North and South

The North and the South – “Antebellum” Differences

January 12, 2021 by Essay Writer

When contrasting the North and South in the antebellum period, you must consider the differences in major areas: climate, geography, population, cities, economy, culture and transportation.The South has a climate that is generally warm and sunny, with long, hot, humid summers, and mild winters, with heavy rainfall. Additionally, the soil is plentiful, rich, and full of nutrients. These traits make the Southern climate ideal for large-scale agriculture and the ability to grow many different crops in large amounts. Geographically, the Southeast is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, and had many broad, slow moving, navigable rivers. Cities developed along these rivers and as ports (for ships) along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts.

The Atlantic Coastal Plain is an area of fertile, rich soil and swamps. To the west of the Atlantic Coast Plain is the Piedmont, another area of good farmland and forests. The population of the South was made up of Europeans (mostly of English and Scotch-Irish descent) and enslaved Africans. By 1860, there were 4 million slaves in the American South, making the United States the largest slave-holding republic in the world. To put it another way, the total population of the South reached 12 million, one third of whom were slaves. The South was an overwhelmingly agricultural region, made up mostly of farmers. Most farmers lived in the backcountry (away from large towns or cities) on medium sized farms, while a small number of planters ran large farms, or plantations. Only one fourth of the Southern population owned slaves, and most of these were the planters who owned only a small number of slaves. The rest of the population was made up of white independent (non-slaveholding) farmers, tenant farmers (who rented land and paid the landowners in crops or money), laborers, or frontier families who moved to the region for inexpensive land. As noted, most Southerners lived on farms scattered along the coastal plains (near the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico), as well as small farmers in the backcountry. Since the economy was based on agriculture, industries and towns developed at a slower pace than in the North. There were many small towns along the banks of rivers and the coasts. Only a few large cities developed as trading centers in the South (New Orleans, for example), but these were few in number, and smaller than in the North. Plantations were so large and so distant from each other that they became almost self sufficient, like small towns.

Since the Southern economy was based on agriculture, crops such as cotton, tobacco, rice, sugarcane, and indigo (a type of dye) were grown in great quantities. These crops were known as “cash crops” ones that were raised not to be used by the farmer, but to be sold or exported for a profit. They were raised in the greatest numbers on large farms, known as plantations, which were supported by slave labor. After Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin in 1793, cotton took over as “king” of the southern economy. The cotton gin was a machine that separated the seed from the cotton fiber much faster than it could be done by hand. This made the value of each individual slave increase, and made slavery more profitable. To clear land and grow cotton, Southerners started using slave labor more and more. Slavery was essential for the prosperity of the Southern economy.

Thus, both slavery and the cotton industry began to develop rapidly, spreading over many parts of the South. In 1793, Southern farmers produced about 10,000 bales of cotton, but by 1835, thanks to the cotton gin and the increased use of slaves, they were growing over 1,000,000 bales. By the mid-1800s, cotton exports made up two thirds of the total value of American exports. Since the South had little manufacturing itself, the Southerners wanted cheap imports, or goods, from overseas. Likewise, since they exported most of their cotton and tobacco overseas themselves, most Southerners believed that high tariffs, or taxes on imported goods, would scare away the foreign markets that bought their crops. For these reasons the South was against tariffs.

Culture and Life in the South revolved around the small, wealthy class of planter and the agricultural system they controlled. Planters were the aristocracy, or upper-class, of the South. They lived like country gentleman of England and ran the political and economic life of the South. Plantations were far apart and developed their own communities, much like small towns. Recreational activities included such things as fox hunting, dancing, horse racing, and watching dog or chicken fights. There were few schools or churches in the South, since neither education nor religion were very organized. The best educated were often the sons of rich planters. On plantations there were sometimes small schools, and often planters hired private tutors to each their children until they were sent off to private schools. Small farmers had little or no education.

Methods of long-distance transports, such as steamships and railroads, affected the South because products could more easily be sold to more distant markets by using them. By 1860 about 10,000 miles of railroad spread across the Southern states. While this was enough to sell Southern crops more easily, it still was not nearly as vast a railroad system as the North. Meanwhile, hundreds of steamboats moved Southern crops to the North and to European markets.

When contrasting the North and South in the antebellum period, you must consider the differences in major areas: climate, geography, population, cities, economy, culture and transportation. The North has a climate of warm summers and snowy cold winters. From a geographic standpoint, the terrain is rocky, hilly, making the soil poor for farming. These conditions along with a short growing season made farming difficult. As a result, most Northern farms were “subsistence” farms, or personal farms where farmers grew food or supplies for themselves or their families. Most of the forest was made up of trees that would be used for shipbuilding. There are many sheltered bays and inlets on the Atlantic coast. Settlers found that ships could sail along wide rivers into many of these bays. Most of the rivers are fast, shallow, and hard to navigate. At a certain point, called the Fall Line—a plateau over which eastward-flowing rivers fell onto the western plains —the many waterfalls of most rivers made them no longer navigable. At the Fall Line many ships dropped their cargo. Cities, which served as trading centers, grew up at these points. Soon people realized that the waterfalls were a cheap source of energy, and the water’s power began to be used to run factories.

The period between 1800 and 1860 brought rapid population growth throughout the United States. In the North, the overall population rose from about 5 million people to 31 million during these 60 years. Part of this increase was due to massive immigration. Between 1830 and 1850 along, over 2 million Irish, German and other northern Europeans arrived in the United States. Most of them settled in the North, where for many of them, it was easy to get a job. Also, unlike the South, where slaves made up almost 1/3 of the total population, most Northern states were “free states” that had not legally allowed the practice of slavery for years.

