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LizzieAnn
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North & South - Chapters XXXVI - XXXVII

Boucher’s behavior has caused Nicholas exasperation; yet, when he learns that Boucher is dead, he takes it badly. Mrs. Boucher’s neighbors and the Hales gather round to help her and all her children.

Margaret’s thoughts continue to turn toward John as she tries to understand her feelings for him.

“Then came the thought of Mr. Thornton’s cognizance of her falsehood. She wondered if she should have minded detection half so much from any one else. …” and “…the shrinking shame she felt at the thought of meeting Mr. Thornton again. And yet she long to see him, to get it over; to understand where she stood his opinion.” [pages 295-6 – Chapter 36 – Looking South]

She realizes how much she does value his good opinion, and she repines at losing it.

She wants very much to see him, even though it’s obvious he’s been avoiding her.

“Her heart leaped up in apprehension at every ring of the door-bell; and yet when it feel down to calmness, she felt strangely saddened and sick at heart at each disappointment.” [page 296 – Chapter 36 – Looking South]

She’s missing John, more than she had ever thought possible.

When Nicholas comes to the Hales saying he wants to go south to find work, Margaret talks him out of it by stating and stresses all the evils of living and working in the south. She, who before, held the south up as an epitome; but, now she realistically & honestly realizes that there is good & bad no matter where you are….that there is no “perfect place.” This confirms the transformation that has been going on in Margaret and how she’s adapted to her new home & life.

The Hales also learn that Nicholas has been helping the Bouchers and that he’d been rejected for work at Marlborough Mills, though not by Mr. Thornton. Margaret urges him to return there and speak to Mr. Thornton himself. Nicholas thinks on it, refusing Mr. Hale’s assistance. Mr. Hale also has noticed the change in Margaret’s opinion of John:

“’You are getting to do Mr. Thornton justice at last, Margaret,’ said her father, pinching her ear.”

“Margaret had a strange coking at her heart, which made her unable to answer. ‘Oh!’ thought she, ‘I wish I were a man, that I could go and force him to express his disapprobation, and tell him honestly that I knew I deserved it. It seems hard to lose him as a friend just when I had begun to feel his value…I wish he would come, and then at lest I should know how much I was abased in his eyes.’”
[page 302 – Chapter 36 – Looking South]



More and more Margaret is admitting to herself her feelings for John, although not completely honestly. Whereas before she looked down at him contemptuously, she now only wants his approbation. He is becoming more and more important to her.
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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Choisya
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Re: North & South - Chapters XXXVI - XXXVII : Town v. Country

[ Edited ]
Lizzie Ann wrote:-
'...‘Oh!’ thought she, ‘I wish I were a man, that I could go and force him to express his disapprobation, and tell him honestly that I knew I deserved it. It seems hard to lose him as a friend just when I had begun to feel his value…I wish he would come, and then at lest I should know how much I was abased in his eyes.’” [page 302 – Chapter 36 – Looking South]

More and more Margaret is admitting to herself her feelings for John, although not completely honestly. Whereas before she looked down at him contemptuously, she now only wants his approbation. He is becoming more and more important to her....'



In the preceding Chapter (37) Margaret first defends country life to her father, after they have visited Mrs Boucher, following her husband's suicide:

'It is the town life,' said she. 'Their nerves are quickened by the haste and bustle and speed of everything around them, to say nothing of the confinement in these pent-up houses, which of itself is enough to induce depression and worry of spirits. Now in the country, people live so much more out of doors, even children, and even in the winter...'

Her father replies: 'But people must live in towns. And in the country some get such stagnant habits of mind that they are almost fatalists.'

'Yes; I acknowledge that. I suppose each mode of life produces its own trials and its own temptations. The dweller in towns must find it as difficult to be patient and calm, as the country-bred man must find it to be active, and equal to unwonted emergencies....'

Later on in the chapter Nicholas Higgins comes to visit them to ask if Mr Hale can arrange for him to get work and a home in Helston and he says:

'Miss there has often talked grand o' the South, and the ways down there. Now I dunnot know how far off it is, but I've been thinking if I could get 'em down theer, where food is cheap and wages good, and all the folk, rich and poor, master and man, friendly like; yo' could, may be, help me to work. I'm not forty-five, and I've a deal o' strength in me, measter.'

Mr Hale asks: 'But what kind of work could you do, my man?' and Nicholas replies 'Well, I reckon I could spade a bit----'

But this time Margaret does not defend the South and says

'..for anything you could do, Higgins, with the best will in the world, you would, may be, get nine shillings a week; may be ten, at the outside. Food is much the same as here, except that you might have a little garden----You must not go to the South.. for all that. You could not stand it. You would have to be out all weathers. It would kill you with rheumatism... you've reckoned on having butcher's meat once a day, if you're in work; pay for that out of your ten shillings, and keep those poor children if you can. I owe it to you--since it's my way of talking that has set you off on this idea--to put it all clear before you. You would not bear the dulness of the life; you don't know what it is; it would eat you away like rust. Those that have lived there all their lives, are used to soaking in the stagnant waters. They labour on, from day to day, in the great solitude of steaming fields--never speaking or lifting up their poor, bent, downcast heads. The hard spade-work robs their brain of life; the sameness of their toil deadens their imagination; they don't care to meet to talk over thoughts and speculations, even of the weakest, wildest kind, after their work is done; they go home brutishly tired, poor creatures!...You could not stir them up into any companionship, which you get in a town as plentiful as the air you breathe...

