Since 1997, you’ve been coming to BarnesandNoble.com to discuss everything from Stephen King to writing to Harry Potter. You’ve made our site more than a place to discover your next book: you’ve made it a community. But like all things internet, BN.com is growing and changing. We've said goodbye to our community message boards—but that doesn’t mean we won’t still be a place for adventurous readers to connect and discover.

Now, you can explore the most exciting new titles (and remember the classics) at the Barnes & Noble Book Blog. Check out conversations with authors like Jeff VanderMeer and Gary Shteyngart at the B&N Review, and browse write-ups of the best in literary fiction. Come to our Facebook page to weigh in on what it means to be a book nerd. Browse digital deals on the NOOK blog, tweet about books with us,or self-publish your latest novella with NOOK Press. And for those of you looking for support for your NOOK, the NOOK Support Forums will still be here.

We will continue to provide you with books that make you turn pages well past midnight, discover new worlds, and reunite with old friends. And we hope that you’ll continue to tell us how you’re doing, what you’re reading, and what books mean to you.

Reply
Inspired Contributor
Choisya
Posts: 10,782
Registered: ‎10-26-2006
0 Kudos

Re: From Ch. LII (Vol. II, Ch. XXVII), looking back: UTOPIA, etc.

When Thornton says: 'But I ask you, what preparation they were [the Classics] for such a life as I had to lead? None at all. Utterly none at all. On the point of education, any man who can read and write starts fair with me in the amount of really useful knowledge that I had at that time', he is voicing the concerns of businessmen of his era. This was the period just before universal education and only those who could afford an education got one and that was mainly in the classics (including Utopia) at 'grammar' schools. There were also 'dame schools' where girls got a rudimentary but not classical education. And of course there were dreadful unregulated schools like Dotheboys Hall in Nicholas Nickelby:smileysad: In the late Victorian era businessmen, like Mr Thornton, began agitating for state education because they realised that modern industry required people who could read, write and understand arithmetic, not just the Greek classics. In 1881, 27 years after N&S was published, the first state Education Act was passed, which required all children between the ages of 8-13 to attend school, although there was much truancy amongst poor children, whose parents needed their earnings. Mr Hale, being a clergyman, would have had a good education in the classics and would of course favour this above the need to educate workers for more practical occupations. This is a debate which still rages today in the UK where we now have very few schools, even the old grammar schools such as the one I attended, which teach Latin and/or Greek, or the classics:smileysad:

Thornton's remarks about republicanism and despotism are interesting here. 'Benevolent despotism' was favoured because Britain had had benign monarchs since the Hanoverian succession (1702). (Although Americans may not find the reign of George III benign, the British did:smileyhappy:.) However, in the Victorian era and pursuant upon the French Revolution, republicanism was in the air. When Prince Albert died and Queen Victoria shut herself away for a long period, it became quite the vogue and there were quite a few demonstrations and newspaper articles about it. Many felt that since these monarchs could only 'rule' through Parliament, that Britain might as well be a republic. Mr Thornton, with his autocratic views towards his workers, clearly believed in benevolent despotism - the problem being with that theory is that, whether it appertains to non-constitutional hereditary monarchy or factory owners, benevolent rulers can die and despots can inherit. Britain at this time was, of course, a limited democracy, because only one man in seven, and no women, had the right to vote. Various Reform Acts increased the franchise until in 1918 men over 30 could vote and in 1928 women over the age of 21 could vote. (Unitarians like Mrs Gaskell, with their controversial belief in the equality of women, had been very prominent is agitating for the female vote.)



pmath wrote:
We're planning to discuss Thomas More's Utopia here soon: what do you make of John's thoughts on some of the classics, looking back? From Chapter X:

'But you have had the rudiments of a good education,' remarked Mr. Hale. 'The quick zest with which you are now reading Homer, shows me that you do not come to it as an unknown book; you have read it before, and are only recalling your old knowledge.'

'That is true,--I had blundered along it at school; I dare say, I was even considered a pretty fair classic in those days, though my Latin and Greek have slipt away from me since. But I ask you, what preparation they were for such a life as I had to lead? None at all. Utterly none at all. On the point of education, any man who can read and write starts fair with me in the amount of really useful knowledge that I had at that time.'

