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Ch. X & Ch. XXXVIII (Vol. II, Ch. XIII): "rough, and stern, and strongly made"

[ Edited ]
How little poor John knows of what women want!

The very falsehood that stained her, was a proof how blindly she loved another--this dark, slight, elegant, handsome man--while he himself was rough, and stern, and strongly made. 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!
But he didn't know she was observing him earlier. From Chapter X:

Now, in Mr. Thornton's face the straight brows fell low over the clear, deep-set earnest eyes, which, without being unpleasantly sharp, seemed intent enough to penetrate into the very heart and core of what he was looking at. The lines in the face were few but firm, as if they were carved in marble, and lay principally about the lips, which were slightly compressed over a set of teeth so faultless and beautiful as to give the effect of sudden sunlight when the rare bright smile, coming in an instant and shining out of the eyes, changed the whole look from the severe and resolved expression of a man ready to do and dare everything, to the keen honest enjoyment of the moment, which is seldom shown so fearlessly and instantaneously except by children. Margaret liked this smile...

Message Edited by pmath on 01-17-200704:34 PM

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Re: Ch. X & Ch. XXXVIII (Vol. II, Ch. XXIII): "rough, and stern, and strongly made"

Aww, poor John. He's in love, and he's extremely jealous. He's not thinking straight - he's dealing with all his emotions. His deep passionate love for her and his disappointment in her and his jealousy of her love for another.



pmath wrote:
How little poor John knows of what women want!

The very falsehood that stained her, was a proof how blindly she loved another--this dark, slight, elegant, handsome man--while he himself was rough, and stern, and strongly made. 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!
Liz ♥ ♥


Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested. ~ Francis Bacon
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The Gaskell Society Journal

Here's another useful link: as always, beware of spoilers!

http://www.lang.nagoya-u.ac.jp/~matsuoka/EG-Journal.html
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Chapters XL through LII (Vol. II, Ch. XV through Ch. XXVII)

We discussed the first 39 chapters (out of 52) of Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South during the first three weeks. This thread is for our discussion of the last 13 chapters.

I suggest including chapter number(s) in the subject line, so that readers who haven't yet read through to the end can participate in discussions of earlier chapters right away. I also suggest including a direct quote in each message, to focus the discussion, and to avoid spoilers!
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Through Chapter LII (Vol. II, Ch. XXVII): Margaret's Education

[ Edited ]
Here's an article with more information on the Bildungsroman aspect of N&S, which Choisya brought up earlier (here):

http://www.lang.nagoya-u.ac.jp/~matsuoka/EG-Kuhlman-NS.html

Message Edited by pmath on 01-22-200702:10 PM

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Another Update from Philomath, your N&S Reader-Moderator

[ Edited ]
Since we all seem to be reading about two chapters of N&S per day, I've compressed the duration of each of the last two parts of our discussion to six (instead of seven) days, so we'll cover 52 chapters in 26 days. This also gives us six days to wrap things up afterward, before the February BNBC discussions officially start.

Message Edited by pmath on 01-22-200709:15 AM

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Through Chapter XLV (Vol. II, Ch. XX): Dreams

What do you make of all the dreams?

Margaret's (of Henry), from Chapter V:

He was climbing up some tree of fabulous height to reach the branch whereon was slung her bonnet: he was falling, and she was struggling to save him, but held back by some invisible powerful hand. He was dead. And yet, with a shifting of the scene, she was once more in the Harley Street drawing-room, talking to him as of old, and still with a consciousness all the time that she had seen him killed by that terrible fall.
Mrs. Hale's, from Chapter XIV:

'... I got into a wakeful habit when poor Frederick was at sea; and now, even if I don't waken all at once, I dream of him in some stormy sea, with great, clear, glass-green walls of waves on either side his ship, but far higher than her very masts, curling over her with that cruel, terrible white foam, like some gigantic crested serpent. It is an old dream, but it always comes back on windy nights, till I am thankful to waken, sitting straight and stiff up in bed with my terror. ...'
Bessy's (of Margaret), from Chapter XIX:

'... But dun yo' know, I ha' dreamt of yo', long afore ever I seed yo'.'

'Nonsense, Bessy!'

'Ay, but I did. Yo'r very face,--looking wi' yo'r clear steadfast eyes out o' th' darkness, wi' yo'r hair blown off from yo'r brow, and going out like rays round yo'r forehead, which was just as smooth and as straight as it is now,--and yo' always came to give me strength, which I seemed to gather out o' yo'r deep comforting eyes,--and yo' were drest in shining raiment--just as yo'r going to be drest. So, yo' see, it was yo'!'
John's, from Chapter XL (Vol. II, Ch. XV):

... he dreamt she came dancing towards him with outspread arms, and with a lightness and gaiety which made him loathe her, even while it allured him. But the impression of this figure of Margaret--with all Margaret's character taken out of it, as completely as if some evil spirit had got possession of her form--was so deeply stamped upon his imagination, that when he wakened he felt hardly able to separate the Una from the Duessa; and the dislike he had to the latter seemed to envelope and disfigure the former.
Mr. Bell's, from Chapter XLV (Vol. II, Ch. XX):

