North and South

( 234 )

Overview

North and South tells the story of Margaret Hale, a southerner newly settled in the northern industrial town of Milton, whose ready sympathy with the discontented millworkers sits uneasily with her growing attraction to the charismatic mill owner, John Thornton. The novel poses fundamental questions about the nature of social authority and obedience, ranging from religious crises of conscience to the ethics of naval mutiny and industrial action. Margaret's internal conflicts mirror the turbulence that she sees ...
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North and South (Collins Classics)

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Overview

North and South tells the story of Margaret Hale, a southerner newly settled in the northern industrial town of Milton, whose ready sympathy with the discontented millworkers sits uneasily with her growing attraction to the charismatic mill owner, John Thornton. The novel poses fundamental questions about the nature of social authority and obedience, ranging from religious crises of conscience to the ethics of naval mutiny and industrial action. Margaret's internal conflicts mirror the turbulence that she sees all around her. This revised and expanded edition sets the novel in the context of Victorian social and medical debate and explores Gaskell's subtle representations of sexual passion and communal strife.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A really remarkable picture of the reality, as well as the prosperity, of northern industrial life, and an interesting examination of changing social conscience."  —Joanna Trollope, author, Second Honeymoon

"Gaskell saw the emotional and economic realities of ordinary life with a steely honesty."  —The Times

"Pah! to Dickens. Eat your heart out, Little Nell. That Elizabeth Gaskell could write a death scene to make your socks melt."  —Scotsman

"One of the most perceptive novels of the mid-Victorian era."  —Glasgow Herald

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781496102720
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
  • Publication date: 2/27/2014
  • Pages: 492
  • Sales rank: 542,016
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.99 (d)

Meet the Author

Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell, (1810-1865), often referred to simply as Mrs. Gaskell, was an English novelist and short story writer during the Victorian era. She is perhaps best known for her biography of Charlotte Brontë. Her novels offer a detailed portrait of the lives of many strata of society, including the very poor, and as such are of interest to social historians as well as lovers of literature.
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Foreword

1. Why do Margaret’s parents allow her to shoulder such heavy burdens – her father’s crisis of faith and her mother’s illness – at such a young age?

2. Why does Margaret not tell her mother and father about Mr Lennox and Mr Thornton’s proposals? Why does she have to wait to be asked directly by her father?

3. 'North and South explores themes that still seem strikingly modern' (Daily Mail). Do you think that the attitudes expressed in the novel about the north and south divide are relevant today?

4. Why is Margaret prejudiced against the industrialists of the time? How important is social class to the novel?

5. Who is the better Mother – Mrs Hale, Mrs Thornton or Mrs Shaw?

6. The scene where Margaret stands between Mr Thornton and the striking workers is a turning point in the tale. What motivates Margaret’s to put herself in this vulnerable - both emotionally and physically - situation?

7. Margaret is a strong female heroine. Do you think this is unusual in a Victorian novel? Why does Elizabeth Gaskell contrast Margaret so dramatically with the other girls of her age in the book for example Edith, Fanny and Bessy?

8. The original title of the book was Margaret Hale and it was only under pressure from her publishers that Gaskell changed the title to North and South. Do you think this was the right decision to make? Do you think you would read the novel differently if it had its original title?

9. Elizabeth Gaskell describes Mr Thornton as ‘large and strong and tender, and yet a master’. Do you agree with her description? Can you betender and a master? Does Mr Thornton prove this?

10. Was Margaret right to lie to the police officer? Do you think she should have told Mr Thornton the truth straight away?

11. Look at Margaret’s relationship with the Higginses and compare it to Mr Thornton’s relationship to them. What are the differences and the similarities? Who gains the most from the connection – Margaret, Mr Thornton or the Higgins?

12. Both Margaret and Thornton know that their families will not approve of the marriage. Are they right to marry? Can they be happy?

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Reading Group Guide

1. Why do Margaret’s parents allow her to shoulder such heavy burdens – her father’s crisis of faith and her mother’s illness – at such a young age?

2. Why does Margaret not tell her mother and father about Mr Lennox and Mr Thornton’s proposals? Why does she have to wait to be asked directly by her father?

3. 'North and South explores themes that still seem strikingly modern' (Daily Mail). Do you think that the attitudes expressed in the novel about the north and south divide are relevant today?

4. Why is Margaret prejudiced against the industrialists of the time? How important is social class to the novel?

5. Who is the better Mother – Mrs Hale, Mrs Thornton or Mrs Shaw?

6. The scene where Margaret stands between Mr Thornton and the striking workers is a turning point in the tale. What motivates Margaret’s to put herself in this vulnerable - both emotionally and physically - situation?