Cities in the North thrived as centers of business. They were set up along the Atlantic coast and served as centers of trade between the North and European nations. They were centers of manufacturing of textiles (cloth goods) and other products. Throughout the 1800s, many people from rural New England moved to the cities looking for employment opportunities. In 1800, about 5 percent of the population lived in cities, but by 1850, nearly 15 percent did. Increased trade and manufacturing drew many laborers to towns to work. As a result, however, cities were often crowded and dirty. Streets were narrow and unclean. Harbors for boats were not secured, and were poorly kept. Without public sanitation, many city dwellers poured waste or garbage into the streets. And without adequate police forces, crime rates grew. Not until after 1830’s were harbors and streets improved, sanitation systems were started, and police forces were created. Public services such as education began to take root. Northern cities became important centers of art, culture, and education. Most cities printed newspapers and books and provided many forms of recreation, such as dancing, card playing, and theater. The Northern economy was based on many different industries, including shipping, cloth textiles, lumber, furs, and mining. The majority of people who lived on small farms found that much of the land was suited for subsistence farming—raising food crops and livestock for family use—rather than producing goods to export, or send to other countries.

Northerners stated to use their “ingenuity” to manufacture all kinds of goods. For instance, the mills of Lowell, MA, used new technologies alongside new methods of production to increase the amount of wools and textiles they could produce. In addition, women first earned the opportunity to work outside of the home through these new mills and factories. With the use of waterpower and coal for steam plants, manufacturing developed quickly. Items such as textiles, iron, and ships were manufactured in great quantities. These goods were traded for foreign products, transported to and from all continents by trading ships. To protect its industries from foreign competition, the North favored high tariffs, or taxes on goods coming in from other countries. If taxes on foreign goods were higher, they would cost more when sold in the United States. As a result, U.S. manufacturers could compete with cheaper prices of goods from overseas. The growth of trade, manufacturing and transportation brought many changes to cities in the North. Cities took on an increasingly important role in determining the culture of the North. Unlike the South, Northern cities developed free of slavery, and allowed many opportunities for free African Americans. Merchants, manufacturers, wage earners, and new business owners also brought new ideas to the North. The majority of Northerners were Protestant Christians. Villages became strong centers of community activities. Both religion and education were organized in towns and cities in a way that the South had failed to do. Most towns had both schools and churches. Public education grew in the North, as well, after the 1830’s. More and more young men attended public schools. Still, colleges or universities were reserved mostly for the wealthy.

During the first half of the 1800’s, transportation vastly improved and the size of the United States more than doubled. By 1860 there were over 88,000 miles of surfaced (or paved) roads. Canals, mostly built in the North, were a cheap source of transportation. The Erie Canal was clearly a success for New York commercial activities. Many other cities began to follow suit and within a decade a system of over 3,000 canals provided water transportation between the Eastern seaboard and rivers in the West. Not long after the first railroad were laid, and by 1850, 30,000 miles of tracks connected distant parts of the United States. Most of the new rail lines were in the North.

Read more

The Gaze, Sight and Visual Symbolism

January 12, 2021 by Essay Writer

Although Margaret Hale and John Thornton do not fall in love ‘at first sight,’ sight, or gazing, plays an important role in the asymmetrical power relations implicit in the courtship of the protagonists in Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South. Laura Mulvey’s 1975 essay, “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema,” introduced the now-familiar concept of the gaze. Taking the work of Sigmund Freud and Jacques Lacan as the basis for her theory, Mulvey argues that “in a world ordered by sexual imbalance, pleasure in looking has been split between active/male and passive/female” (39). The voyeuristic gaze, traditionally wielded by a male, has the ability to reduce a woman – that is, fetishize or objectify her – in a way that renders her passive. Mulvey explicates Freud’s concept of scopophilia, or pleasure in looking, and asserts that in “their traditional exhibitionist role women are simultaneously looked at and displayed, with their appearance coded for strong visual and erotic impact” (40). While Mulvey’s theory is based in film studies, Nalini Paul suggests that “the phenomenon of gazing in literature strikes relevant parallels with gazing in film theory” (1). Thus, the application of this theory to North and South sheds light on the exchange of power within the courtship of Margaret and John. To be sure, while John finds erotic pleasure in seeing Margaret, his gaze upon her does not reduce her or render her passive; in fact, Margaret’s attractive physical appearance and ability to appropriate the gaze endows her with authority over John, and leads to a constant and reciprocal exchange of power that culminates in their marriage.

The power dynamics of the relationship between Margaret and John are immediately established in their first meeting in Milton. Gaskell writes: “Mr. Thornton was a good deal more surprised and discomfited than [Margaret]” at meeting “a young lady of a different type to most of those he was in the habit of seeing” (58). His bewilderment is compounded when she returns his gaze with a “simple, straight, unabashed look” (58). Upon seeing Margaret, John realizes she is different from most of the women he has encountered before, and more specifically, those he commonly “sees” or looks upon. John’s expectations are further troubled when she blatantly stares back as him. Her stare is “simple,” supposedly because she does not realize the socially awkward or perhaps inappropriate nature of the look she returns. Of course, at this point in the narrative Margaret has had little social interaction with possible suitors (with the exception of Mr. Lennox, whom she never considers as such) and is unaware of the implications of her stare. The initial looks exchanged between the two characters are figured overtly in relation to authority and power. Gaskell notes: “Mr. Thornton was in habits of authority himself, but she seemed to assume some kind of rule over him at once” (58). Margaret is unpredictable for she returns John’s gaze, and in so doing figures herself as an equal – not inferior – individual. From the outset Margaret exerts personal sway over John, albeit unconsciously, through her gaze. Contrary to Mulvey’s expectations, Margaret is not rendered passive but rather wields power through her own gaze.