'Well! I don't agree with you. But there I am perhaps somewhat of a pedant. Did not the recollection of the heroic simplicity of the Homeric life nerve you up?'

'Not one bit!' exclaimed Mr. Thornton, laughing. 'I was too busy to think about any dead people, with the living pressing alongside of me, neck to neck, in the struggle for bread. Now that I have my mother safe in the quiet peace that becomes her age, and duly rewards her former exertions, I can turn to all that old narration and thoroughly enjoy it.'

'I dare say, my remark came from the professional feeling of there being nothing like leather,' replied Mr. Hale.
and from Chapter XV:

'My theory is, that my interests are identical with those of my workpeople and vice-versa. Miss Hale, I know, does not like to hear men called 'hands,' so I won't use that word, though it comes most readily to my lips as the technical term, whose origin, whatever it was, dates before my time. On some future day--in some millennium--in Utopia, this unity may be brought into practice--just as I can fancy a republic the most perfect form of government.'

'We will read Plato's Republic as soon as we have finished Homer.'

'Well, in the Platonic year, it may fall out that we are all--men women, and children--fit for a republic: but give me a constitutional monarchy in our present state of morals and intelligence. In our infancy we require a wise despotism to govern us. Indeed, long past infancy, children and young people are the happiest under the unfailing laws of a discreet, firm authority. I agree with Miss Hale so far as to consider our people in the condition of children, while I deny that we, the masters, have anything to do with the making or keeping them so. I maintain that despotism is the best kind of government for them; so that in the hours in which I come in contact with them I must necessarily be an autocrat. I will use my best discretion--from no humbug or philanthropic feeling, of which we have had rather too much in the North--to make wise laws and come to just decisions in the conduct of my business--laws and decisions which work for my own good in the first instance--for theirs in the second; but I will neither be forced to give my reasons, nor flinch from what I have once declared to be my resolution. Let them turn out! I shall suffer as well as they: but at the end they will find I have not bated nor altered one jot.'

Message Edited by pmath on 01-26-200709:15 PM




Inspired Contributor
Choisya
Posts: 10,782
Registered: ‎10-26-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Through Ch. LII (Vol. II, Ch. XXVII): Shawls, Revisited

There are numerous references in N&S about Margaret's accomplishments and education and I believe that Gaskell is making the case for women's education here. Mary Wollstonecraft, another Unitarian, had pioneered education for women by starting a school herself in 1784 but the idea had still not found much favour in Gaskell's time. By showing Margaret as such a 'sensible and balanced person', able to be feminine whilst 'playing with shawls' and yet able to read and teach others, Gaskell is, IMO, telling her Victorian readers that all women could not only do all these things but that society would be the better for it. What a lot we women here, and our societies, owe to women like Wollstonecraft and Gaskell!

This ending is the controversial one, not published in the serial version, wherein Gaskell puts more emphasis on Margaret's personality and accomplishments. It was clearly something she felt strongly about and was one of the sources of her quarrels with Dickens.



pmath wrote:
From http://www.victorianweb.org/authors/gaskell/sacerdoti1.html:

...Gaskell shows how Margaret Hale in North and South ends up having a lot more to her personality and character than the "ladies' business" Henry Lennox speaks of in the opening chapter. Yet this does not stop her taking part in the "playing with shawls" that the ladies in the Harley Street gathering seem to enjoy. As a sensible and balanced person she is quite able to do both, playing the part of a lady when she is in London, and playing the part of a responsible decision maker when she is back with her parents in Helstone, or in a dispute between the workers and their master in Milton. ... It is after all Margaret Hale who bridges the key rifts in the novel, such as that between North and South, and that between the workers and their master, and ultimately, that between her and John Thornton.



Inspired Contributor
Choisya
Posts: 10,782
Registered: ‎10-26-2006
0 Kudos

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

Great observation Danielle!




chadadanielleKR wrote:
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'!


