In both of these poems, the idea of the female character?s hair takes on a similar significance. It represents the power that the woman possesses over men, but at the same time their purity and chastity. There is a twist, though, to each of the poems. In Goblin Market, the lock of hair that Laura sells to the Goblins is also a sexual object, while in The Rape of the Lock, it represents more an obsession with outward appearances.
In Goblin Market, it is very easy to see how hair can represent the purity of the girls. The girls can easily be compared to ?angels?, or some other heavenly figure, thereby making the goblins more like devils. The hair, then, would be Laura?s soul as she sells it to the devils. If you want to think of Goblin Market in a sexual context, though, then the hair that Laura sells would, of course, signify the purity of the woman.
But, at the same time, it would also represent the sexual exchange between Laura and the goblins. She is giving up her ?hair?, or part of her body, for their ?fruit?, or male desire. This is an economic exchange, though, so when the goblins say, ?Buy from us with a golden curl,? not only is she giving up part of herself for the ?sex?, Laura is selling part of herself for it. Therefore, the hair represents not only the economic empowerment that Laura has, but the fact that she uses is to make herself a prostitute.
The Rape of the Lock can take a slightly less sexual view on Belinda?s hair. The hair does, though, represent Belinda?s beauty and the power of that beauty, as it has a nymph all to itself and ?draws beauty?. It also symbolizes...