I can t quite put my finger on why I love this book quite as much as I do And even for someone who does re read books as much as I do, to get through 3 copies of one book is quite a feat For me, the most remarkable achievement of Gaskell is that she is able to combine so many elements of various 19th century novelistic traditions and yet not have the novel collapse into incomprehensibility.The broad scope of the novel, coupled with insightful depth and comment means that each reading of the book can offer something new Read it as a straight forward or not love story, a fictional romantic biography Then discover the class politics that run through the novel Or perhaps the debate as the title suggests between the rapidly industrialising north and the gentrified south Or the sexual and gender politics that create a constant thematic pulse throughout the book Or any other matter you choose to seek out from religion to the nature of authority and so on and so forth There is so much to be gained from the many directions in which this book can pull you I personally have often come away from the book wanting to follow up on points raised, to examine the history behind the work Or, if in a romantic mood, I will find snippets of prose or dialogue floating around my head.I imagine for the majority of readers their primary concern is the love hate relationship between Margaret and Thornton Their story is successful because they are believable they are imperfect, act willfully and foolishly, but ultimately they are good people Margaret, especially, is an engaging heroine her independance and strength of character in the face of remorseless adversity make her compelling, and gives the reader a real desire to see her gain her happy ending Criticisms I have heard against the book have numbered the following It is dry Its over emotional prose kills any actual emotion i.e it is poorly written It is unbelievable Gaskell mimics other author s stylesBut I believe most criticisms can be easily refuted Obviously, to enjoy this book you need to familiarise and accept the conventions of the 19th century novel i.e long, expository, sentimental, sensational and soak up the atmosphere and melodrama as part of the essential charm of the novel After all, that s how the escapism occurs North and South is no dry and in my personal opinion a lot less dry than Dickens, far less emotional than the heated Villette, and certainly as believable as anything written by Austen, Shelley or the Brontes Indeed, Gaskell is firmly tied to realism via her evocation of working class Manchester And in terms of Gaskell owing much in style to, say Dickens, that is no great suprise Gaskell was similarly writing in serialised format, and Dickens edited much of North and South But owing a stylistic debt to another artist is not an indicator of lack of artistic merit otherwise we would have to discount the majority of Shakespeare s work.Essentially then, this is a book that continues to keep giving and at the very least will provide a very pleasant few hours of escapism into another marvellously pictured world. So about 5 years ago a friend and I were fangirling about Jane Austen generally and debating the merits of the various film adaptations of Pride and Prejudice Colin Firth and Elizabeth Garvie from the 1980 BBC version FTW, by the way and she says, You have to watch this and hands me a couple of DVDs of North and South And I say thank you but I m thinking to myself, well, Patrick Swayze was pretty hot back in the day, but why on earth is she giving me DVDs of a U.S Civil War miniseries when all we ve been talking about is Jane Austen So the DVDs got lost in the depths of my entertainment center and I never watched them Then a year or so ago I met some GR friends who were all, North and South Richard Armitageand lots of pictures only some of them shirtless accompanied this gushing And very gradually it dawned on me that just maybe my friend had something other than the Civil War in mind with those North South DVDs So I dug out the DVDs and blew off the dust Sure enough, they contain Richard Armitage, not Patrick Swayze So I confessed to her she got a good laugh out of it and I ve actually both watched the DVDs now and read the book, which I had never heard of before I joined Goodreads, so thanks, GR friends North and South was originally called Margaret, but luckily Charles Dickens, Elizabeth Gaskell s mentor, changed her mind It s been called an industrial Pride and Prejudice, and that s really not a bad description Most of the characters have pride in themselves and their own piece of English culture, and prejudice against those whose ways are different, and this is epitomized by the conflict between northern and southern ways of life in the novel Margaret Hale is from the South of England, where the landed gentry and aristocracy are based John Thornton is from the North city of Milton based on Manchester , a center of the industrial revolution, with self made men and workers who are starting to unionize.Margaret s family is forced, by their reduced circumstances, to move to Milton when her father dissents from the Church of England and leaves his living as a pastor to become a tutor Thornton, a cotton mill owner, is one of Mr Hale s students, and at first he and Margaret strike sparks off each other in all the wrong ways, although Thornton at least is very attracted to Margaret, who isn t like any