In the same initial scene, John’s gaze upon Margaret becomes scopophilic; her continuing return of the gaze, however, further undercuts the power – in the possessive sense – typically associated with the voyeuristic male gaze. Gaskell writes of Margaret and John:

She sat facing him and facing the light; her full beauty met his eye; her round flexible throat rising out of the full, yet lithe figure; her lips, moving so lightly as she spoke…her eyes, with their soft gloom, meeting his with quiet maiden freedom. He almost said to himself he did not like her…to compensate for that mortified feeling, that while he looked upon her with an admiration he could not repress, she looked at him with proud indifference… (59)

Margaret’s physical description is decidedly erotic and highly sexualized. The narrative sketch focuses on her bare throat, her limber physique, and her lips. John looks curiously at Margaret’s body, which Mulvey emphasizes is a “function of sexual instinct” (39). This objectifying process, for John, is a positive one; his “admiration” of her suggests pleasure, approval or agreeable surprise in beholding her attractive appearance. The pleasing feeling of looking upon Margaret is disturbed, however, by the gaze she once again returns. Her eyes have “maiden freedom”; she is naïve and fails to recognize the sexually charged nature of their glances. Interestingly, while Margaret is unaware of the power dynamics aligned with the gaze, John is uncomfortably aware – he is embarrassed to feel so much pleasure in looking at her and resents her effortless ability to make him question his own feelings. Consequently, while John’s scopophilic gaze figures Margaret as a sexual and erotic spectacle, her unfettered return of the gaze prevents her from simply becoming a passive object.

As the romance plot continues to develop throughout North and South, John’s erotic gaze upon Margaret begins to determine his actions and thoughts. Even after she rejects his marriage offer, John, more than ever, feels the need to gaze upon Margaret. To justify visiting the Hales, John brings the ailing Mrs. Hale a second basket of fruit. He tells himself that “he would not – say rather, he could not – deny himself the pleasure of seeing Margaret. He had no end in it but the present gratification” (217). His gaze is overtly scopophilic – he yearns only for the pleasure he gets in gazing upon Margaret. To John, Margaret is continues to be a sexual and pleasing object to behold. Yet while he finds pleasure in seeing her, this urge actually controls his actions more than it controls Margaret’s. He is, in a sense, possessed by the need to see her. The need is so great that he questions if he is “bewitched by those beautiful eyes” (192), further strengthening the connection between sight and sexual attraction. John’s desire to gaze upon Margaret reaches self-abusive heights. Upon hearing of Mrs. Hales death, John thinks of Margaret: “For all his pain, he wished to see the author of it. Although he hated Margaret at times, when of thought of that gentle familiar attitude and all the attendant circumstances, he had a resting desire to renew her picture in his mind” (247). Margaret causes John extreme emotional distress, and yet he continually feels the urge to see her again. To counter his growing preoccupation with his unrequited love, John vows to “see as little of her as possible – since the very sight of that face and form…had such power to move him from balance” (306). Indeed, the sight of Margaret does less to control her than it does to control John. His obsessive need to gaze upon her actually dominates his consciousness, and has an irresistible “power” over him.

Critics E. Ann Kaplan and Mary Ann Doane argue that men are not the exclusive bearer of the look, but even when a female appropriates the gaze she fails to inherit its agency (121, 1). This is not true of Margaret. Margaret is a notably active heroine in North and South, and this characteristic unquestionably plays into her courtship with John. Margaret is the object of John’s gaze, and yet Margaret reverses this formation by studying John and therefore becoming the subject of the gaze. She tells her father that John is “the first specimen of a manufacturer – of a person engaged in trade – that I ever had the opportunity of studying, papa. I know he is good of his kind, and by and by I shall like the kind” (152). Margaret figures herself as the observer, the studier, and the scientist, while John becomes the object of study, the “specimen.” Her dehumanizing and condescending rhetoric places her in a superior position to her object of study – John. Later in the novel, after the two have been separated for over a year, she still plays the role of the scientist inspecting her specimen. Gaskell writes: “Margaret was watching Mr. Thornton’s face. He never looked at her; so she might study him unobserved, and note the changes which even this short time had wrought in him…” (389) This passage also focuses on sight and observation, and places Margaret in the dominant position as the studier and subject of the gaze.

The agency aligned with Margaret’s gaze is more overtly demonstrated in the scene in which John comes to propose after Margaret shields him from his violent and disgruntled workers. Margaret is thoroughly offended that John would think her actions were based in love and not womanly duty. “’You had nothing to be grateful for,’ said she, raising her eyes and looking full and straight at him…her very eyes…fell not nevertheless from their grave and steady look” (176). She denies having romantic feelings for John, and bluntly rejects his marriage offer. Her glaring eyes reflect her outright defiance of John’s intentions. No longer is her gaze “maiden” and “simple,” but it is rather deliberately severe and threatening. Margaret’s rejection of a well-off suitor is a bold move considering the particular social and historical milieu, and her fiery gaze is reflective of this audacious decision. In essence, Margaret’s appropriation of the gaze, and the authority therein, allows her an active role in the narrative and a strong degree of power over the male protagonist.