7. Margaret is a strong female heroine. Do you think this is unusual in a Victorian novel? Why does Elizabeth Gaskell contrast Margaret so dramatically with the other girls of her age in the book for example Edith, Fanny and Bessy?

8. The original title of the book was Margaret Hale and it was only under pressure from her publishers that Gaskell changed the title to North and South. Do you think this was the right decision to make? Do you think you would read the novel differently if it had its original title?

9. Elizabeth Gaskell describes Mr Thornton as ‘large and strong and tender, and yet a master’. Do you agree with her description? Can you be tender and a master? Does Mr Thornton prove this?

10. Was Margaret right to lie to the police officer? Do you think she should have told Mr Thornton the truth straight away?

11. Look at Margaret’s relationship with the Higginses and compare it to Mr Thornton’s relationship to them. What are the differences and the similarities? Who gains the most from the connection – Margaret, Mr Thornton or the Higgins?

12. Both Margaret and Thornton know that their families will not approve of the marriage. Are they right to marry? Can they be happy?

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 234 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(144)

4 Star

(56)

3 Star

(20)

2 Star

(9)

1 Star

(5)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 235 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2009

    If you're a Pride&Predjudice Fan............

    I first saw the BBC miniseries about 18 months ago. I was enthralled. The story has many similarities to the beloved Pride and Predjudice, but the setting and scope of the story are much deeper.

    The story is primarily set in the two different worlds in Victorian England. Gently born and raised Margaret is pulled away from the genteel life she is accustomed to in the South of England, to live in a northern manufacturing town. The two very differing climates are metaphors for the experiences and people by whom she is surrounded.

    Her own predjudices are tested along a personal journey that opens her heart and mind. Themes of devotion and love are timeless. The more weighty issues of poverty, fair business practices and moral duty are also timeless. In our age of greed, a lot could be gained by reading some of the Victorians like Elizabeth Gaskell and Charles Dickens.

    This book may not be an easy read to everyone. But if you've read Austen and/or Dickens, it is an enjoyable book. This reader loves history and also loves good romance. I read the final chapter three times because I found it so deeply satisfying.

    If you have seen the BBC adaptation, you'll find that it's not entirely true to the book. However, I found them to have the same soul and spirit. North and South is now part of my permanent collection.

    14 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2007

    A touching story

    I saw BBC's movie production of North and South first and then decided I had to read the novel by Elizabeth Gaskel. I was not dissapointed. If anything it will enhance the movie experience because it gives you more details/information about the characters, their actions and events that take place in the novel. This story tells of the hardships that people faced on a daily basis. The love story of John Thornton and Margaret Hale is especially touching because they both had to overcome prejudices 'on her part' and missunderstandings 'on his part'. What a wonderful novel. I highly recommend this novel to anyone who has already seen the movie. I have to admit both the movie and the novel of North and South surpasses all versions of Pride and Prejudice.

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 20, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Loved It (Again)

    I recommend it to everyone who likes Victorian era classics, romance, and good historical imagery. I read North and South the first time during my first semester of grad school in 2008 after watching the BBC version on DVD. So I got to compare the endings and read the commentary & footnotes, & etc. I liked the book version better than the DVD, except for the ending and watching Richard Armitage play John Thornton. After re-watching the DVD a few times over 3-1/2 years I bought N&S for my Nook and re-read it with fresh perspective this month (June 2012), and love the book even more than the first time I read it. I understand the ending much better because I get the spirit of the message Gaskell meant for us to come away with. The dvd ending (on the train) gives us a metaphorical visual of what E. Gaskell would have written if she'd been given 21st Century freedom at the time of the Victorian periodical. I am in love with her John Thornton (again).

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 8, 2010

    Great book!

    I first saw the BBC movie and I read the book straight away. It is a very well written, enjoyable novel set in Victorian times and through the main protagonists it introduces us to the divide between the industrial north and the more gentlemanly, leisurely south and how different the outlook, temperament and lifestyle of the people from each place is. I truly enjoyed the book. People often compare it to Pride and Prejudice - I would not go that far, but the love story is compelling and the author`s social awareness and sensitivity, her portrayal of the industrial revolution and its effects on people is magnificent and very real. I liked the main characters very much. Recommended.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 11, 2009

    One of my favorite books

    North and South always delights the reader with a glimpse into the north of England during the Industrial Revolution. The characters show the stereotypes of the day: the North was thought to be always busy, always working, always thinking of money; while the South was thought to be more relaxed and sedate. The resolution is very satisfying for the romantic.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 6, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Sooooo GOOD!!

    This book has become one of my favorites. It's up there with Pride and Prejudice. The guy is a true hero in this book.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2009

    I loved it!

    This book, like others of this era, takes a little bit to get into, but once in it, I love it! Lots of meat, i.e. at least 2-3 different stories going on that have substance to them.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 6, 2011

    not complete!