woman he s ever come across before in his life But both of them are prejudiced in favor of their own way of life and against the other s You do not know the South Mr Thornton, she said, collapsing into a determined silence, and angry with herself for having said so much And may I say that you do not understand the North asked he, with an inexpressible gentleness in his tone, as he saw that he had really hurt her.While much of NS is the story of how these two very different people learn to see their own and their part of the country s shortcomings and gain appreciation for the other person and their way of life, there is so much going on in this novel that it would be a real disservice to view it just as a love story Gaskell explores industrialization, the unionization movement and the changing lives of all of the characters I could spend a long time talking about how she weaves in themes of prejudice, understanding, power and a person s duty to those he or she has power over, and the roles of women and men in society Let s just say that Gaskell was a very advanced thinker for her time Others have quibbled over the ending of the book, and I agree that it would have been nice to read about view spoiler the relationship of Margaret and John once they finally get together hide spoiler When Her Father Leaves The Church In A Crisis Of Conscience, Margaret Hale Is Uprooted From Her Comfortable Home In Hampshire To Move With Her Family To The North Of England Initially Repulsed By The Ugliness Of Her New Surroundings In The Industrial Town Of Milton, Margaret Becomes Aware Of The Poverty And Suffering Of The Local Mill Workers And Develops A Passionate Sense Of Social Justice This Is Intensified By Her Tempestuous Relationship With The Mill Owner And Self Made Man, John Thornton, As Their Fierce Opposition Over His Treatment Of His Employees Masks A Deeper AttractionIn North And South, Elizabeth Gaskell Skillfully Fuses Individual Feeling With Social Concern, And In Margaret Hale Creates One Of The Most Original Heroines Of Victorian Literature Update June 16, 2018 I watched the BBC production this past week and it was outstanding I highly recommend pairing the book with the movie While I rated the book 4 stars, the entire package of paper and screen is a sure 5 stars The movie adds that extra bit of magic that I found didn t come across as well in the writing alone And the acting superb Yes, I did need to fan myself on several occasions thank you Richard Armitage And that ending sigh About three or four years ago I picked up a copy of Gaskell s Wives and Daughters on a whim, never before having heard of the book or even the author for that matter I know, thank goodness for Goodreads or I would forever remain in a state of ignorance I did not expect to become absolutely smitten with both the novel and its characters I immediately placed it on my favorites shelf and added numerous other Gaskell works to my list Finally, I have gotten around to reading another.I will start out by saying that I truly enjoyed and appreciated this work of fiction Set in England during the time of the Industrial Revolution, North and South tackles some of the major economic and social issues of the time Gaskell earnestly depicts the differences between the north of England and the south of England both geographically as well as through her characters With great insight, she portrays the conflicts between the working class and the affluent mill owners, the masters She is sympathetic to both, realizing that each depend upon a mutual understanding in order to thriveI see two classes dependent on each other in every possible way, yet each evidently regarding the interests of the other as opposed to their own I never lived in a place before where there were two sets of people always running each other down Margaret Hale has lived a life of luxury in London with her Aunt Shaw and cousin Edith for some time When she moves back to the relative tranquility and modest living of her parents home in Helstone, she quickly adapts to her new surroundings However, when her father decides to leave his position as minister of this small hamlet and uproots the family to the manufacturing town of Milton in the north of England, neither Margaret nor her mother are at all keen about this sudden upheaval The north is a place of smoke and fog, factories, factory workers and tradesmen Margaret brings along some of her preconceived notions and prejudices to MiltonI call mine a very comprehensive taste I like all people whose occupations have to do with land I like soldiers and sailors, and the three learned professions, as they call them I m sure you don t want me to admire butchers and bakers, and candlestick makers, do you, mamma While in Milton, Margaret s father, Mr Hale, strikes up a friendship with the self made industrialist John Thornton Margaret and Thornton, on the other hand, clash immediately But it is through this antagonism that each grows and learns from the other Thornton is a man who at first appears hard and uncompromising Like the others of his profession, he remains stolidly apart from his subordinates Margaret eventually befriends millworker Nicholas Higgins and his ailing daughter, Bessy, whose lungs have been permanently damaged from her work in the factory This newfound friendship changes Margaret from one contemptuous towards the working class to one that becomes an advocate of social