In the end, both Margaret and John willingly submit themselves to the other’s gaze; in so doing, they allow their relationship to culminate in a mutually satisfying marriage. After a year apart, the two meet once again. Gaskell writes that Margaret looked “up straight into his face with her speaking eyes” and then dropped “them under his eloquent glance. He gazed back at her for a minute” (392). Margaret returns the gaze at first, but eventually submits to John’s. Taking into account the idea of the gaze and power as closely aligned, it is clear that Margaret’s downward glance forfeits the agency and power she has wielded with her gaze throughout the previous sections of the novel. Furthermore, while she looks away John continues to gaze upon her. In this way he becomes the dominant actor in the interaction. The exchange of power between the protagonists becomes most significant in the final passages of North and South. Gaskell writes:

For an instant she looked up; and then sought to veil her luminous eyes by dropping her forehead onto her hands…still lower the head; more closely hidden was the face…after a minute or two, he gently disengaged her hands from her face, and laid her arms as they had once before been placed to protect him from the rioters…she slowly faced him, glowing with beautiful shame. (394-5)

Margaret, once again, begins by returning John’s gaze, but physically conceals her gaze with her own hands. John, in disengaging her hands, invites her to return the gaze. As she faces him, we can assume that he, too, is looking at her. The exchange of the gaze in this scene attests to the changed power dynamic between the two characters. Both Margaret and John are now the subject and object of their lover’s gaze, submitting themselves to each other through the reciprocal exchange of power. It is only through this exchange of power that the two lovers can come together in marriage. Gaskell writes that “so much was understood through the eyes that cannot be put into words” (235), and indeed, their exchange of looks signals their commitment to one another in matrimony.

Contrary to Mulvey’s central argument, John is not the exclusive bearer of the gaze in North and South. The gaze he directs towards Margaret is scopophilic, to be sure, and yet the gaze she returns – a gaze aligned power and agency – allows her to reject the objectifying gaze that would render her passive. In taking Laura Mulvey’s gaze theory as an apparatus with which to understand the dynamics of the courtship plot, one is better able to investigate the complex and unique approach to romance that Gaskell takes in North and South.

Read more

Relations between North and South Korea

January 12, 2021 by Essay Writer

North Korea has accepted South Korea’s proposal for official talks in what will be the first high-level contact between the two countries in more than two years. North and South Korean athletes will march together at the Winter Olympics opening ceremony under a unified flag, the South said Wednesday, in a diplomatic breakthrough following days of talks between the two countries. The nations have also agreed to form a joint North and South Korean women’s ice hockey team for the Games in Pyeongchang, which begin early next month, South Korea’s unification ministry said. The unification ministry announced a range of joint activities between the countries for the Games, following talks Wednesday at the demilitarized zone (DMZ).North and South Korean skiers will train together at a resort in North Korea before the Olympics start, and performers from the two countries will also hold a joint cultural event at Mount Kumgang. North Korea will also send around 230 supporters to cheer on its athletes. A smaller delegation of North Korean athletes and supporters will attend the Paralympics, the ministry said.

The Korean Unification Flag features a blue silhouette of the peninsula and outlying islands. The two countries have marched under the flag before, in rare shows of unity, first at the 1991 World Table Tennis Championships, and at a number of sporting events since. It was most recently used at the 2006 Winter Games in Turin, Italy. The International Olympics Committee (IOC) would need to approve the countries’ agreements, and those that affect competition, such as the joint hockey team, could be more complicated than the ceremonial proposals. The committee said Wednesday it had received a number of “interesting proposals” that it would discuss with delegates from both countries in Switzerland on Saturday.“We are sure that the two Korean delegations will present their ideas and proposals at the meeting on Saturday in Lausanne. This will then enable the IOC to carefully evaluate the consequences and the potential impact on the Olympic Games and the Olympic competitions”, it said in a statement.

While the two sides have earned praise for ratcheting down military tensions in recent weeks, some of Seoul’s allies voiced concern Wednesday that Pyongyang may be using the talks to buy time to pursue its weapons program. The US military has moved more firepower to the region and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned of complacency at a Tuesday summit in Vancouver where the top diplomats from the United States, Japan, Canada and the United Kingdom were in town to discuss North Korea.

Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono called on the international community to be clear-eyed about North Korea’s motivations for participating in the talks, which have been hailed by some as the most significant thaw in ties in years. “Both Koreas are primarily utilizing the talks for a limited objective arranging the participation of a North Korean delegation in the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics”, Park said.

South Korea’s Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha said the talks were a “significant step” but acknowledged the serious challenges ahead: “Despite these overtures to improve relations with the South, North Korea has yet to show any intention to fulfill its international obligations regarding denuclearization. “North Korea has remained adamant throughout this month’s thaw in relations with South Korea that its nuclear bombs and ballistic missiles are here to stay. Kim Hee Ryung, who works at a tourism information kiosk in Gangneung, the city which will be hosting the ice sports at the Games, complained: “They didn’t really consider the South Korean players. They prepared for years to be in the Olympics but now they cannot play. Female hockey players from the rival Koreas were paired up with each other Thursday to form their first-ever Olympic squad during next month’s Pyeongchang Winter Games, as their countries press ahead with rare reconciliation steps following a period of nuclear tensions. It added that joint military drills with “outside forces” were unhelpful when better relations between North and South Korea were being sought. It came as the North’s ice hockey team – dressed in DPRK jackets – crossed the militarised border to form Korea’s first-ever unified team for next month’s Winter Olympics. North and South Korea will march under one flag as the joint team competes in Pyeongchang.

