Analysis Of Elizabeth Gaskells North & South
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Summary of 'North and South' - Elizabeth Gaskell
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How does the use of the words sublimely, murmuring, and slumbering in the first stanza impact the tone of the poem? North and South study guide contains a biography of author Elizabeth Gaskell, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis. North and South essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell.
Remember me. Forgot your password? Buy Study Guide. The novel is set in the fictional industrial town of Milton in the north of England. I'm sorry, what is your question about the novel, North and South? What is the title of this poem? The title you have here is a novel. Study Guide for North and South North and South study guide contains a biography of author Elizabeth Gaskell, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis.
Essays for North and South North and South essays are academic essays for citation. On 14 October , after six weeks, sales dropped so much that Dickens complained about what he called Gaskell's "intractability" because she resisted his demands for conciseness. He found the story "wearisome to the last degree". The novel's title imposed by Dickens focuses on the difference in lifestyle between rural southern England, inhabited by the landed gentry and agricultural workers, and the industrial north, populated by capitalist manufacturers and poverty-stricken mill workers;  the north-south division was cultural and geographical.
Gaskell would have preferred to call the novel Margaret Hale as she had done in for her novel Mary Barton , but Dickens prevailed. He wrote in a 26 July letter that "North South" seemed better, encompassing more and emphasizing the opposition between people who are forced by circumstances to meet face-to-face. Working on the final chapters of the novel in December at Lea Hurst , Florence Nightingale 's family home near Matlock in Derbyshire , Gaskell wrote that she would rather call her novel Death and Variations because "there are five dead, each beautifully consistent with the personality of the individual".
Death affects Margaret profoundly, gradually encouraging her independence; this allows Gaskell to analyse the character's deep emotions  and focus on the social system's harshness in the deaths of Boucher and Bessy. Many editions were published during Gaskell's lifetime. The text of the book, particularly the ending, differs significantly from that of the serialized episodes. Gaskell included a brief preface saying that due to the restrictive magazine format, she could not develop the story as she wished: "Various short passages have been inserted, and several new chapters added".
She tried to evade the limitations of a serialized novel  by elaborating on events after the death of Mr. Hale and adding four chapters: the first and last chapters and two chapters on the visits by Mr. Bell to London and by Margaret and Mr. Bell to Helstone. Loreau and Mrs. It was published in Paris by Hachette in ,  and reprinted at least twice: in as Marguerite Hale Nord et Sud  and in as Nord et Sud. Nineteen-year-old Margaret Hale has lived for almost 10 years in London with her cousin Edith and her wealthy Aunt Shaw, but when Edith marries Captain Lennox, Margaret happily returns home to the southern village of Helstone.
Margaret has refused an offer of marriage from the captain's brother Henry, an up-and-coming barrister. Her life is turned upside down when her father, the local pastor, leaves the Church of England and the rectory of Helstone as a matter of conscience; his intellectual honesty has made him a dissenter. At the suggestion of Mr. Bell, his old friend from Oxford , he settles with his wife and daughter in Milton-Northern where Mr. Bell was born and owns the property. The industrial town in Darkshire a textile-producing region manufactures cotton and is in the middle of the Industrial Revolution; masters and workers are clashing in the first organized strikes.
Margaret initially finds the bustling, smoky town of Milton harsh and strange, and she is upset by its poverty. Hale in reduced financial circumstances works as a tutor; one of his pupils is the wealthy and influential manufacturer John Thornton, master of Marlborough Mills. From the outset, Margaret and Thornton are at odds with each other; she sees him as coarse and unfeeling, and he sees her as haughty. He is attracted to her beauty and self-assurance, however, and she begins to admire how he has risen from poverty.
During the 18 months she spends in Milton, Margaret gradually learns to appreciate the city and its hard-working people, especially Nicholas Higgins a union representative and his daughter Bessy, whom she befriends. Bessy is ill with byssinosis from inhaling cotton dust, which eventually kills her. A workers' strike ensues. An outraged mob of workers breaks into Thornton's compound, where he has his home and his factory, after he imports Irish workers as replacements. Thornton sends for soldiers, but before they arrive, Margaret begs him to talk to the mob to try to avoid bloodshed. When he appears to be in danger, Margaret rushes out and shields him; she is struck by a stone.