Since Bessy is very sick and since she knows some part of the bible very well, her dream is like a premonition about her imminent death. Margaret acts as the angel which will give her strengh to face her destiny. Margaret is also an early vision of the paradise where the innocent Bessy is supposed to go.


Frequent Contributor
Posts: 1,101
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

From Ch. LII (Vol. II, Ch. XXVII), looking back: Plato's REPUBLIC

Thanks, Choisya, as always, for enlightening us further! I also found this, at http://www.victorianweb.org/authors/gaskell/friedman5.html:

Thornton's reference to Plato's Republic is interesting because Plato believed that in order for man to be happy, he has to balance three parts of his soul: the appetite, the rational, and the spirit. Does Gaskell believe that man can only be happy when he is happy at work? Or is she trying to tell us that Thornton cannot satisfy the rest of his soul due to his constraints at work?

Choisya wrote:
This was the period just before universal education and only those who could afford an education got one and that was mainly in the classics at 'grammar schools'. ... In the late Victorian era businessmen, like Mr Thornton, began agitating for state education because they realised that modern industry required people who could read, write and understand arithmetic. ... Mr Hale, being a clergyman, would have had a good education in the classics and would of course favour this above the need to educate workers for more practical occupations. This is a debate which still rages today in the UK where we now have very few schools, even the old grammar schools such as the one I attended, which teach Latin and/or Greek.

Thornton's remarks about republicanism and despotism are interesting here. ... Mr Thornton, with his autocratic views towards his workers, clearly believed in benevolent despotism - the problem being with that theory is that, whether it appertains to non-constitutional hereditary monarchy or factory owners, benevolent rulers can die and despots can inherit.
Inspired Contributor
Choisya
Posts: 10,782
Registered: ‎10-26-2006
0 Kudos

Re: From Ch. LII (Vol. II, Ch. XXVII), looking back: Plato's REPUBLIC

Unitarians like Gaskell were much preoccupied with Plato and 'utopian' concerns. I wonder if Laurel, as a fellow Dissenter, could throw any light on this? (Incidentally my knowledge of the Unitarians stems from an involvement my eldest daughter had years ago with a Unitarian Minister. She is a strong feminist and helped him rewrite their local church's hymn book, by taking out all the masculine references to God:smileysurprised: We spent many a happy hour together at the piano, matching her changed lyrics to the music.)




pmath wrote:
Thanks, Choisya, as always, for enlightening us further! I also found this, at http://www.victorianweb.org/authors/gaskell/friedman5.html:

Thornton's reference to Plato's Republic is interesting because Plato believed that in order for man to be happy, he has to balance three parts of his soul: the appetite, the rational, and the spirit. Does Gaskell believe that man can only be happy when he is happy at work? Or is she trying to tell us that Thornton cannot satisfy the rest of his soul due to his constraints at work?

Choisya wrote:
This was the period just before universal education and only those who could afford an education got one and that was mainly in the classics at 'grammar schools'. ... In the late Victorian era businessmen, like Mr Thornton, began agitating for state education because they realised that modern industry required people who could read, write and understand arithmetic. ... Mr Hale, being a clergyman, would have had a good education in the classics and would of course favour this above the need to educate workers for more practical occupations. This is a debate which still rages today in the UK where we now have very few schools, even the old grammar schools such as the one I attended, which teach Latin and/or Greek.

Thornton's remarks about republicanism and despotism are interesting here. ... Mr Thornton, with his autocratic views towards his workers, clearly believed in benevolent despotism - the problem being with that theory is that, whether it appertains to non-constitutional hereditary monarchy or factory owners, benevolent rulers can die and despots can inherit.



Frequent Contributor
Posts: 1,101
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

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

[ Edited ]
Perhaps it also means Margaret is an angel to many, as we see from one of the quotes I posted from The Victorian Web:


pmath wrote (here):
From http://www.victorianweb.org/authors/gaskell/sacerdoti1.html:
... It is after all Margaret Hale who bridges the key rifts in the novel, such as that between North and South, and that between the workers and their master, and ultimately, that between her and John Thornton.

