How have I never heard of North and South by
Turns out not only is it a well-known classic, it has also been adapted for TV several times (here and here for example) and one version even stars Patrick Stewart. I feel like Margaret discovering a new world “up north.”
Thank you Sarah for the suggestion!
Today we are discussing Chapters 14-26. Let’s touch base on the themes mentioned last week.
Since the title is North and South, this continues to be a theme. Lots of little asides and snide remarks from both sides that the other side clearly doesn’t understand.
For instance, Mr. Thornton said, “I should equally rebel and resent his interference. I imagine this is a stronger feeling in the North of England than the South.” (1882, Kindle)
“I wish I lived down South,” said Bessy. (2059)
“You’re just a foreigner and nothing more.” (2082)
We also see a growing understanding from Margaret as she learns more about the North. It is the next theme that was the focus of this section of the book. “So I am [taken with the ways of the South country],” said Margaret, smiling a little, as she found herself thus caught. “I only mean, Best, there’s good and bad in everything in the world; and as you felt the bad up here, I thought it was but fair you should know the bad down there.”
Oh my! Class and misunderstandings and revealed information abound today.
- Fredrick has taken the name “Dickenson” (anyone wondering if this is a nod to author Elizabeth Gaskell publishing her story in a Charle Dickens periodical?) because he was involved in a mutiny. If he returns to England he will be executed. The mutiny involved strong class elements.
- Margaret and Mr. Hale visit the Thorntons and Mrs. Thornton is put off that Mrs. Hale didn’t come.
- Mr. Thornton visiting Margaret and Mr. Hale, had a v-e-r-y long discussion on how laborers are like children.
- Nicholas Higgins comparing the impending strike not in terms of parent/child, but “as a soldier”
- All of the discussion as to who will be invited to the Thornton’s dinner party.
- The strike! And Margaret being in the unique position to hear the various perspectives and challenges when it comes to financial considerations (labor’s point of view from Mr. Higgins and management’s POV from Mr. Thornton).
- The juxtaposition of a fancy dinner party at the Thornton’s and the starving neighborhood children when Margaret visits the Higgins.
- The medical options available to Mrs. Hale vs. Bessy. (Anyone else seeing our own times mirrored in this story?)
- Bringing in “Irish Hands” to break the strike — and the poverty of Ireland to even come in to break the strikes.
- The riots between some of the strikers and the whole Mr. Thornton/Margaret situation.
Okay, so it seems it will be Mr. Thornton, but not yet. The scene of Margaret hanging on to— let’s call him John—John’s neck to protect him after they goaded him to take action pretty much seals the deal.
But since we are only halfway through, it can’t be wrapped up yet. AND I could be wrong. But I don’t think I am.
Still very curious about this theme, but it does not seem to be a strong one. Maybe with this section being so heavy on the class theme, another section will focus on faith. It has to come back, right? You don’t start off a book with a PASTOR who quits and never return to things of faith, do you?
- Can someone please explain to me what a “water bed” is? I know what a modern water bed is, but that can’t be it.
- Will Fredrick make it home? And what will happen when he does?
- Mrs. Thornton annoys me. Who annoys you? Which character are you taken with?
Yay! I finished writing this section so I can jump back in to reading our next 13 chapters. Next week we will discuss Chapters 27-39.
See you in the comments!
- June—North and South by
- July—Hope was here byJoan Bauer
- August—My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman
- September—Monique and the Mango Rains: Two Years with a Midwife in Mali by Kris Holloway