North and South (1854). by : Elizabeth Gaskell: Novel (Social Novel)
Overview - North and South is a social novel by English writer Elizabeth Gaskell. Along with Wives and Daughters (1865) and Cranford (1853), it is one of her best known novels and has been adapted for television twice, in 1975 and 2004. The latter version renewed interest in the novel and gained it a wider readership. Read more...
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More About North and South (1854). by by Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell
North and South is a social novel by English writer Elizabeth Gaskell. Along with Wives and Daughters (1865) and Cranford (1853), it is one of her best known novels and has been adapted for television twice, in 1975 and 2004. The latter version renewed interest in the novel and gained it a wider readership. While Gaskell's first novel Mary Barton (1848) focused on relations between employers and workers in Manchester from the perspective of the working poor, North and South uses a protagonist from southern England to present and comment on the perspectives of both mill owners and mill workers in an industrializing city. North and South is set in the fictional industrial town of Milton in the North of England. Forced to leave her home in the tranquil rural south, Margaret Hale settles with her parents in Milton where she witnesses the brutal world wrought by the industrial revolution and employers and workers clashing in the first organised strikes. Sympathetic to the poor, whose courage and tenacity she admires and among whom she makes friends, she clashes with John Thornton, a cotton mill manufacturer who belongs to the nouveaux riches class and whose contemptuous attitude to workers Margaret rejects. The novel traces both her growing understanding of the complexity of labor relations and her impact on well-meaning mill owners, and her conflicted relationship with John Thornton.Gaskell based her depiction of Milton on Manchester, where she lived as the wife of a Unitarian minister.Margaret Hale, 19, happily returns home from London to the idyllic southern village of Helstone after her cousin Edith marries Captain Lennox. She lived nearly 10 years in the city with Edith and wealthy Aunt Shaw to learn to be an accomplished young lady. Margaret, herself, has refused a marriage offer from the captain's brother, Henry, a rising barrister. But 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 having made him a dissenter. On the suggestion of his old friend from Oxford, Mr. Bell, he settles with his wife and daughter in Milton-Northern, where Mr. Bell was born and owns property. An industrial town in Darkshire, a textile-producing region, it is engaged in cotton-manufacturing and finds itself in the middle of the industrial revolution, where masters and workers clash in the first organised strikes. Margaret finds the bustling, smoky town of Milton harsh and strange and she is upset by the poverty all around. Mr. Hale, in reduced financial circumstances, works as a tutor and counts as his pupil the rich and influential manufacturer, Mr. 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; he sees her as haughty. But he is attracted to her beauty and self-assurance and she begins to admire how he has lifted himself 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 Workers' Union representative, and his daughter Bessy, whom she befriends. Bessy is consumptive from inhalation of cotton dust and she eventually dies from it. Meantime, Margaret's mother is growing more seriously ill and a workers' strike is brewing. Masters and hands (workers) do not reach a resolution on the strike and an incensed mob of workers threatens Thornton and his factory with violence after he brought Irish workers into his mill. Margaret implores Thornton to intervene and talk to the mob, but he manages merely to fuel their anger. Margaret intervenes too and is struck down by a stone.........Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell, (nee Stevenson, 29 September 1810 - 12 November 1865), often referred to as Mrs Gaskell, was an English novelist and short story writer....."
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