The Unification Flag, which features the entire peninsula and surrounding islands in blue on a white background, was last used in 2006 at the Winter Olympics in Italy. Athletes from the North and South will march together under one flag at the opening ceremony for the Games in Pyeongchang, which begin February 9. Athletes from North Korea will also participate in the Winter Olympics in South Korea next month. The proposals from North and South Korea had to be approved by the IOC and Pyeongchang committee before they could go ahead.

North Korea will send 22 athletes who will compete in three sports, Bach said, following a meeting between delegations from the two Koreas and Olympic officials in Lausanne, Switzerland. Of the 22 North Korean athletes, 15 will be women and seven will be men, the IOC said. They will be accompanied by 24 coaches and 21 media representatives. Female hockey players from the rival Koreas were paired up with each other Thursday to form their first-ever Olympic squad during next month’s Pyeongchang Winter Games, as their countries press ahead with rare reconciliation steps following a period of nuclear tensions.“This team will enter the Olympic Stadium under the Korean unification flag. I’m sure that this will be a very emotional moment not only for all Koreans but also for the entire world”, Bach said. He also confirmed that, for the first time in Olympic history, the two nations will enter a joint women’s ice hockey team under the name Korea. The athletes will compete in ice hockey, ice skating and skiing across five disciplines: ice hockey, figure skating, short track speed skating, cross-country skiing and alpine skiing says the IOC. Bach said reaching this outcome “Was not an easy journey” but that he was proud of what the representatives of the two Koreas, the IOC and the Pyeongchang 2018 Organizing Committee had achieved their goal.

A dozen North Korean hockey players wearing white-and-red winter clothes crossed the heavily fortified border into South Korea earlier Thursday, as about 30-40 conservative activists shouted anti-Pyongyang slogans at a nearby border area. The North Koreans traveled on to a national athletes’ village in southern South Korea, where they were welcomed by their South Korean teammates and their Canadian coach Sarah Murray, who presented them flower bouquets in an outdoor welcoming ceremony. Pak Chol Ho, a North Korean coach who arrived with the 12 athletes and two support staff, told reporters that he’s happy to team up with South Koreans. “I’m very pleased with the fact that North and South are united as one to participate in the Olympics. I expect we’ll see good results if we unite our efforts though we don’t have much time”, he said. The Koreas fielded a single team to major sports events only twice, both in 1991. One event was the world table tennis championships and the other soccer’s World Youth Championship. But this is the first time they’ve assembled a single team for the Olympics.

The Koreas explored how to cooperate in the Olympics after the North’s leader Kim Jong Un abruptly said in his New Year’s address that he was willing to send an Olympic delegation. The International Olympic Committee has allowed 22 North Korean athletes, including the 12 hockey players, to compete in Pyeongchang in exceptional entries given to the North, which initially had none for the games. The joint hockey team deal has triggered a backlash in South Korea, with a survey showing about 70 percent of respondents opposing the idea because it would deprive South Korean players of playing time. The IOC-brokered agreement requires at least three North Korean players to suit up for each game, meaning that three from South Korea’s original roster cannot play in those games. The unified Korean team will open their group action against Switzerland on Feb. 10. It will then face Sweden on Feb. 12 and Japan on Feb. 14. What draws attention is its Japan match, as many in both Koreas still harbor bitter resentment against Japan’s 35-year colonial rule that ended in 1945, three years before two different governments were formally established on the Korean Peninsula.

North and South Korean athletes will march together at the Winter Olympics opening ceremony under a unified flag, the South said Wednesday, in a diplomatic breakthrough following days of talks between the two countries. The nations have also agreed to form a joint North and South Korean women’s ice hockey team for the Games in Pyeongchang, which begin early next month, South Korea’s unification ministry said. The unification ministry announced a range of joint activities between the countries for the Games, following talks Wednesday at the demilitarized zone (DMZ).North and South Korean skiers will train together at a resort in North Korea before the Olympics start, and performers from the two countries will also hold a joint cultural event at Mount Kumgang.

North Korea will also send around 230 supporters to cheer on its athletes. A smaller delegation of North Korean athletes and supporters will attend the Paralympics, the ministry said. South Korean supporters wave unified flags at the World Student Games in August 2003 in Daegu, South Korea. The Korean Unification Flag features a blue silhouette of the peninsula and outlying islands. The two countries have marched under the flag before, in rare shows of unity, first at the 1991 World Table Tennis Championships, and at a number of sporting events since. It was most recently used at the 2006 Winter Games in Turin, Italy. The International Olympics Committee (IOC) would need to approve the countries’ agreements, and those that affect competition, such as the joint hockey team, could be more complicated than the ceremonial proposals.

Read more

A Look at Different Views Concerning the North and South Vietnam Bombing

January 12, 2021 by Essay Writer

Was the bombing of North and South Vietnam effective? Why or why not? How does one define “effective’ from the American and Vietnamese perspective.