Choisya wrote:
Great observation Danielle!

chadadanielleKR wrote:
Since Bessy is very sick and since she knows some part of the bible very well, her dream is like a premonition about her imminent death. Margaret acts as the angel which will give her strengh to face her destiny. Margaret is also an early vision of the paradise where the innocent Bessy is supposed to go.

pmath wrote:
Bessy's [dream] (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'!

Message Edited by pmath on 01-29-200709:10 AM

Inspired Contributor
Choisya
Posts: 10,782
Registered: ‎10-26-2006
0 Kudos

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

[ Edited ]
Yes, that too makes a lot of sense pmath. Not an 'Angel on the Hearth' either, as in many Victorian novels but an all round, general purpose angel if there is such a thing:smileyhappy:




pmath wrote:
Perhaps it also means Margaret is an angel to many, as we see from one of the quotes I posted from The Victorian Web:


pmath wrote (here):
From http://www.victorianweb.org/authors/gaskell/sacerdoti1.html:
... It is after all Margaret Hale who bridges the key rifts in the novel, such as that between North and South, and that between the workers and their master, and ultimately, that between her and John Thornton.

Choisya wrote:
Great observation Danielle!

chadadanielleKR wrote:
Since Bessy is very sick and since she knows some part of the bible very well, her dream is like a premonition about her imminent death. Margaret acts as the angel which will give her strengh to face her destiny. Margaret is also an early vision of the paradise where the innocent Bessy is supposed to go.

pmath wrote:
Bessy's [dream] (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'!


Message Edited by Choisya on 01-29-200709:22 AM

Message Edited by Choisya on 01-29-200710:34 AM

Frequent Contributor
Posts: 1,101
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

BBC Adaptation of N&S: Mrs. Thornton

[ Edited ]
http://video.barnesandnoble.com/search/product.asp?EAN=794051245328

I listened to the commentary on Episodes 1 and 4, and watched the whole thing again. The most impressive performance IMO was Sinéad Cusack's: Mrs. Thornton is certainly an interesting character.

Message Edited by pmath on 01-28-200711:30 PM

Inspired Contributor
Choisya
Posts: 10,782
Registered: ‎10-26-2006
0 Kudos

Re: BBC Adaptation of N&S: Mrs. Thornton

Yes, Mrs Thornton was probably worth more discussion than we gave her. Gaskell describes her as 'strong and massive...severe, dignified' and very protective of her son. There is some Oedipal conflict there I think. She also represents the old fashioned values of Victorian England which challenge Margaret's modernity. (They were saying over here that Richard Armitage was the new Colin Firth:smileyhappy:)




pmath wrote:
http://video.barnesandnoble.com/search/product.asp?EAN=794051245328

I listened to the commentary on Episodes 1 and 4, and watched the whole thing again. The most impressive performance IMO was Sinéad Cusack's: Mrs. Thornton is certainly an interesting character.

Message Edited by pmath on 01-28-200711:30 PM




Frequent Contributor
Posts: 1,101
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Through Chapter LII (Vol. II, Ch. XXVII): Margaret's Strength

More from http://www.victorianweb.org/authors/gaskell/sacerdoti1.html:

... Margaret shows a great deal of bravery when she puts her respectable reputation in danger twice, in order to protect a higher ideal: first by flinging herself at Thornton in the riot scene; and second in lying and letting Thornton believe that she was loitering at the station with a man in order to protect her brother. ... What saves the day, so to speak, is a character who is strong in Christian values, and applies sensible, possibly feminine or domestic policies to the social problems of the period.

Choisya wrote:
Yes, that too makes a lot of sense pmath. Not an 'Angel on the Hearth' either, as in many Victorian novels but an all round, general purpose angel if there is such a thing:smileyhappy:

pmath wrote:
Perhaps it also means Margaret is an angel to many, as we see from one of the quotes I posted from The Victorian Web:


pmath wrote (here):
From http://www.victorianweb.org/authors/gaskell/sacerdoti1.html:
... It is after all Margaret Hale who bridges the key rifts in the novel, such as that between North and South, and that between the workers and their master, and ultimately, that between her and John Thornton.