justice She has found new meaning to her lifeFrom that day Milton became a brighter place to her It was not the long, bleak sunny days of spring, nor yet was it that time was reconciling her to the town of her habitation It was that in it she had found a human interest When Margaret inadvertently becomes involved in a mill workers strike organized by the union, she and Thornton reach a turning point yet misunderstandings, pride and former sensibilities stand in the way of what seems to be a mutual admiration Margaret s championing of the workers along with Thornton s respect for Miss Hale and his recognition of the plight of his employees bring about much needed change The question remains as to whether this will be enough for both a lasting harmony between master and worker as well as a triumph of love between man and woman, that between north and south This is a book that I would not hesitate to recommend to anyone that is fond of classic Victorian literature It is a novel of tremendous self discovery and excellent character development particularly in the protagonists, Margaret and Thornton It is an interesting and worthy depiction of the Industrial Revolution in England It did not quite soar to the level of Wives and Daughters for me personally, perhaps slightly lacking in the magical charm of that beloved treasure I also love a dash of wit sprinkled into my classic literature as well and did not quite find that here Nevertheless, it is a very fine piece of literature and I m very pleased to have read it I have a copy of the BBC production sitting on my coffee table just begging to be watched I anticipate a huge swoon fest with that one I mean, seriously, who can resist Richard Armitage His voice alone is enough to make a fairly reasonable girl turn giddy Maybe an update to the review on that later. I finally figured out why I love North South so fucking much John Thornton is as invested in his relationship as I am And that means a great deal It s very rare to get such a deep look into the emotions of the male love interest but Gaskell didn t shy away from showing us our beautiful precious son from his most vulnerable side The way he is in a non creepy way so preoccupied with Margaret and constantly talks about her, so that his mother and sister get super annoyed just by the mention of her name, like HONESTLY SAME, JOHN, I, too, do nothing else but talk about Margaret and you This is some relatable content right there Elizabeth Gaskell has such a way with words, I am so obsessed with her beautiful language and also with all of the fitting poems that she chose as epigraphs for her chapters, gosh I literally cannot believe that she was friends with Charlotte Bront like hun, you can do better Anyway, back to my favorite topic Mr John Thornton I have written down his TOP 10 moments in chronological order and, of course, I ll gladly share the list with you 1 His first meeting with Margaret He almost said to himself that he did not like her, before their conversation ended he tried so to compensate himself for the mortified feeling, that while he looked upon her with an admiration he could not repress, she looked at him with proud indifference, taking him, he thought, for what, in his irritation, he told himself he was a great rough fellow, with not a grace or a refinement about him John is just such a precious little boy, like, my man is just damn insecure and confused that he s so shook about Margaret, and honestly, I can relate He tries so hard to gain control of his emotions but he s immediately besotted by her 2 His persistence of wanting to shake her hands It was the frank familiar custom of the place but Margaret was not prepared for it She simply bowed her farewell although the instant she saw the hand, half put out, quickly drawn back, she was sorry she had not been aware of the intention You could seriously make a whole saga about their hand touching business because Miss Gaskell really thought this shit through I mean it takes so many tries for them to finally shake hands that when they do he knew it was the first time their hands had met, though she was perfectly unconscious of the fact I love a self aware queen 3 His ability to admit his mistakes I spoke hastily to you once this evening, and I am afraid, rather rudely But you know I am but an uncouth Milton manufacturer will you forgive me John and Margaret disagree on almost every single topic, especially when it comes to trade and life in the North compared to the South, and I love their exchange of blows but what I absolutely fucking stan are the moments of tenderness during which John tries to get on Maragret s good side again I mean, he truly is a soft boiiiii.4 His eyes were on the goddamn prize Mr Thornton felt that in this influx no one was speaking to Margaret, and was restless under this apparent neglect But he never went near her himself he did not look at her Only, he knew what she was doing or not doing better than he knew the movements of any one else in the room John cares so much for Margaret He wants her to have friends, he wants her to be accepted by the people in Milton He genuinely wants her to be happy and have a good time but since he s an anxious smol son, AAAAAANGST gets in the way of him reaching out to her I cry 5 The whole drama on the doorstep where Margaret gets hits by a stone Everything seemed dim and vague beyond behind besides the touch of her arms round his neck