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LizzieAnn
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Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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North & South - Chapters XXVI - XXX

Poor John has been bitterly hurt & disappointed by Margaret’s rejection. This just intensifies Mrs. Thornton’s dislike – her hatred of Margaret. It’s also obvious that such personal talk doesn’t happen frequently, as shown by the last sentence of the chapter: “Their voices & tones were calm and cold; a stranger might have gone away & thought that he had never seen such frigid indifference of demeanour between such near relations.

So much occurs: John throws himself into his work and resolves to put Margaret out of his mind. Even visiting Mrs. Hale, he just ignores Margaret. Bessy Higgins dies, and Margaret tries to comfort Nicholas. The Hales worry about Frederick’s arrival. A letter from Edith arrives – this only serves to accentuate both the differences in their lives now and the changes that Margaret is undergoing.

“Margaret did long for a day of Edith’s life – her freedom from care, her cheerful home, her sunny skies. If a wish could have transported her, she would have gone off; just for one day. She yearned for the strength which such a change would give, – even for a few hours to be in the midst of that bright life, and to feel young again. Not yet twenty! And she had had to bear up against such hard pressure that she felt quite old.” [page 232 – Chapter 29 – A Ray of Sunshine]

Further changes are illustrated later when Mrs. Hale chastises Margaret for her use of slang: “But, Margaret, don’t get to use these horrid Milton words. ‘Slack of work:’ it is a provincialism. What will your aunt Shaw say, if she hears you use it on your return?”…”But yours if factory slang.” [page 233 – Chapter 29 – A Ray of Sunshine]

Margaret also seems to be very concerned about John. When she says something about the slang that he misconstrues, she goes tries to explain. “Margaret suddenly felt how her speech might be misunderstood by him; so, in the natural sweet desire to avoid giving unnecessary pain, she forced herself to go forwards…” and “It was unusual with Margaret to obtrude her own subject of conversation on others; but, in this case, she was so anxious to prevent Mr. Thornton from feeling annoyance…” [page 234 – Chapter 29 – A Ray of Sunshine] Subconsciously, Margaret’s feelings about John have been undergoing a change. He, however, is still avoiding her; his pride is carrying him.

At the request of John, Mrs. Thornton visits Mrs. Hale and finally believes how ill she really is. Mrs. Hale asks her to be there for Margaret after her death. Mrs. Thornton agrees, to some extent and without compromising her own feelings. “I will be a true friend, if circumstances require it. Not a tender friend. That I cannot be, - ….” And “Mrs. Thornton was to conscientious to promise what she did not mean to perform; and to perform anything in the way of kindness on behalf of Margaret, more disliked at this moment than ever, was difficult; almost impossible.” [page 237 – Chapter 30 – Home at Last]

Finally, Frederick arrives. Everyone is happy that he is there, especially Margaret. He helps her, understands her, and comforts her. “She knew then how much responsibility she had to bear, from the exquisite sensation of relief which she felt in Frederick’s presence.” [page 243 – Chapter 30 – Home at Last] They also bond and become close during this time. They all rely on each other and are there for each other as Mrs. Hale dies.
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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