Choisya wrote:
Great observation Danielle!

chadadanielleKR wrote:
Since Bessy is very sick and since she knows some part of the bible very well, her dream is like a premonition about her imminent death. Margaret acts as the angel which will give her strengh to face her destiny. Margaret is also an early vision of the paradise where the innocent Bessy is supposed to go.

pmath wrote:
Bessy's [dream] (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'!
Frequent Contributor
Posts: 1,101
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

BBC Adaptation of N&S: RA's portrayal of JT (possible spoiler)

I wonder why, considering our earlier discussion, which I've quoted below. However, CF's portrayal of Mr. Darcy in BBC's 1995 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice probably wasn't exactly what Jane Austen had in mind, either!


Choisya wrote:
(They were saying over here that Richard Armitage was the new Colin Firth:smileyhappy:)

pmath wrote (here):
No, that mill scene definitely wasn't in EG's novel: that wasn't the John Thornton we know and love!


LizzieAnn wrote:
They were interesting to watch, even though I don't recall the beating scene, and there's the addition of the Great Exhibition scene.

Choisya wrote:
I thought folks might like to see some of the video clips of the recent BBC production of North & South:-

http://www.bbc.co.uk/drama/northandsouth/episode1.shtml
Inspired Contributor
Choisya
Posts: 10,782
Registered: ‎10-26-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Through Chapter LII (Vol. II, Ch. XXVII): Margaret's Strength & Good Works

[ Edited ]
In short, just the sort of woman Mrs Gaskell was trying to promote and one that was very much like her self:smileyhappy: From a web article by Maryell Cleary & Peter Hughes:-

'Gaskell avoided many of the traditional duties and roles of a Minister's wife. She nevertheless taught at a Unitarian charity Sunday School, visiting the homes of her pupils and thus learning about life among the poor. During the 'hungry forties' she did relief work, visiting prisoners and helping to feed Manchester's hungry.'

William Greg, a fellow Unitarian, in a critical review of Mary Barton, wrote: 'She has evidently lived much among the people she describes, made herself intimate at their firesides [and] her sympathy for the working class was too exclusive and discriminating.' He also felt that Gaskell disregarded the efforts that employers made to respond to their worker's suffering and to ameliorate their living conditions. Although many of the mill owners in her husband's congregation were upset by Mary Barton, he never asked his wife to temper her criticisms or to apologise.

Do folks think that Gaskell tried to paint a better picture of mill owners in North & South?

Gaskell would, of course, have been familiar with the pioneering work of Robert Owen who built a model community for housing factory workers (in the US too):-

http://www.cottontimes.co.uk/oweno.htm

And in 1897 Cadbury and Bournville, the Quaker chocolate magnates, also built model villages based upon Owen's ideas. Bournville is in existence today.

http://www.cadbury.co.uk/EN/CTB2003/about_chocolate/history_cadbury/social_pioneers/factory_garden.h...


ckquote>
pmath wrote:
More from http://www.victorianweb.org/authors/gaskell/sacerdoti1.html:

... Margaret shows a great deal of bravery when she puts her respectable reputation in danger twice, in order to protect a higher ideal: first by flinging herself at Thornton in the riot scene; and second in lying and letting Thornton believe that she was loitering at the station with a man in order to protect her brother. ... What saves the day, so to speak, is a character who is strong in Christian values, and applies sensible, possibly feminine or domestic policies to the social problems of the period.

Choisya wrote:
Yes, that too makes a lot of sense pmath. Not an 'Angel on the Hearth' either, as in many Victorian novels but an all round, general purpose angel if there is such a thing:smileyhappy:

pmath wrote:
Perhaps it also means Margaret is an angel to many, as we see from one of the quotes I posted from The Victorian Web:


pmath wrote (here):
From http://www.victorianweb.org/authors/gaskell/sacerdoti1.html:
... It is after all Margaret Hale who bridges the key rifts in the novel, such as that between North and South, and that between the workers and their master, and ultimately, that between her and John Thornton.

