The repeatedly and so richly described with descriptions including

The psychologist Kay Redfield
Jamison, in her memoir on living with bipolar (or manic-depressive) disorder,
describes one of the symptoms of being in a manic episode as entering a state
of heightened sensitivity to beauty:

My awareness
and experience of sounds in general and music in particular were intense.
Individual notes from a horn, an oboe, or a cello became exquisitely poignant.
I heard each note alone, all notes together, and then each and all with
piercing beauty and clarity. I felt as though I were standing in the orchestra
pit; soon, the intensity and sadness of classical music became unbearable to
me. (79)

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Jamison throughout the book returns to descriptions of the sensory
intensity of the manic state, that during manic episodes, all environmental
stimuli of sight, sounds, scent, touch, and taste are amplified to the senses,
and one’s own responses and drives become more compulsory and reactive. Colors
become more vivid, sounds become louder and purer, and the world takes on a
quality altogether more exaggerated than how it seems in a non-manic state. For
an artist of the written word, such manic states may produce descriptions of
intensified sensory stimulation and emotional responses, or narratives that
model the prognosis of the disorder. In this light it is possible to derive such
a manic-depressive reading in Christina Rossetti’s “Goblin Market,” from the
descriptions of the exotic fruit and their effects, the reflection of bipolar
emotional states in the form of the poem itself, and the nature of the “cure”

Manic and depressive states are
hinted at throughout the course of the poem. It is notable that the wares the
goblins are offering are exclusively fruits, not vegetables or grains; fruits
tend to be more intense in taste and varied in coloring compared to grains or vegetable
greens, and therefore lend themselves more to exaggeration during states of
manic alteration. The usage of fruit clearly imbues a sense of sensuality to
the poem, especially when they are repeatedly and so richly described with
descriptions including not only their taste but also their colors and shapes as
well, engaging more of the reader’s senses. Sometimes the senses are combined
to create more vivid descriptions such as “Bright-fire-like barberries” (27),
which not only describes their red color but also uses the tactile sensation of
touching fire to describe the stimulating brightness of the red, and the “sharp
bullaces” (22) using the imagined jolt from touching sharpness to describe
sharp bitterness of taste. Their Biblical connotation with the apple from the
Tree of Knowledge also connects them to sex, which is of course another deeply
sensual experience; another connection to sex is made when considering that
fruits are an essential element of the reproductive cycle of the plants that
bear them. There are also several references to the fruits’ exotic provenance,
not only through the musings of lines like “Fruits which that unknown orchard
bore” (135) but also of the goblins themselves, “Brother with queer brother”
(94), who seem not only to have come from another country but from another
world. If the fruits are from another world, it is one of warm winds (62),
odorous mead (180) and “pure the wave they drink / With lilies at the brink”
(181–2). Adding to their otherworldliness are inclusions of fruit that are not
grown in England (such as cranberries 11, indigenous to the American
continents that are often referred to as the “New World”) and how all of these
different fruits that do not come into season simultaneously seem to be ripe at
the same time (apples 12 ripen in the fall, strawberries 14 in the summer).
It is, in other words, a sensuously magnified world, like the normal world experienced
through the hyper-sensitized sensory faculty of a person in a manic state. The
fruit would then represent sensual experiences during a manic phase where every
color and taste would seem, to borrow from Jamison’s wording, “exquisitely
poignant” and to have “piercing beauty and clarity.”

Depressive states usually follow
these manic phases, with the opposite effect on how the world is perceived;
morbid depression, as also experienced and described by Jamison, can inspire
feelings of paranoia, nihilism, and suicide. Addiction is also relevant to a
manic-depressive reading because of its high concurrence rate with bipolar
disorder, to the point of certain psychologists suggesting they have a common
pathology (Maremmani et al. 156). Laura showing signs of addiction and
withdrawal is consistent with the symptoms of the depressive phase of bipolar
disorder. Laura “gnashed her teeth for baulked desire” (267) when she is unable
to fulfill her craving for the goblin fruit, bringing to mind the withdrawal
symptoms of addiction. She is also reduced to weeping during bouts of insomnia,
also a common symptom of depression (“Signs and Symptoms of Depression”).
Eventually she refuses to work or even eat, until finally she “sat down
listless in the chimney-nook” (297) and “Seemed knocking at Death’s door” (321),
suggesting through the allusion to death that Laura has entered a state of
catatonic depression where the patient seems to almost lie dead, drained of all
affect and unresponsive to the world. There is a clear progression from
ecstatic joy or mania to catatonia, from where the world seems exaggerated to
the senses to where it seems dark and drained of emotions, consistent with the
progression of bipolar disorder.