Around 1964, the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution was passed, allowing for President Johnson use of any sort of military power without any formal declaration of war. This would subsequently lead to Operation Rolling Thunder, a series of attacks and bombings on Vietnam. The main purpose of the bombings was to demonstrate the United States’ air supremacy, and essentially show off their big guns to scare the Viet Cong. However, there was a limitation to such bombings, as the United States was restricted from what they could actually bomb in “fear of provoking a Soviet/Chinese response” (Trueman). Objectively, Operation Rolling Thunder had two main purposes: destroy the morale of the North Vietnamese, and prevent the flow of weapons and military from the North to the South (Valentine). The results were quite the opposite. In regards to United States casualties: “Due to operational circumstances, more than 900 U.S. aircraft were lost, 745 crewmen was shot down. According to an estimate by CIA, damage inflicted by U.S. bombardment in North Vietnam was about $370 million in physical destruction and 90,000 casualties, including 72,000 civilians” (Valentine). Even then, Operation Rolling Thunder would only further heighten morale in North Vietnam. The North Vietnamese would use the bombings as propaganda in order to foster more hatred and resentment against the United States. Additionally, the war would only be extended to the south, and the Viet Cong were well supplied. Ultimately, making the bombing of North Vietnam ineffective.

In terms of defining the effectiveness, one must evaluate the objectives of any sort of offensive campaign. In regards to the American perspective, it can be evaluated that the attacks were ineffective. This is because the main objectives of their campaign was to destroy Viet Cong morale and essentially show their military might. This was ineffective because it only fostered greater morale for the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese. The Viet Cong used these bombings as a tool to criminalize and depict the United States in an unfavorable light. This would mobilize both the already established followers of Ho Chi Minh as well as the peasants that were on the fence in supporting either the ARVN or the Viet Cong forces. This failure in achieving such an objective might even have been detrimental to the United States as it brought forth a greater resiliency of the Viet Cong to win in a war that they were greatly committed and passionate about. The second objective was to prevent and destroy further advancement into the South. This was obviously a failure as soon the Viet Cong would eventually launch a Tet Offensive and the Viet Cong forces would have no problem with getting into the south and infiltrating the establishments there. This was evidenced by Heyslip’s narrative, showing how the Viet Cong were prominent influences in changing the perspectives of the southern peasantry. Because the Americans did not fulfill their objectives, and ultimately their attacks would only lead to putting them in a worse position, these attacks can be evaluated as ineffective.

In regards to the Vietnamese perspective of “effectiveness”, Operation Rolling Thunder would be very great, only for the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese forces, however. These bombings can be seen as “effective” simply because, the North Vietnamese only progressed further and grew even stronger as a result of the attacks. One of the biggest weapons the Viet Cong had was a strong sense of nationalism and patriotism, these two factors would fuel support in the war no matter how difficult it seemed for the Viet Cong. These attacks allowed them to create propaganda that would only further ignite this fuel and make it stronger. Therefore, from a Vietnamese perspective, the bombings were very effective in mobilizing support, perhaps not as effective as people ended up dying as a result. Thus in evaluating the Vietnamese perspective, one must consider the broader implications of such a result and see how the northern government capitalized on such bombings and what it did to the morale and the overall outcome of the war.

Read more

The Civil War between The Northern and Southern States of America

January 12, 2021 by Essay Writer

The civil War started in 1861 after 11 Southern states succeeded from the Union. The fight between The Northern and Southern States of America lasted until 1865. 680,000 to 800,000 men died. Slavery, States rights, Lincoln’s election, and the differences between the North and South caused the Civil War because they impacted Americans in a cultural, political, geographical, and sociological way. It seems only reasonable to start with the most prevalent cause of the civil war and that would be the cultural perspective of the Civil War. The South’s economy was based off farming.

In fact, many argue that at this time the South was a one crop-economy. Two-thirds of Southerners owned no slaves, but because of the persistent need to keep up the farms, slavery was embedded into the economy. Starting way before the war, many Southerners believed they were not getting enough states’ rights. This political problem is often debated on its importance; however, the topic did cause many arguments and violent altercations. “An episode that best depicts this sentiment was the aftermath of a scathing speech in June 1856 by an abolitionist U. S. Senator against the pro-slavery settlers in Kansas. Two days later, a Southern congressman walked into the Senate and severely beat the abolitionist with a gold walking cane.

Typically, this crime is punishable with a stiff fine and a time in jail. In the South, it made the congressman a hero, and inspired the following editorial in the Richmond Enquirer, a major Southern newspaper: “These vulgar abolitionists in the Senate are getting above themselves”, the editors wrote. “They have grown saucy and dare to be impudent to gentlemen! Now, they are a low, mean, scurvy set, with some little book learning, but as utterly devoid of spirit or honor as a peck of curs”. “…The truth is that they have been suffered to run too long without collars”.

“They must be lashed into submission…Let them once understand that for every vile word spoken against the South, they will suffer so many stripes, and they will soon learn to behave themselves, like decent dogs – they can never be gentlemen…” (Causes of the American Civil War). This quote perfectly sums up a lot of fights that took place as the tension grew between the North and South. Nonsense fights, and newspapers full of harsh words were everywhere. “Douglas, a leading Democrat in Congress, had pushed through the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act (1854), which declared that the voters of each territory, rather than the federal government, had the right to decide whether the territory should be slave or free,” (Abraham Lincoln). A large contributor to the Civil War had to do with the differences between the North and South, and the disputes that later took place because of them. In the Northern states industry was growing more prevalent, and soon became the groundwork of their economy.