The mob disperses, and Thornton carries the unconscious Margaret indoors. Thornton proposes; Margaret declines, unprepared for his unexpected declaration of love and offended by assumptions that her action in front of the mob meant that she cares for him. Thornton's mother, wary of Margaret's haughty ways, is galled by Margaret's rejection of her son. Margaret's brother Frederick who lives in exile as he is wanted for his part in a naval mutiny secretly visits their dying mother.
Thornton sees Margaret and Frederick together and assumes that he is her lover. Leonards, Frederick's shipmate, later recognizes Frederick at the train station. They argue; Frederick pushes Leonards away, and Leonards dies shortly afterwards. When the police question Margaret about the scuffle, she lies and says she was not present. Thornton knows that Margaret lied, but in his capacity as magistrate, declares the case closed to save her from possible perjury. Margaret is humbled by his deed on her behalf; she no longer merely looks down on Thornton as a hard master, but begins to recognize the depth of his character. Nicholas, at Margaret's behest, approaches Thornton for a job and eventually obtains one.
Thornton and Higgins learn to appreciate and understand each other. Hale visits his oldest friend, Mr Bell, in Oxford. He dies there, and Margaret returns to live in London with Aunt Shaw. She visits Helstone with Mr. Bell and asks him to tell Thornton about Frederick, but Mr Bell dies before he can do so. He leaves Margaret a legacy which includes Marlborough Mills and the Thornton house. Thornton faces bankruptcy, due to market fluctuations and the strike. He learns the truth about Margaret's brother from Nicholas Higgins and comes to London to settle his business affairs with Margaret, who is his new landlord. When Margaret offers to lend Thornton some of her money, he realizes that her feelings towards him have changed, and he again proposes marriage.
Since she has learned to love him, she accepts. Matus stresses the author's growing stature in Victorian literary studies and how her innovative, versatile storytelling addressed the rapid changes during her lifetime. It was not always that way;  her reputation from her death to the s was dominated by Lord David Cecil 's assessment in Early Victorian Novelists that she was "all woman" and "makes a creditable effort to overcome her natural deficiencies but all in vain". Contemporary reviews were critical, similar to those of Mary Barton. A scathing, unsigned critique in The Leader accused Gaskell of making errors about Lancashire which a resident of Manchester would not make and said that a woman or clergymen and women could not "understand industrial problems", would "know too little about the cotton industry" and had no "right to add to the confusion by writing about it".
Gaskell's novels, with the exception of Cranford , gradually slipped into obscurity during the late 19th century; before , she was dismissed as a minor author with "good judgment and feminine sensibilities". Archie Stanton Whitfield wrote that her work was "like a nosegay of violets, honeysuckle, lavender, mignonette and sweet briar" in ,  and Cecil said that she lacked the "masculinity" necessary to properly deal with social problems.
The change in title of Gaskell's fourth novel from Margaret Hale to Dickens' suggested North and South  underscores its theme of modernity versus tradition. Until the end of the 18th century, power in England was in the hands of the aristocracy and landed gentry based in the south. The Industrial Revolution unsettled the centuries-old class structure , shifting wealth and power to manufacturers who mass-produced goods in the north. Cities such as Manchester, on which Gaskell modeled her fictional Milton, were hastily developed to house workers who moved from the semi-feudal countryside to work in the new factories. The south represents the past tradition : aristocratic landowners who inherited their property, collected rent from farmers and peasants and assumed an obligation for their tenants' welfare.
The north represents the future modernity : its leaders were self-made men like Gaskell's hero, John Thornton, who accumulated wealth as working, middle-class entrepreneurs. In their view, philanthropy or charity — giving something for nothing — was a dangerous imbalance of the relationship between employers and employees which was based on the exchange of cash for labour. Rebellion against an authority seen as unfair is woven throughout the story. Established institutions are seen as inhumane or selfish, and therefore fallible;  Mr. Hale breaks with the church on a matter of conscience, and Frederick Hale participates in a mutiny against the navy and is forced into exile because the law would hang him for what he considered a just cause. His rebellion parallels the strike by workers who take up the cause to feed their children.