This is a complete volte farce on Margaret's part and part of her personal Bildungsroman. From being a spoilt genteel young woman from the South of England, unaware of the problems of poverty and labour, she has come to realise that both places have similar people with similar problems. However, she now also realises that Milton, where people 'meet to talk over thoughts and speculations, even of the weakest, wildest kind', suits her new enlightened self the better. This is part of her anagnorisis which leads her on to a greater appreciation of Mr Thornton and the possibility that he might be a partner with whom she could 'talk over thoughts and speculations after their work is done'.

Dickens chose the title for North & South Book because he saw and agreed with the great contrasts which Mrs Gaskell was making between the two areas of the country. Between gentle and rough countryside, between genteel women and working women, between the rich and poor, between country gentlemen and factory owners. Mrs Gaskell went on (against Dickens' wishes), at the end of the book, to bring out more of Margaret's character and personal psychological development, making her into an independent un-Victorian young woman (as Gaskell herself had been). However, it is clear that the contrasts which Dickens saw still underpin the novel, for without all these differences impinging upon her psyche Margaret could not have successfully completed her journey and would have remained one of those women who remained 'soaking in the stagnant waters'.

Message Edited by Choisya on 01-23-200705:59 AM

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LizzieAnn
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North & South

Before reading the book, I thought the title was a bit odd. Another book with the same title that I read years ago came to fore. But after reading it, I can understand it.
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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NORTH AND SOUTH, through Chapter XXXVII: Personal and Industrial

So, do you think personal problems are also industrial problems?


Choisya wrote:
Dickens chose the title for North & South Book because he saw and agreed with the great contrasts which Mrs Gaskell was making between the two areas of the country. Between gentle and rough countryside, between genteel women and working women, between the rich and poor, between country gentlemen and factory owners. Mrs Gaskell went on (against Dickens' wishes), at the end of the book, to bring out more of Margaret's character and personal psychological development, making her into an independent un-Victorian young woman (as Gaskell herself had been). However, it is clear that the contrasts which Dickens saw still underpin the novel, for without all these differences impinging upon her psyche Margaret could not have successfully completed her journey and would have remained one of those women who remained 'soaking in the stagnant waters'.
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Choisya
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Re: NORTH AND SOUTH, through Chapter XXXVII: Personal and Industrial

[ Edited ]
In many cases, yes. The problems which the Higgins family had were certainly related to the type of work they were in, which caused tuberculosis, their housing, much of which was built by the employer, and, of course, their low pay. I would like to write about the parallels we can see today but that would be too 'political'. Here are some descriptions of factory workers in those times:-

http://www.victorianweb.org/history/workers2.html




pmath wrote:
So, do you think personal problems are also industrial problems?


Choisya wrote:
Dickens chose the title for North & South Book because he saw and agreed with the great contrasts which Mrs Gaskell was making between the two areas of the country. Between gentle and rough countryside, between genteel women and working women, between the rich and poor, between country gentlemen and factory owners. Mrs Gaskell went on (against Dickens' wishes), at the end of the book, to bring out more of Margaret's character and personal psychological development, making her into an independent un-Victorian young woman (as Gaskell herself had been). However, it is clear that the contrasts which Dickens saw still underpin the novel, for without all these differences impinging upon her psyche Margaret could not have successfully completed her journey and would have remained one of those women who remained 'soaking in the stagnant waters'.


Message Edited by Choisya on 01-23-200704:12 AM

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Through Chapter XXXVII: Textile Work

Thanks for the link, Choisya. This passage, from the record of Parliamentary debates, is thought-provoking:

The other is the old, the often-repeated, and as often-refuted, argument that the work is light. Light! Why, no doubt, much of it is light, if measured by the endurance of some three or four minutes. But what say you, my Lords, to a continuity of toil, in a standing posture, in a poisonous atmosphere, during 13 hours, with 15 minutes of rest? Why, the stoutest man in England, were he made, in such a condition of things, to do nothing during the whole of that time but be erect on his feet and stick pins in a pincushion, would sink under the burden. What say you, then, of children--children of the tenderest years?

Choisya wrote:
In many cases, yes. The problems which the Higgins family had were certainly related to the type of work they were in, which caused tuberculosis, their housing, much of which was built by the employer, and, of course, their low pay. I would like to write about the parallels we can see today but that would be too 'political'. Here are some descriptions of factory workers in those times:-

http://www.victorianweb.org/history/workers2.html

pmath wrote:
So, do you think personal problems are also industrial problems?

Choisya wrote:
Dickens chose the title for North & South Book because he saw and agreed with the great contrasts which Mrs Gaskell was making between the two areas of the country. Between gentle and rough countryside, between genteel women and working women, between the rich and poor, between country gentlemen and factory owners. Mrs Gaskell went on (against Dickens' wishes), at the end of the book, to bring out more of Margaret's character and personal psychological development, making her into an independent un-Victorian young woman (as Gaskell herself had been). However, it is clear that the contrasts which Dickens saw still underpin the novel, for without all these differences impinging upon her psyche Margaret could not have successfully completed her journey and would have remained one of those women who remained 'soaking in the stagnant waters'.


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