The north also had the advantage with more abundant natural resources. Differences soon started to become apparent in 1860 when a quarter of all Northerners lived in urban areas while only one-tenth of Southerners lived in urban areas. Between 1800 and 1860 the percentage of laborers working in agriculture dropped from 70% to 40%. The Southern states providing most of that with 80% of their work force on the farm.

Read more

Presentation of Social Class Realities and Interactions

July 28, 2019 by Essay Writer

North and South is a condition of England novel which, like Gaskell’s earlier work Mary Barton, sought to give a voice to the working class and expose the middle and upper classes to their suffering through the medium of literature. Published in 1854, and written in the style of a Bildungsroman, North and South explores the geographical and social divide amid the industrialised town of Milton, and the picturesque hamlet of Helstone. The characters of Bessy Higgins, Boucher, and the protagonist, Margaret Hale herself, to at least some degree, each embody Gaskell’s presentation of the poor and working class in Milton. Through an in-depth consideration of these and others characters relationships and interactions, the social divide within the early nineteenth century England will be illuminated.

The town of Milton, located in the north of England, and presumed to be an interpretation of industrial Manchester, is a location which is used by Gaskell to contrast the “idyllic hamlet” of Helstone in the south. The contrasting geographical locations in Gaskell’s novel, are illustrative of the social divide throughout England in the Industrial Revolution. Milton is predominantly inhabited by factory workers who are for the most part impoverished, implied largely by their seemingly constant “clemmin”. By comparison, Milton is also home to several characters of contrast who live the affluent lifestyles of a “Master”. John Thornton is the owner of the Marlborough Mills in Milton, which is infamous in the north for its successful production of cotton. Gaskell’s novel depicts the encroachment of capitalist values into a somewhat feudal-system society, which therefore explains to a certain extent, her unforgiving yet empathetic depiction of the poor. Capitalism has the capability to alter relationships between humans, but also between that of a man and his surrounding landscape, whereby illustrated in this novel through Thornton seeing the Marlborough Mills in Milton as an economic benefit, and cares not for the physical well being of his employees. The Thornton’s descriptions of their employees both as “hounds” and “fools” degrades them almost to a sub-human status, emphasizing their perception of them merely as “hands.” It is therefore believed that before the creation of the welfare state, the workers had no support system in times of strife, which is implied in the misery and hardship of the poor in Milton, who often only have a “black miserable frizzle of a dinner.”

The life and death of Bessy Higgins in Gaskell’s novel illustrates the many adversities which the working class encounter upon living and working in Milton. Upon moving to Milton, Margaret Hale befriends Bessy, who like Margaret, is a young lady whom necessitates to find a purpose in the entrepreneurial climate of Milton. Bessy is presented to be an extremely sick young girl, who as a result of working in a cotton mill, has inhaled a treacherously large amount of “fluff” into her lungs. Bessy is therefore too ill to even consider leaving her own home, and as the novel progresses, becomes increasingly immobile. Consequential to her illness, Bessy’s disposition often changes; she is at times calm and resigned with her fate, whereby she seeks comfort in religion, but at other moments, her character is illustrated to be delirious and raving. In this sense, Bessy Higgins exemplifies the differences in opinion of many of the inhabitants of Milton; those who are accepting of their way of life, which for the majority is destined to remain cold and bleak, but also of those who find it their best interest to take action and bring about change, which culminates in Chapter XIX with the “turn out” of the factory workers.

Furthermore, Bessy’s friendship with Margaret helps the protagonist understand the manners and activities of the working class in the Milton society, and although their opinions of social norms differ, arguably Margaret is ameliorated for knowing and befriending her. Gaskell’s use of dialect and colloquialisms moreover highlights and to a certain extent alienates the societal class divisions in Milton, alongside giving the population a sense of identity. Margaret adopts the so-called “factory-slang” and as the novel progresses, her tone and mannerisms become more of those of a woman from Milton. In a ‘breach of convention’, Margaret is depicted to be, as Patricia Ingham describes, “on the wrong side of the class divide by the casual use of a few dialect terms in contexts where the workmen and their families might use them.”[1] The poor’s “slang” however is seen by Mrs Hale as vulgar and unrefined, however Margaret’s response illustrates the extent to which her character grows to understand the language, and arguably therefore the identity, of the people she has come to live with in Milton; “And if I live in a factory town, I must speak factory language when I speak it. Why, mamma, I could astonish you with a great many words you never heard in your life.” Margaret’s spirited tone demonstrates the degree to which she believes how the way a person’s speaking and their dialect, reflects their sign of class. Margaret actively seeks to understand, as can be seen in her many conversations with Mr Higgins and Bessy Higgins, as well as in a significant conversation with John Thornton in which they discuss their different interpretations of “man” and “gentleman”. In this way, Gaskell presents Margaret to embody cultural mediation, illustrated through her use of the poor’s “slang”, which comes to be representative of each character’s identity.