the soft clinging which made the dark colour come and go in his cheek as he thought of it Hold my fucking beer, because I knew I was a goner after this scene Gaskell is such a drama queen and I am 100% here for it That whole scene What a mess Thornton s complete lack of chill whenever Margaret is involved really mesmerises me 6 The damn proposal scene And the gentleman thus rescued is forbidden the relief of thanks he broke in contemptuously I am a man I claim the right of expressing my feelings YOU TELL HER, JOHN I mean, Margaret was completely savage in her refusal and I love her for it, but my precious boy did really well by standing his ground and letting of his vulnerable side show.7 His jealousy which never turned into possessiveness He lashed himself into an agony of fierce jealousy He thought of that look, that attitude how he would have laid his life at her feet for such tender glances, such fond detention I mean, let s not kid ourselves, there s one thing this book excels at and that s pining BUT John is always soooo respectful when it comes to his feelings towards Margaret He doesn t think she belongs to him, he s fully convinced she ll never have him and that she s too good for him and after her refusal, he just accepts that and leaves her alone, despite the fact that his feelings for her haven t vanished 8 The Farewell Scene No said he, I put it to the touch once, and I lost it all Let her go with her stony heart, and her beauty how set and terrible her look is now, for all her loveliness of feature She is afraid I shall speak what will require some stern repression Let her go Beauty and heiress as she may be, she will find it hard to meet with a truer heart than mine Let her go I mean, BITCH, I cried I really thought it was over at this point Their farewell was heartbreaking John was so bitter and sad about it but he knew there was nothing he could to, and so he let her be Like, we stan a realistic queen 9 Their motherfucking reunion He came close to her He knelt by her side, to bring his face to a level with her ear and whispered panted out the words Take care If you do not speak I shall claim you as my own in some strange presumptuous way Send me away at once, if I must go Margaret These hoes really had me convinced that they wouldn t end up together, like, I had mentally prepared myself for Margaret marrying motherfucking Lennox this man can choke, boyyy and so you will believe how shooketh I was when I found out that Margaret and Johnny boy would be endgame I mean, nothing will top his declarations of love.10 HE HAS NO CHILL I wanted to see the place where Margaret grew to what she is, even at the worst time of all, when I had no hope of ever calling her mine I went there on my return from Havre He went to Helstone, the place of her upbringing, like what John is a hopeless romantic AND, not gonna lie, this book turned me into one as well I watched the BBC mini series two times within the span of three days, and I need Richard Armitage as John Thornton in my life He can get it any day.Apart from my love for my baby boy John, North South has to offer a wide range of characters who are all interesting and well fleshed out I particularly enjoyed John s loving relationship to his mother, and how much she cared for him and wanted to protect him, but also all the drama surrounding the strike and the plight of the workers, especially Nicholas and Bessy Higgins were wonderful characters I grew very fond of Dixon is a force of nature and I love her than life itself the way she cared for Mrs Hale and Margaret was so heartwearming, and she was also COMEDY GOLD Bless her said Dixon She s as sweet as a nut There are three people I love it s missus, Master Frederick, and her Just them three That s all The rest be hanged, for I don t know what they re in the world for In general, North South featured many moments that I could easily relate to Margaret s disgust at all the men who are interested in her, her inability to refuse nicely, Margaret being tired all the time She is hands down one of my favorite heroines in Victorian literature Such a strong and self determined woman I will leave you with my favorite moment of hers He was speaking in a subdued voice, as if to her alone She did not wish to be so exclusively addressed She replied out in her usual tone What A Savage. Pride and Prejudice wouldn t have been a bad title for this comparative study of English society in the midst of the Industrial Revolution I must say that I was prejudiced against it before starting, and have to swallow my pride and admit I was wrong I thought it would be a dry copy cat version of Hard Times, as the circumstances of its publication seemed to suggest that But never trust your prejudices that is what I learned from reading this highly entertaining and original story, and it also constitutes the enduring message of the unfolding plot.A clash of cultures in miniature, between the traditional life style and manners of the South, and the raw, harsh, booming manufacturer ways of the North, it offers plenty of opportunities to play on different layers of pride and prejudice The charm lies in the fact that each social group has its own code of honour, and feels contempt towards all other groups within English society Margaret Hale and her parents, representing the South, despise the rough and straightforward behaviour of the rich and thrifty manufacturing people, and consider