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First Paper

Filed under: Sin categoría — Raquel Sanchez Sogorb at 8:06 pm on lunes, marzo 25, 2013


 Sánchez Sogorb, Raquel

The Society and the role of Women- North & South- Elizabeth Gaskell

Elizabeth Gaskell

Abstract: Introduction, Elizabeth Gaskell has been influenced by her life and social circle. This novel reflects The Society from North and South, the encounter between northern traditions and southern ones, also how the industrial revolution is the model for the new age. In this time, we  see how The role of women was, and how Gaskell makes Margaret Hale as a strong woman. In the Conclusion, I write about the different points of view and what that has taught me.

Bibliography, URL’s



I loved to find out more than the nineteenth century and the real importance of women. I think it was useful discover some points of view between people of different classes.


05 Bibliography

Filed under: Sin categoría — Raquel Sanchez Sogorb at 8:05 pm on lunes, marzo 25, 2013

Web. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_and_South_(1855_novel)#Modernity_vs._Tradition (23 March 2013)

Web. http://ebiblioteca.org/?/ver/28740 (24 March 2013)

Web. http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_Gaskell (23 March 2013)

Web. http://www.victorianweb.org/authors/gaskell/index.html(24 March 2013)

Book. Bondenheimer, Rosemarie. «North and South: A Permanent State of Change.» Nineteenth Century Fiction 1979, 34: 281-307. (25 March 2013)

Book. Duthie, Enid L. The Themes of Elizabeth Gaskell. Towata, New Jersey: Rowman and Littlefield, 1980. (25 March 2013)

Web. http://www.studentpulse.com/articles/224/the-concept-of-unity-in-elizabeth-gaskells-north-and-south (24 March 2013)

Web. http://www.angelfire.com/ny4/eamward/nthsth.htm (24 March 2013)

04 Conclusion

Filed under: Sin categoría — Raquel Sanchez Sogorb at 7:36 pm on lunes, marzo 25, 2013

As a conclusion, I can obtain that there are North and South is a novel with different points of view which make us understand better the whole society.

On the one hand, the novel shows the difference between classes, the masters like Mr. Thornton or the accommodate people from the south like Mrs. Hale, and the workers in factories and their families who have to live in precarious situations. Although, at the end, the main characters find out they are equally human beings, and they tried to work together.

But on the other hand, this literary work has taught me why we don’t have to judge people before meet them, that is shown in Margaret and Mr. Thornton’s relationship, they judge each other without knowledge of why they do what they do.

I have always read nineteenth century books, because I like a lot how they express the feelings and how the society works, but in this case, I have been surprised because Mrs. Gaskell shows the truth of the society not only the good parts but also the bad ones. Anyway, she deals truly well with a love story too, so it has several kind of topics that make the novel really interesting .

Elizabeth Gaskell has had the influence of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, above all in the main characters, because at first they do not get along well but at the end they fall in love. And also, she could have the influence of Chalotte Brontë.

Furthermore, the novel has become a representation of industrial revolution and because of that has some adaptations, such as North & South BBC’s TV Serial and North and South The Musical.

03 The role of Women

Filed under: Sin categoría — Raquel Sanchez Sogorb at 7:35 pm on lunes, marzo 25, 2013

As maintained by A. Blackwood, “in Margaret Hale, Gaskell gives strength to the “weaker sex” rarely before seen in texts of her time whilst appealing to all readers with the emphasis of a number of households mainly within Milton itself. The text presents itself as well as a novel as it ever did in its popular serialization in Dicken’s publication Household Words.”

It is assumed by everyone that the roles of men and women are clearly delineated and everything public including work lies within the domain of the man while everything domestic within that of the woman, as the classics cultures. The expression of feelings  and resolving conflicts with words is considered reserved for women, and aggression and resolving conflicts as war is masculine. The mistress of the ideal home is the guardian of morality and religion, while the public sphere is considered dangerously amoral so that in the works of authors such as Dickens, disasters happen when the characters do not conform to current standards; in North & South, this notion is questioned.

In Gaskell’s heroine, Margaret Hale, this separation is blurred and she is forced by circumstances to take on a masculine role. For example: she organizes the family’s departure from Helstone, and in Milton, assumes the most part of responsibility; when Boucher dies, Mr. Hale is horrified and it is Margaret who has to announce Boucher’s wife of the tragic event. And also, she has to cite her brother Frederick, who is crushed with a grief at the death of their mother; later, to protect her brother, Margaret lies to the police, denying she was not at the train station when Frederick left. At the end, Margaret inherits a fortune by her father’s friend and she has to manage it all alone.

“The character of Margaret Hale is the finest piece of delineation of a pure-hearted and proud young English girl that I know,” wrote Thomas Seccombe in his introduction to Cousin Phillis, another of Gaskell’s books. “Margaret, with her lustrous eyes and regular curves of serene beauty, is a more or less unconscious portrait of Elizabeth Gaskell herself.”