    This version of North and South stops just after Mr. Thornton proposes to Margaret, at pg 195. The book is fantastic and there is a complete, free version available.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Supplanted Pride and Prejudice as my favorite

    I never thought it possible, but this book supplanted Pride and Prejudice as my favorite romance, reasons being that it brings outside philosophical, political, and economic pressures into the romance. The romance is not just that there are misunderstandings and ruined reputations, but that there are actual lives at stake; entire towns that could fall if the mill workers refuse to work; people could be killed in riots; there is communal strife and an inability to communicate between the social classes. This is an ambitious work that I am head over heels in love with because the prose is poetic, the themes are strong, and the characters sympathetic. Gaskell gives the secondary and tertiary characters all the love, compassion, and motive that is usually reserved for main characters alone. I could go into a detailed analysis of the writing tricks Gaskell uses to appeal to her audience (the sympathetic Victorian woman), such as describing the illnesses of those around Margaret, the way Margaret's eyes sometimes exhibit a childlike wonder or surprised pain, and the way Margaret shoulders the problems of those around her for that is her role as the daughter in the family (really, this is a brilliant piece of Victorian literature), but I won't. I will tell you that if you like reading classics (my childhood was defined by classics, and I desperately miss the feeling of losing myself in that world), you must read this book. If your writing tends toward the classical style, this is a great example to take note of. There are moments when Margaret almost reminds me of Jane Eyre in her contemplations of her role as a female in the world, which makes sense because Mrs Gaskell was actually a sort of social friend of Charlotte Bronte's. In fact, Mrs Gaskell wrote the first biography of Charlotte, and helped create the rather mythological story behind the woman who wrote such great works as Jane Eyre and Villette. P.S. The BBC made a two-part miniseries of this book in 2007, and it is excellent. Things have been changed, obviously, to fit the book into a four-hour showing, but it is a great adaptation and the reason why I read the book in the first place. * Review originally posted at my blog, Worderella Writes: http://worderella.com/2008/02/book-north-and-south/ *

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 22, 2012

    Great Story and Great Book!!!!!

    After a friend gave me Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South, I picked it up and started reading, intrigued. I was shocked at how quickly I was pulled into the storyline for a book written so long ago, and pleased with the incredible characters and plot. This is a great book and great love story to boot, and I highly recommend reading North and South. It's a great read, and courageous, plucky, tender-hearted Margaret Hale will live on in my mind as a great heroine for a fantastic book!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 28, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Over the top!

    The love story is fantastic but there is just too little of it. Mostly this book is political; regarding mill workers and the start of unions in England. Although interesting, it bored me after awhile.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 8, 2010

    Fantastic! But...

    I love North and South so much. If you enjoy Austen and Dickens you will absolutly love Gaskell. But! My problem was not with the book it was with the introduction. I know people don't necessarily read the intro but I did with this book. It just made the whole book seem like a sexual thriller. That just deeply confused me. So buy this and you wont regret it but you could skip the introduction.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2007

    A Victorian age analysis of the Industrial Revolution

    In 'North and South', Elizabeth Gaskell effectively analyzes and dissects Victorian era social norms. The novel's protagonist, Margaret Hale, is an independant-minded woman who is not afraid to speak her mind or take charge of a given situation. Her story is one of self-discovery, as she comes to face great hardship in the city of Milton (Manchester) and learns to empathize with the plight of the less fortunate. Gaskell paints a huge canvass of characters from all different social backgrounds: the poor, factory workers, the middle class, the educated, capitalists, and manufacterers. Margaret Hale makes a good protagonist because she serves as a sort of middle-ground character: an outsider who is able to befriend both the rich and the poor. The novel serves as a commentary on the class struggle and social unrest of mid-nineteenth century Britain. It deals with the motivations behind these problems and seeks to reconcile them. I found the novel to be a fascinating character study and a complex look at how the Industrial Revolution affected British society. The story drags, however, in some parts and becomes rather contrived near the end. Like all Victorian novels, 'North and South', is long and sentimental. Still, if you're interested in British literature, 'North and South' is worth checking out. Elizabeth Gaskell deserves more attention for her body of work.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2014

    Disappointment

    I thought this was going to be really good, reviews said it would. It was all monologue. Very little dialogue and very boring.

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  • Posted March 6, 2014

    Lovely, lovely

    If you're a fan of Pride & Prejudice or Jane Eyre you are definitely going to love this book. Mr. Thornton is this proud man but deep down he is so lovable, you will want marry this character. Love Elizabeth Gaskell, one of my favorite times in England.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2014

    Spike

    ?...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2014

    Layla

    Whats up peeps

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2014

    Drew

    Hey

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2014

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2014

    To Kat

    *longer

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