their education lacking and their company uninspiring.The North, on the other hand, represented by Mr Thornton and his family, sees the South as lethargic, sponging, and useless, and admires its own masculine strength, wealth and action.Both privileged classes, Northern and Southern alike, despise simple workers and their ideas, as well as servants and women in general That is also reciprocal, and Elizabeth Gaskell brilliantly shows the arrogance and pride of workers, whose contempt for the manufacturers is just as strong as vice versa Higgins, a passionate Unionist, takes pride in the organisation of a strike in exactly the same way that Thornton celebrates his ability to solve the issue to his own advantage.Pride and prejudice all over the place The slowly developing love story is threatened by the same problem Rather than speaking openly to each other, both Thornton and Margaret choose to make up their own prejudiced minds on the behaviour of the unconsciously loved antagonist, and to proudly refuse any clarification of ensuing misunderstandings until the very end.It sounds quite bleak, and the novel certainly does not paint mid 19th century life in idealistic colours, but Gaskell offers a solution to the social paralysis on an individual level.What breaks the barrier of prejudice Knowledge As soon as Margaret understands the life of the people in the mill town Milton, she learns to respect it When Thornton and Unionist Higgins get to know each other, and spend time together, prejudice changes into mutual respect, based on true understanding of the other person s perspective Knowledge and communication are the best weapons against prejudice in the novel, and in real life.And what destroys pride Love As soon as the characters realise they will lose what or whom they love, they are willing to overcome their pride and take a step outside their comfort zone What Higgins refuses to do out of principle, he does out of love and compassion And the same applies to Thornton and Margaret.It is possible to argue that Gaskell doesn t find a general solution for the clash of interests during the Industrial Revolution, and that she relies on strong personalities to step outside their social boundaries and reach out rather than on creating a social idea that works independently That was my first thought But then I reconsidered, and thought that it is precisely individual enthusiasm and willingness to make a change that puts social development in motion No idea, and no theory are worth anything without people with an open heart, who see humanity in people who are entirely different from their usual environment and social training.True open mindedness starts with understanding the other side and with being curious to learn about new perspectives Individual effort pays off in the long run That is a stimulating and positive message Oh, Mr Thornton, I am not good enough Not good enough Don t mock my own deep feeling of unworthinessIt took Margaret and Mr Thornton 451 pages my edition to reach here and what a journey it was Painful at times, and adorable at others Margaret came to the industrial town of Milton from Haleston, a village Her father who is a parson took Mr Thornton as his student Soon Margaret and Mr Thornton find themselves on the opposite side of wall which has poor people on one side and rich on the other Mr Thornton realizes early on about his feelings for Margaret but as a proud and arrogant girl, she refused to see the utter devotion with which he loves her Later on she came to sense but it was too late by then and she was on her way to other town and thousands of pounds richer.Ms Gaskell shows us the strife of poor in those days of industrialization when almost everyone was struggling financially in the town of Milton In my she sided with the poor but also showed us the side where rich were equally struggling to meet ends She very cleverly has knitted this love story with social issue of that time Characters have fault but humans are tend to have them and that s what makes this book so dear to me Highly recommended if you can bear the slow pace, and the tug of war between rich and poor. Cualquiera que ans e vivir la Revoluci n Industrial desde todos los puntos de vista, NECESITA este libro. This will be a quote pic review, I don t have time for a long one, and this is such a classic, that whatever I write won t be good enough There will be spoilers as some of my fav quotes, just so you know Thornton and Margaret 3He almost said to himself that he did not like her, before their conversation ended he tried so to compensate himself for the mortified feeling, that while he looked upon her with an admiration he could not repress, she looked at him with proud indifference, taking him, he thought, for what, in his irritation, he told himself he was a great rough fellow, with not a grace or a refinement about him He shook hands with Margaret He knew it was the first time their hands had met, though she was perfectly unconscious of the fact He laid her down softly, and looking on her pure white face, the sense of what she was to him came upon him so keenly that he spoke it out in his pain Oh, my Margaret my Margaret no one can tell what you are to me I dare not hope I never was fainthearted before but I cannot believe such a creature cares for me But I know she does not care for me I shall put myself at her feet I must If it were but one chance in a thousand or