Choisya wrote:
Great observation Danielle!

chadadanielleKR wrote:
Since Bessy is very sick and since she knows some part of the bible very well, her dream is like a premonition about her imminent death. Margaret acts as the angel which will give her strengh to face her destiny. Margaret is also an early vision of the paradise where the innocent Bessy is supposed to go.

pmath wrote:
Bessy's [dream] (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'!


Message Edited by Choisya on 01-29-200711:10 AM

Inspired Contributor
Choisya
Posts: 10,782
Registered: ‎10-26-2006
0 Kudos

Re: BBC Adaptation of N&S: RA's portrayal of JT (possible spoiler)

I liked Armitage better because he wasn't as good looking as Firth - I like the rugged type:smileyvery-happy:




pmath wrote:
I wonder why, considering our earlier discussion, which I've quoted below. However, CF's portrayal of Mr. Darcy in BBC's 1995 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice probably wasn't exactly what Jane Austen had in mind, either!


Choisya wrote:
(They were saying over here that Richard Armitage was the new Colin Firth:smileyhappy:)

pmath wrote (here):
No, that mill scene definitely wasn't in EG's novel: that wasn't the John Thornton we know and love!


LizzieAnn wrote:
They were interesting to watch, even though I don't recall the beating scene, and there's the addition of the Great Exhibition scene.

Choisya wrote:
I thought folks might like to see some of the video clips of the recent BBC production of North & South:-

http://www.bbc.co.uk/drama/northandsouth/episode1.shtml



Frequent Contributor
Posts: 1,101
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Through Chapter LII (Vol. II, Ch. XXVII): "consideration and kindess"

Yes, as I noted here, N&S is definitely more balanced than MB, IMO, and also, as I noted here, more upbeat.

Thanks for the links, Choisya. This quote is from the first:

Owen knew from instinct and experience that workers responded more positively to consideration and kindess than to cruelty, and now he began to put into practice his reforming ideas.

Choisya wrote:
William Greg, a fellow Unitarian, in a critical review of Mary Barton, wrote: 'She has evidently lived much among the people she describes, made herself intimate at their firesides [and] her sympathy for the working class was too exclusive and discriminating.' He also felt that Gaskell disregarded the efforts that employers made to respond to their worker's suffering and to ameliorate their living conditions. Although many of the mill owners in her husband's congregation were upset by Mary Barton, he never asked his wife to temper her criticisms or to apologise.

Do folks think that Gaskell tried to paint a better picture of mill owners in North & South?

Gaskell would, of course, have been familiar with the pioneering work of Robert Owen who built a model community for housing factory workers (in the US too):-

http://www.cottontimes.co.uk/oweno.htm

And in 1897 Cadbury and Bournville, the Quaker chocolate magnates, also built model villages based upon Owen's ideas. Bournville is in existence today.

http://www.cadbury.co.uk/EN/CTB2003/about_chocolate/history_cadbury/social_pioneers/factory_garden.h...
Frequent Contributor
Posts: 1,101
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

N&S Discussion: Wrap-Up

Does anyone have any final thoughts they'd like to share, as we wrap up our discussion of N&S this week? For example:

  • Which is your favorite passage, and who is your favorite character?

  • Is N&S on your list of favorite novels, and if so, where?

  • Do you plan to read it again, or look further into the literary works EG alludes to in N&S?

  • If you haven't already watched the BBC adaptation, do you plan to?

  • Do you plan to read any other works by EG, or a biography of EG?
Inspired Contributor
Choisya
Posts: 10,782
Registered: ‎10-26-2006
0 Kudos

Re: N&S Discussion: Wrap-Up

I am sorry that we didn't read Mary Barton first and then go on to this one because I feel they are part of the whole, but another time perhaps. Margaret is my favourite character because her Bildungsroman was so great and encompassed so much. I can never do favourite passages because there are so many in any good novel.



pmath wrote:
Does anyone have any final thoughts they'd like to share, as we wrap up our discussion of N&S this week? For example:

  • Which is your favorite passage, and who is your favorite character?

  • Is N&S on your list of favorite novels, and if so, where?