Both are impotent and engaged in a struggle a war, in the eyes of the workers whose terms are dictated by those who maintain their power by force: the law and the mill masters. Even Mrs. Hale rebels in her own way; she is "prouder of Frederick standing up against injustice, than if he had been simply a good officer". The theme of power is also central. Thornton represents three aspects of power and the authority of the ruling class: a manufacturer respected by his peers economic power , a magistrate judicial power and someone who can summon the army political power to quell the strike. Margaret demonstrates power in her verbal jousting with Thornton, forcing him to reflect on the validity of his beliefs and eventually change his view of workers from mere providers of labour to individuals capable of intelligent thought.
The notion of separate spheres dominated Victorian beliefs about gender roles, assuming that the roles of men and women are clearly delineated. The expression of feelings is considered feminine, and aggression is seen as masculine. Resolving conflict with words is feminine, and men are likely to resort to physical resolution including war. The mistress of the home is the guardian of morality and religion and " The Angel in the House ". The public sphere is considered dangerously amoral and, in the work of authors such as Dickens, disasters ensue when characters do not conform to contemporary standards.
This notion is questioned in North and South. In Margaret Hale, the separation is blurred and she is forced by circumstances to assume a masculine role, organizing the family's departure from Helstone and assuming much of the responsibility for the family in Milton including encouraging her father. She carries the load alone, behaving like a " Roman girl " because Mr. Hale is weak and irresolute. When Higgins slips away and her father trembles with horror at Boucher's death, Margaret goes to Mrs. Boucher, breaks the news of her husband's death, and cares for the family with dedication and efficiency.
She summons her brother Frederick, a naval officer who is crushed with grief at the death of his mother. To protect her brother, Margaret later lies about their presence at the train station on the day of his departure. Thornton and Higgins, while not denying their masculinity, demonstrate compassion. Higgins in particular, whom Thornton considers among "mere demagogues, lovers of power, at whatever costs to others", assumes the responsibility for raising the Boucher children and embodies maternal tenderness lacking in Mrs. Thornton and strength not possessed by Mrs.
Hale and dignity. Gaskell endows John Thornton with tenderness a soft spot, according to Nicholas Higgins. Although Thornton's pride hides this capacity from public view, he shows it in his affection for his mother and his quiet attention to the Hales. He expresses it more obvious when he later develops relations with his workers beyond the usual cash-for-labour, builds a canteen for the workers, and sometimes shares meals with them. Margaret and Thornton's evolution eventually converges and, after learning humility, they are partially freed from the shackles of separate spheres; he develops friendly relations at the mill, and she asserts her independence from her cousin's life.
Margaret initiates their business meeting, which he interprets as a declaration of love. They now meet as man and woman, no longer the manufacturer from the north and the lady from the south. The blurring of roles is also evident among the workers, many of whom like Bessy are women. Certain family relationships are emphasized Margaret and her father, Higgins and Bessy, Mrs.
Hale and Frederick , all interrupted by death. The tie between Thornton and his mother is particularly deep and, on Mrs. Thornton's side, exclusive and boundless: "her son, her pride, her property". It holds fast forever and ever". Parent-child relationships are often metaphors for relations between employers and workers in Victorian literature. She favors, instead, helping workers grow and become emancipated. Hale and Thornton, Margaret and Bessy, and Thornton and Higgins prefigure Gaskell's desired human relations which blur class distinctions.
Margaret performs "lowly" tasks and Dixon becomes a confidante of Mrs. Hale, who develops a relationship of respect, affection, and understanding with the maid. Gaskell, the daughter, and wife of a pastor, did not write a religious novel, although religion plays an important role in her work. Although the re-institution in by Pope Pius IX of a Roman Catholic hierarchy in England was generally strongly condemned, Gaskell has an open mind about Catholicism and Frederick Hale converts to his Spanish wife's religion.
Biblical references appear in several forms. Chapter VI cites the Book of Job , ii. However, Gaskell cautions against misuse; Bessy Higgins reads the Apocalypse to cope with her condition and interprets the parable of Dives and Lazarus so simplistically that Margaret counters vigorously: "It won't be division enough, in that awful day, that some of us have been beggars here, and some of us have been rich—we shall not be judged by that poor accident, but by our faithful following of Christ".