The women in this century did not show their feelings, like Margaret, she is hurting inside but she doesn’t show it, she keeps her feelings inside and gives off an air of confidence and strength that is a balm to those suffering with her; so Mrs. Thornton thinks if for pride and haughtiness. Mrs. Thornton is described as strong and massive, firm, severe, dignified woman. She is extremely protective of her son, their fortune and their lifestyle, she is still in fixed thinking and represents old-fashioned values, in front of Margaret who is the figure of the new and independent woman. Part of the reason that Mrs. Thornton dislikes Margaret is that both have similar characters: strong, proud and devoted.

However, Margaret has the youth and vitality that are necessary to be a powerful force in the changing age. The Margaret’s engagement to Mr. Thornton symbolically creates a merger between the old and the new and a united concern in the welfare of the man the two women love.

North and South is frequently praised for its “realism in depicting the strike in Milton which was based on the actual labor conflict in Preston in 1858-54”, the number of women in this strike was the double than the men, so it is highly unlikely that Gaskell was ignorant of the gender composition of the work force. The only woman factory worker who appears in the novel is Bessy Higgins, and she has been forced to leave work because of her disease.

According to Wanda Neff, the unpropitious appearance of the factory girl and the strangeness of her labor to the middle-class reader made her unpopular as the heroine of a novel. But Gaskell’s silence about women’s work in the mills, her use of the generic “men” to describe factory workers, and her celebration of cooperative domestic labor indicate how problematic she, like other members of the Victorian middle class, found the whole issue of women’s work outside the home.


02 The Society from North & South

Filed under: Sin categoría — Raquel Sanchez Sogorb at 7:34 pm on lunes, marzo 25, 2013

This novel examines the nature of social authority and obedience and provides an insightful description of the role of middle class women in nineteenth century society. Through the story of Margaret Hale, a southerner who moves to the northern industrial town of Milton, Gaskell skillfully explores issues of class and gender, as Margaret’s sympathy for the town mill workers conflicts with her growing attraction to the mill owner, John Thornton.

Her characters from Margaret Hale to Nicholas Higgins, regardless of situation, are paid the same meticulous attention by Gaskell in her portrayal of an intricate story which encompasses a range of social issues such as the role of women in Victorian Britain industrialization and its effects on class divisions, as well as the changing landscape of Britain through such changes brought on by advancement in trade in urban areas depicted in the contrasts between Helstone and Milton.

In 18th century, the power in England was in the hands of the aristocracy and landed gentry, the industrial revolution didn’t change the old class structure, vast towns such as Manchester, the model of fictional “Milton”, were constructed to house workers who moved from the semi-feudal countryside to work for wages in the new factories.

The industrial revolution brought technology and employed thousands of people, but this change didn’t pass to relations between owners and workers, that were already in bad working conditions. So, workers formed unions share opinions and interests, and sometimes these unions struck to get better treatments and situations from their masters; we can see that in the Milton’s strike led by Mr. Higgins against the masters as Mr. Thornton.

According to Jill L. Matus, “this led to protest and other demands and appeals for reform from the workers and in turn, increased fear of social unrest, and also contends that Gaskell’s writing represents a consciousness and its alterations under turbulent social and personal conditions.”

Later in the novel Mr. Thornton changes after being influenced by Margaret. He learns that these men are not different from him. Gaskell said: “Once brought face to face, man to man, with an individual of the masses around him, and (take notice) out of the character of master and workman, in the first instance they had each begun to recognize that we have all of us one human heart.”

01 Introduction

Filed under: Sin categoría — Raquel Sanchez Sogorb at 7:31 pm on lunes, marzo 25, 2013

Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell was a British novelist and short story writer during the Victorian era, she was born in 29 September 1810, at Chelsea, and she died in 12 November 1865, at Holybourne, Hampshire. When Elizabeth was very young was sent to live with her aunt in Knutsford, a town she shows as Cranford, she received traditional education to young ladies at the time, but her aunt gave her the classics to read and her father, the encouragement in her writing. Elizabeth married a Unitarian minister, William Gaskell, in Knutsford, but they went to live to Manchester, where she could write about the industrial society.

The Gaskell’s social circle included writers, religious dissenters and social reformers such as William and Mary Howitt, Charles Dickens, John Ruskin, and also Elizabeth had as close friend Charlotte Brontë, who had so influence on her, that she wrote “The life of Charlotte Brontë”. Elizabeth’s first works were published in Dicken’s Journal “Household Words”, like North and South in 1854.

In November 1865, when reporting her death, The Athenaeum rated Gaskell as “if not the most popular, with small question, the most powerful and finished female novelist of an epoch singularly rich in female novelists.”

Many critics were hostile to the novel because of its open sympathy for the workers in their relations with the masters, but the high quality of writing and characterization were undeniable. The later publication of North and South, also dealing with the relationship of workers and masters, strengthened Gaskell’s status as a leader in social fiction.