By reading the sisters as two separate people, a message of sisterly solidarity is restored to the poem, and it can be set in its Victorian social world. The author relates the poem to the positions available to women in the Pre-Raphaelite movement, to the Anglican sisterhoods, and to Christina Rossetti's work with 'fallen women'. The goblins represent the temptations of sexual desire, but of a highly imaginative kind. 'Sister', 'vessels', and 'goblin' all suggest Goblin Market. For Rossetti, however, sin does not necessarily cancel sisterhood, and she thought like Barrett Browning that women should know and write about such things. As in Goblin Market, Rossetti sometimes imagines some alternatives than soft domesticity, resentful loneliness, and 'falsetto muscularity'. The optimistic plot of Goblin Market reappears, however, in Speaking Likenesses, an unpretentious little book of three fairy-tales told in one narrative frame by a very prim aunt to Rossetti's nieces.