He was again the tutor in the college where he now held the rank of Fellow; it was again a long vacation, and he was staying with his newly married friend, the proud husband, and happy Vicar of Helstone. Over babbling brooks they took impossible leaps, which seemed to keep them whole days suspended in the air. Time and space were not, though all other things seemed real. Every event was measured by the emotions of the mind, not by its actual existence, for existence it had none. But the trees were gorgeous in their autumnal leafiness--the warm odours of flower and herb came sweet upon the sense--the young wife moved about her house with just that mixture of annoyance at her position, as regarded wealth, with pride in her handsome and devoted husband, which Mr. Bell had noticed in real life a quarter of a century ago.
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Chapter LII (Vol. II, Ch. XVII): Full Circle

[ Edited ]
And so Margaret and John come full circle, back to Chapter XXII:

'Oh, Mr. Thornton, I am not good enough!'

'Not good enough! Don't mock my own deep feeling of unworthiness.'

After a minute or two, he gently disengaged her hands from her face, and laid her arms as they had once before been placed to protect him from the rioters.
Do you think are other examples of characters coming full circle in N&S?

Message Edited by pmath on 01-22-200712:00 PM

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Moved

[ Edited ]
Moved

Message Edited by LizzieAnn on 01-22-200712:00 PM

Liz ♥ ♥


Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested. ~ Francis Bacon
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Links to other threads for Chapters XIV through XXV

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Links to other threads for Ch. XXVI through Ch. XXXIX (Vol. II, Ch. I through Ch. XIV)

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Through Chapter LII (Vol. II, Ch. XXVII): Unity

[ Edited ]
I've quoted an eloquent passage from Choisya's message on the Help & Important Information board below. What do you think was EG's intent in writing N&S? What message was she sending when she united Margaret and John, and John and Nicholas?


Choisya wrote (here):
... many British classics of the Victorian period are mired in politics, particularly feminist politics, but written obscurely. Religious Dissension was also a big issue but often censored. Many authors at that time were doing their best to expose the dreadful social and political conditions of their times in their books. Not to discuss them would be, IMO, an insult to their memory which, as a Brit, I would deplore. This is my history, for which my ancestor's blood has been spilt.

Message Edited by pmath on 01-22-200705:05 PM

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Re: Through Chapter LII (Vol. II, Ch. XXVII): Unity

Thankyou pmath but it is best not to quote any of my posts about politics or feminism as my views are completely unacceptable on these boards. To use a word of Ilana's, I see most things through a political 'lens', because of my background, and see contemporary relevance in books from other periods which others prefer not to discuss.



pmath wrote:
I've quoted an eloquent passage from Choisya's message on the Help & Important Information board below. What do you think was EG's intent in writing N&S? What message was she sending when she united Margaret and John, and John and Nicholas?


Choisya wrote (here):
... many British classics of the Victorian period are mired in politics, particularly feminist politics, but written obscurely. Religious Dissension was also a big issue but often censored. Many authors at that time were doing their best to expose the dreadful social and political conditions of their times in their books. Not to discuss them would be, IMO, an insult to their memory which, as a Brit, I would deplore. This is my history, for which my ancestor's blood has been spilt.

Message Edited by pmath on 01-22-200705:05 PM




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Through Chapter LII (Vol. II, Ch. XXVII): For Choisya, on Victorian Era Issues

[ Edited ]
Choisya, we can discuss the issues of the time, as BillP wrote: I've quoted from his response to your message below. I'm sure those participating in the N&S discussion, as well as Ilana, are very interested in hearing your views, if you'd still like to share them, but if not, we certainly understand!


BillP wrote (here):
Discussing the politics of a particular book ... is appropriate.

Choisya wrote:
Thankyou pmath but it is best not to quote any of my posts about politics or feminism as my views are completely unacceptable on these boards. To use a word of Ilana's, I see most things through a political 'lens', because of my background, and see contemporary relevance in books from other periods which others prefer not to discuss.

pmath wrote:
I've quoted an eloquent passage from Choisya's message on the Help & Important Information board below. What do you think was EG's intent in writing N&S? What message was she sending when she united Margaret and John, and John and Nicholas?

Choisya wrote (here):
... many British classics of the Victorian period are mired in politics, particularly feminist politics, but written obscurely. Religious Dissension was also a big issue but often censored. Many authors at that time were doing their best to expose the dreadful social and political conditions of their times in their books. Not to discuss them would be, IMO, an insult to their memory which, as a Brit, I would deplore. This is my history, for which my ancestor's blood has been spilt.