  • Do you plan to read it again, or look further into the literary works EG alludes to in N&S?

  • If you haven't already watched the BBC adaptation, do you plan to?

  • Do you plan to read any other works by EG, or a biography of EG?



Frequent Contributor
LizzieAnn
Posts: 2,344
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: N&S Discussion: Wrap-Up

John is definitely my favorite character, and, in fact, has been since I first "met" him. It struck me as been fair, upright, noble, hardworking, compassionate, kind, dignified, and secure. A person who knows who he is and makes no excuses.

Among my favorite passages are:

“How was it that he haunted her imagination so persistently. … Why did she care for what he thought, in spite of all her pride; in spite of herself? … - why did she tremble, and hider her face in the pillow? What strong feeling had overtaken her at last?” [page 278 – Chapter 35 – Expiation]

and

“But I did not know then. It has come upon me a little by little, and I don’t know where it began.” [page 315 – Chapter 39 – Making Friends]
These passages illustrate Margaret's falling in love with John

And

“Oh, Margaret, Margaret! Mother, how you have tortured me! Oh! Margaret, could you not have loved me? I am but uncouth and hard, but I would never have led you into any falsehood for me..” [page 307 – Chapter 37 – Promises Fulfilled]
This passage shows the depth of John's emotion.

North & South was a very good novel that I will probably re-read sometime, even though it's not one of my favorite novels. I'd like to give Wives and Daughters a try sometime in the future. I viewed the BBC excerpts online, but I would not watch it. The scene they added of John beating a worker totally changed his character and turned me off.




pmath wrote:
Does anyone have any final thoughts they'd like to share, as we wrap up our discussion of N&S this week? For example:

  • Which is your favorite passage, and who is your favorite character?

  • Is N&S on your list of favorite novels, and if so, where?

  • Do you plan to read it again, or look further into the literary works EG alludes to in N&S?

  • If you haven't already watched the BBC adaptation, do you plan to?

  • Do you plan to read any other works by EG, or a biography of EG?


Liz ♥ ♥


Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested. ~ Francis Bacon
Inspired Contributor
Choisya
Posts: 10,782
Registered: ‎10-26-2006
0 Kudos

Re: N&S Discussion: Wrap-Up

There were a lot of complaints to the BBC about that beating scene. Goodness knows why they included it except that the producer might have concluded that as it was known that factory owners did beat their workers, it was worth adding it to the story. It also fed the modern public's taste for violence:smileysad::smileysad:



LizzieAnn wrote:
John is definitely my favorite character, and, in fact, has been since I first "met" him. It struck me as been fair, upright, noble, hardworking, compassionate, kind, dignified, and secure. A person who knows who he is and makes no excuses.

Among my favorite passages are:

“How was it that he haunted her imagination so persistently. … Why did she care for what he thought, in spite of all her pride; in spite of herself? … - why did she tremble, and hider her face in the pillow? What strong feeling had overtaken her at last?” [page 278 – Chapter 35 – Expiation]

and

“But I did not know then. It has come upon me a little by little, and I don’t know where it began.” [page 315 – Chapter 39 – Making Friends]
These passages illustrate Margaret's falling in love with John

And

“Oh, Margaret, Margaret! Mother, how you have tortured me! Oh! Margaret, could you not have loved me? I am but uncouth and hard, but I would never have led you into any falsehood for me..” [page 307 – Chapter 37 – Promises Fulfilled]
This passage shows the depth of John's emotion.

North & South was a very good novel that I will probably re-read sometime, even though it's not one of my favorite novels. I'd like to give Wives and Daughters a try sometime in the future. I viewed the BBC excerpts online, but I would not watch it. The scene they added of John beating a worker totally changed his character and turned me off.




pmath wrote:
Does anyone have any final thoughts they'd like to share, as we wrap up our discussion of N&S this week? For example:

  • Which is your favorite passage, and who is your favorite character?

  • Is N&S on your list of favorite novels, and if so, where?

  • Do you plan to read it again, or look further into the literary works EG alludes to in N&S?

  • If you haven't already watched the BBC adaptation, do you plan to?