a million I should do it You look as if you thought it tainted you to be loved by me You cannot avoid it Nay, I, if I would, cannot cleanse you from it But I would not, if I could I have never loved any woman before my life has been too busy, my thoughts too much absorbed with other things Now I love, and will love But do not be afraid of too much expression on my part How was it that he haunted her imagination so persistently What could it be Why did she care for what he thought, in spite of all her pride in spite of herself He lashed himself into an agony of fierce jealousy He thought of that look, that attitude how he would have laid his life at her feet for such tender glances, such fond detention What shall I do What do I mean Why do I care what he thinks, beyond the mere loss of his good opinion as regards my telling the truth or not I cannot tell But I am very miserable Oh, how unhappy this last year has been Where she had suffered so much Alas and that was the way in which this eighteen months in Milton to him so unspeakably precious, down to its very bitterness, which was worth all the rest of life s sweetness would be remembered I wanted to see the place where Margaret grew to what she is, even at the worst time of all, when I had no hope of ever calling her mine Oh, Mr Thornton, I am not good enough Not good enough Don t mock my own deep feeling of unworthiness My buddy reader Nicole said everything there is to say about the book, just beautiful, if you want to know , just read her review DUCHESS NICOLE S REVIEW buddy read with Tea, Karen, Nicole, Cathy, Amaryllis and I think there were some people ahahhahah, anyway A LOT OF US I have just completed reading this book for the second time and it has been even better then the first time.I d already seen the BBC series before reading the first time so I already knew the story, and I wish I d come to the books afresh in a way though I do not think that would have altered in anyway, the way I perceived them Though Richard Armitage certainly does help and I swooned over Thornton even.What I love about North and South is the passion and the realness of the characters, the emotion between the characters I loved the passion of Thornton, his feelings and emotion so strong and real they almost popped off the page.The characters aren t characters but people, and they feel real and honest, not caricatures of people or flat emotionless representations North and South is Pride and Prejudice meets Industrial Revolution in the North of England Only, Mr Darcy is of a Margaret in that she snobs Mr Thornton in the beginning Like Lizzie though, Margaret is a strong woman and fiercely independent.Both of these books would make an interesting comparison Both books are set in rather different times North and South in a time when women could own property and so could be independent The industrial revolution was in full fledge with the rising middle class during a great time of progress The railway made it easier for people of all classes to move about.North and South is a love story that takes place on the background of two conflicts the class conflict between the North and the South, and the conflict between the mill owners and the trade unions Mr Thornton is a tradesman from Milton really Manchester and Margaret is the daughter of a parson from the New Forest She has grown up for most of her latter path of childhood in Harley Street, London When Margaret s father decides to leave his job as parson of Helstone in the New Forest over a crisis of conscience he takes his family to Milton to start a new life as a tutor One of his favourite pupils is the mill owner, Mr Thornton who is brusque and does not have the manners of the south There was a great snobbery about tradesmen even though money wise Thornton was richer then the Hales he was still a tradesman rather then a perceived gentleman And through misunderstandings of each others manners and ways, Margaret and Mr Thornton often find themselves at opposing sides of the argument Meanwhile, she also befriends Nicholas Higgins, a passionate mill worker who is behind the trade union strikes.I much prefer North and South to Pride and Prejudice, though both are so different from each other in many ways Gaskell is a bit worldly, having been married, lived in the North and having a wider circle of friends Her father was also a dissenter who left the church on grounds of consciousness, a theme I have noticed popping up in her other stories My Lady Ludlow springs to mind So North and South has a much wider perspective.I think in the end though, what makes a novel good, what makes a good author is their ability to create characters that feel so real you can almost tough them If the characters are flat, then so will the rest of the story even with a brilliant plot it is the characters that make a story.Margaret Hale and John Thornton are two people that live on in my imagination.
Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell, n e Stevenson 29 September 1810 12 November 1865 , often referred to simply as Mrs Gaskell, was an English novelist and short story writer during the Victorian era She is perhaps best known for her biography of Charlotte Bront Her novels offer a detailed portrait of the lives of many strata of society, including the very poor, and as such are of interest to socia
- 521 pages
- North and South
- Elizabeth Gaskell
- 28 January 2018 Elizabeth Gaskell