Message Edited by pmath on 01-23-200703:36 PM

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Re: Through Chapter LII (Vol. II, Ch. XXVII): Unity

Being neither knowledgable about or familiar with 19th century British politics nor proficient in political analysis, I'd like to approach this from a simpler lens. Perhaps Gaskell is commenting on:

-- The fact that people are basically similiar

-- People can get along if they take both the time and effort to try to understand each other.

-- That working together accomplishes more than working apart

-- That no one is truly independent; we as people are interdependent upon each other

-- While something may seem improbable, it is still possible

-- People never stop growing and learning

I know this seems pretty simplistic, but I feel that these basics can be interpreted from Gaskell's story.



pmath wrote:
I've quoted an eloquent passage from Choisya's message on the Help & Important Information board below. What do you think was EG's intent in writing N&S? What message was she sending when she united Margaret and John, and John and Nicholas?


Choisya wrote (here):
... many British classics of the Victorian period are mired in politics, particularly feminist politics, but written obscurely. Religious Dissension was also a big issue but often censored. Many authors at that time were doing their best to expose the dreadful social and political conditions of their times in their books. Not to discuss them would be, IMO, an insult to their memory which, as a Brit, I would deplore. This is my history, for which my ancestor's blood has been spilt.

Message Edited by pmath on 01-22-200705:05 PM



Liz ♥ ♥


Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested. ~ Francis Bacon
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Through Chapter LII (Vol. II, Ch. XXVII): For Liz, on Humanity

Very nice, Liz! You've summed up the themes in N&S beautifully.


LizzieAnn wrote:
Perhaps Gaskell is commenting on:

-- The fact that people are basically similiar

-- People can get along if they take both the time and effort to try to understand each other.

-- That working together accomplishes more than working apart

-- That no one is truly independent; we as people are interdependent upon each other

-- While something may seem improbable, it is still possible

-- People never stop growing and learning

I know this seems pretty simplistic, but I feel that these basics can be interpreted from Gaskell's story.

pmath wrote:
What do you think was EG's intent in writing N&S? What message was she sending when she united Margaret and John, and John and Nicholas?

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For Choisya, Liz, Danielle, and Ilana: A big THANK YOU!

[ Edited ]
As we enter the last week of our discussion of Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South, I'd like to thank all of you,

  • Choisya, for your support, and for sharing your extensive knowledge;

  • Liz, for your detailed analyses, and for your thoughtful commentary;

  • Danielle, for your insights, and for your encouragement; and

  • Ilana, for your help, and for watching over us so kindly.
I've learned a lot about this wonderful novel this month!

Message Edited by pmath on 01-23-200708:00 PM

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Thank You

Thank you for volunteering to undertake moderating this discussion. It's been fun & interesting. I probably never would have read North & South if it wasn't for this group. So thank you again!
Liz ♥ ♥


Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested. ~ Francis Bacon
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Chapter LII || The Ending

I enjoyed North & South, particularly the growth of Margaret, the strength of John, and the awakening of their love for each other. But, I did think the last chapter was abrupt - their coming together was too rushed. It was as if EG had only a few more word space left in which to write & just threw them together within the alloted space. I felt cheated.

However, in my edition (B&N Classics) of North & South, within the notes it shows that EG wasn't quite sure of the ending herself:

In the letter complaining of Dickens's restrictions on teh 'quantity' she wrote for serialization, Gaskell indicates that this episode was curtailed though she adds, 'I am not sure if, when the barrier gives way between 2 such characters as Mr. Thornton and Margaret it would not all go smash in a moment - and I don't feel quite certain that I dislike the end as it now stands" (Letters, p. 329). [page 449]


Liz ♥ ♥


Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested. ~ Francis Bacon
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Re: Chapter LII || The Ending

Yes, it was abrupt as you say Lizzie Ann. In the video link of Shelston's lecture on Gaskell & Dickens which pmath posted, Shelston said that Gaskell wrote to a friend that she was 'dazed and crazed' by having to write weekly instalments of N&S, which she had not done before, so perhaps this is why the ending seemed rushed. She also wrote a different ending for the serial to that of the published work. Apparently Dickens could cope with weekly instalments easily but many of his contributors to Household Words found it difficult. I would imagine that women like Gaskell, with children and other domestic duties, found it much more difficult than any man!




LizzieAnn wrote:
I enjoyed North & South, particularly the growth of Margaret, the strength of John, and the awakening of their love for each other. But, I did think the last chapter was abrupt - their coming together was too rushed. It was as if EG had only a few more word space left in which to write & just threw them together within the alloted space. I felt cheated.

However, in my edition (B&N Classics) of North & South, within the notes it shows that EG wasn't quite sure of the ending herself:

In the letter complaining of Dickens's restrictions on teh 'quantity' she wrote for serialization, Gaskell indicates that this episode was curtailed though she adds, 'I am not sure if, when the barrier gives way between 2 such characters as Mr. Thornton and Margaret it would not all go smash in a moment - and I don't feel quite certain that I dislike the end as it now stands" (Letters, p. 329). [page 449]





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