  • Do you plan to read any other works by EG, or a biography of EG?





Frequent Contributor
Posts: 1,101
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

More on JT in the BBC Adaptation of N&S (possible spoiler)

I gathered from the DVD commentary that the intent was to give MH a reason to dislike JT: as Liz noted, he's almost perfect from the very start of N&S.


Choisya wrote:
There were a lot of complaints to the BBC about that beating scene. Goodness knows why they included it ... .

LizzieAnn wrote:
John is definitely my favorite character, and, in fact, has been since I first "met" him. It struck me as been fair, upright, noble, hardworking, compassionate, kind, dignified, and secure. A person who knows who he is and makes no excuses.

...

... I viewed the BBC excerpts online, but I would not watch it. The scene they added of John beating a worker totally changed his character and turned me off.
Inspired Contributor
Choisya
Posts: 10,782
Registered: ‎10-26-2006
0 Kudos

Re: More on JT in the BBC Adaptation of N&S (possible spoiler)

[ Edited ]
...he's almost perfect from the very start of N&S.

Isn't that a rather romantic perception of Mr Thornton? I think Gaskell includes some quite harsh comments about his character. His attitudes towards his workmen (before Margaret 'reformed' him) weren't very good, for instance. From The Victorian Web:-

'The antagonism growing between workmen the master stems from the stubborn unwillingness of both sides to communicate. Because each side is ignorant of the motives and opinions of the other, their hatred and bitterness grow to a pitch. The factory owner Thornton, in Chapter 15 of North and South, when questioned "why could you not explain what good reason you have for expecting a bad trade [and thus having to lower the already low wages of the workmen]?", answers simply that "Do you give your servants reasons for your expenditure, or your economy in the use of your own money? We, the owners of capital, have a right to choose what we will do with it. . . I will not be forced to give my reasons". Even though he in this way advocates the ignorance of the workmen, it is precisely this ignorance that embitters him; an exasperated Thornton says of the workmen, "and these were the men who thought themselves fitted to direct the masters in the disposal of their capital!".

Through Margaret and Mr Hale he learned to communicate with his men. Mr Hale said:

'"I wish some of the kindest and wisest of masters would meet some of your [work]men and have a good talk on these things; It would, surely, be the best way of getting over your difficulties". Only in this way can the ignorance barriers fall to promote a healthy relationship.'

'A year after Gaskell's novel, Victorian England stumbled upon the discovery that only communication would alleviate the mounting friction between master and workman. By creating a tribunal with representatives from both the workmen and the masters, ignorant opinions and unfounded anger would subside, and the two classes would live in harmony, as they did in North and South.'


This was a period when many Trade Unions were formed and Royal Commissions into working conditions were instituted by Parliament. This early form of 'industrial relations', as we call it now, made a lot of difference to the working conditions of British people and many of those improvements are still in place today - shorter working hours, statutory holidays, statutory sick pay, compensation for industrial injuries etc. Unitarians and other Dissenters like Mr Hale (and Mr & Mrs Gaskell) were at the forefront of such improvements and some 'Mr Thornton's' at last began to follow the example of Robert Owen (and the urging of their 'Margaret's'.:smileyhappy:).



pmath wrote:
I gathered from the DVD commentary that the intent was to give MH a reason to dislike JT: as Liz noted, he's almost perfect from the very start of N&S.

Choisya wrote:
There were a lot of complaints to the BBC about that beating scene. Goodness knows why they included it ... .

LizzieAnn wrote:
John is definitely my favorite character, and, in fact, has been since I first "met" him. It struck me as been fair, upright, noble, hardworking, compassionate, kind, dignified, and secure. A person who knows who he is and makes no excuses.... I viewed the BBC excerpts online, but I would not watch it. The scene they added of John beating a worker totally changed his character and turned me off.

Message Edited by Choisya on 01-29-200706:44 PM

Message Edited by Choisya on 01-29-200706:46 PM

Top Kudoed Authors
User Kudos Count
1
1
Users Online
Currently online: 4 members 230 guests
Please welcome our newest community members: