the text. The main components of our classroom activities include the following:

  • A handout defining the literary elements under discussion, complete with examples
  • A step-by-step guide to activity procedure
  • An answer key or selected examples for reference, depending on the activity

In completing these classroom activities, students will be able to classify and analyze different literary elements, thereby developing close-reading skills and drawing deeper inferences from the text.