Year 7 go to Goblin Market

Descriptions by Y7 pupils of the goblins in Christina Rossetti's narrative poem, Goblin Market. 

Mrs Suzanne Chinnock, Clayesmore Prep’s Head of English and Drama, describes her Year 7 pupils’ latest literary work:

“Year 7 have been exploring narrative poetry and specifically Christina Rossetti’s ‘Goblin Market’, a tale of temptation with wonderful fairytale elements that echo Pandora’s Box and Snow White. So far the pupils have engaged with Rossetti’s rich imagery, drawing pictures to capture this, including a ‘rush-imbedded swan’, ‘a tear more rare than pearl’ and ‘a vessel at the launch’. Rossetti’s goblins are curious figures which resemble animals and utter ‘sugar-baited’ words in ‘tones as smooth as honey’. Having examined Rossetti’s portrayal of the goblins, the pupils imagined their own goblin men, aiming to use rich and evocative imagery to capture them. This has resulted in a striking display in the Seddon Building.”

If you can’t get to see the display, you can read some extracts below. 

As it crawled from the depths of the bush, its body twisted and turned as if its spine was made of string. The poisonous fruit looked succulent upon its golden tray. Its pasty skin was flaking like athlete’s foot. The goblin’s words twisted and turned inside each victim’s head. Once heard the killing cry ‘Come buy. Come buy.’ the target could only listen and look. His sinful song charmed all and never again would his victims know night or day apart. Death would grab them by the soul and no grass would grow above their graves for the poison was everlasting. Do not give way to the noxious plea , ‘Come buy. Come buy.’  (Ollie S)

He was no taller than a child. Like snakes, his long twisting horns stuck out from his head. His toes were talons, hooked around the branch he stood on. A pair of red and black wings spread out behind him like a dark angel making him seem so much larger than life. The smooth feathers narrowed to sharp points that glittered with an ugly beauty and reflected on the river’s surface. Sandpaper skin gave way to rope-like strands of hair as black as oil, but his lips were even blacker. They moved like dark flags in the wind as he spoke. ‘Come buy. Come buy.’ Words like honey, dripping with malice. The smell, when he opened his mouth, was like a poisoned river bank. It spread and surrounded him like mist. Silently, his great wings opened and he rose up, disappearing into the night sky, leaving nothing but a rosy red apple behind. 
(Jenny A)

You could smell his menace from a mile away. The sweaty muddy smell  swarmed up your nose like a virus. Like a dentist’s worst nightmare, his teeth were wonky, chipped, cracked, wobbly and black. His overgrown fur was a paradise of fleas and ticks, a forest of moist sweat drips. His ears shed skin, rough and dry, horrid enough to make an adult cry. Like a poisoned dove, his voice was an opera of lies. ‘Come buy. Come buy.’ Like frog skin, his lips were wet and slippery. As he walked up behind you, the last thing to enter your consciousness would be the soft swaying of his lion tail; you would see his wide grin smiling from ear to ear… 
(Lara M)

Standing at no more than three feet tall, it scampers along. Its dark greenish boil-covered skin covers its little body. With ears pointed like daggers. The only warmth it keeps is from tattered rags and shoes. However, it possesses a contrasting voice of calmness; it constantly calls: ‘Come buy. Come buy.’ Its eyes are a bright calm soothing white with vicious blood-red pupils. It smells like a dead rat that has drowned in sewer water. It seems to like to taste bits of crumbs it has found on the floor while feeling the essence of souls it has taken. 
(James Y)


 Lara's description of a particularly vile goblin in Christina Rossetti's narrative poem, Goblin Market.