The tragic character of John Boucher furthermore depicts the harsh, material conditions of the lives of the working class population in Milton. Gaskell illustrates Boucher to be a workingman who refuses to join the Union Committee in the town. Boucher’s “children are hungry ad are not yet old enough to work for themselves; his wife exerts continuous pressure on him; and the Union exercises a “slow, lingering torture” that prevents him from making his own decisions.”[2] In consequence to these hardships, Boucher drowns himself in a brook where “there’s not water enough to drown him,” illustrating that he was a “determined chap. He lay with his face downwards. He was sick enough o’ living, choose what cause he had for it.” Gaskell depicts the suicide of Boucher, which although is heartrending for his six children who are representative of many of the “clemmin” youth in Milton, in the long-term, the suicide is exercised to encourage Nicholas Higgins to temper his class antagonism and ask for work from the “masters” that he originally opposed in the strike. The presentation of Boucher, who the reader later discovers is of Irish descent; Margaret exclaims that “I would guess from their tones that they had Irish blood in them”, which illustrates how Boucher’s determination for an alternative future confirms “the inability of the Irish to be incorporated into England’s developmental times.”[3]

Elizabeth Gaskells North and South depicts the punitive conditions in which the working class lived throughout the industrialization of England in the mid-1850s. The presentation of characters including John Boucher, Bessy and Nicholas Higgins and their interactions with those from a more privileged background, highlights the fact that North and South celebrates characters that subordinate alternative futures and synthesise multiple cultural times. Furthermore, it is significant that both the characters of Bessy and Boucher eventually die in the novel, and Gaskell uses death to open the eyes of the middle class to the suffering of the lower, whilst simultaneously forcing the lower to realize the positive effects of the middle class influence.

[1] E. Gaskell, North and South (1853) Penguin Classics: London. p. xii

[2] Scholl, L. Place and Progress in the Works of Elizabeth Gaskell. (2015)

[3] Ibid.

Read more

Women Entering the Public Sphere

July 11, 2019 by Essay Writer

Margaret Hale in Gaskell’s condition of England novel; North and South enters the public sphere of industrialised Milton. As a form of Bildungsroman, this ‘Manchester’ novel illustrates the representation of industrial life and their purchase on the relations of workers and masters, labour and capital, while depicting Margaret’s first encounters with this world. It is suggested that middle-class women upon entering the public sphere, in this case only one woman; Margaret entering Milton, face some form of danger.

In North and South the greatest danger Margaret confronts, is the potential threat to her own personal livelihood, both physically, morally and physiologically, exemplified in Chapter XXII A Blow and its Consequences, where she is struck by a stone meant for Mr. John Thornton. Margaret’s sheltered and somewhat passive childhood at Helstone undoubtedly juxtaposes her existence and coming into the public sphere in Milton. The “idyllic Helstone” represented Margaret’s feminine lifestyle of discussions concerning fine silks and reading novels, and the reader infers a great sense of gender role-reversal upon entering and residing in Milton. Margaret arguably adopts a more traditionally masculine role in Milton, first noted in the fact it is she who must arrangements for the choosing and purchasing of her new home, not her father Mr. Hale. This gender fluidity from the one perspective enables Margaret to live a life challenging the status quo of what she believes is an unjust society, where “masters and men” and the treatment of “hands” as cash nexuses represent social inequality.

There are alternative interpretations as to what inspired Margaret’s desire to question this injustice. Margaret debatably is a product of her father who finds the strength to challenge The Articles of the Anglican Church, which is the most pertinent reasoning for her coming to Milton originally. Alternatively, it is through Margaret’s affections towards Mr. Thornton that she enforces her opinion of social injustice, made abundantly clear where upon she stands, firstly alongside and then ahead of Thornton to face the strike. Margaret denies her feelings for Thornton on many occasions, perhaps so as to not appear weakened by emotion, and one example of this strong exterior is where her character fiercely denying that it was “a personal act between you and me”. This exterior strength is juxtaposed in this chapter when Margaret is struck by a stone “meant for [Thornton]” which produces a “thread of dark-red blood”. This one bold act of courage from Margaret not only implies her assertion of her opinion, but also of her place in society, and upon realizing a more masculine character is required, exemplified in her emasculating language when she tells Thornton to “Go down and face them like a man” she is able to physically place herself within the “masters and men” politics of Milton. Margaret therefore uses the refashioning of gender boundaries as a means to overcome the physical danger she places herself in during the “turn-out”. Margaret’s entering into the public sphere of Milton brings her out of her interiority. This coming into the ‘real world’ is positive for her character, as if not, an interiority can distort one’s sense of reality and identity.

In order to represent the psychic consequences of overwhelming experience, Gaskell draws on the language of dream and trance. Through this she implies that the experience of emotional upheaval, which Margaret faces often, can be tantamount to entering an altered state of consciousness, for example Margaret likens the news of her father’s decision to leave the Church as “a night-mare – a horrid dream – not the real waking truth!” Gaskell’s recourse to the language of dreams allows her to suggest the jolt that Margaret’s perception of reality has suffered as a result of her mother’s illness. Margaret’s expulsion of interiority somewhat allows the friendship between her character and the Higgins’ family to be born. The relationship she builds with fellow nineteen year-old Bessy Higgins, illustrates the dangers of emotional distress which a middle-class woman can face upon entering the public sphere. Bessy, like Margaret, is a young lady who necessitates to find a purpose in the entrepreneurial climate of Milton. Bessy is presented to be an extremely sick young girl, who as a result of working in a cotton mill, has inhaled a treacherously large amount of “fluff” into her lungs. Bessy is therefore too ill to even consider leaving her own home, and as the novel progresses, becomes increasingly immobile.

Gaskell presents the interactions between her and Margaret in order to show the reader the protagonist’s ability to interact compassionately with the public sphere, and Margaret’s apparent mothering of Bessy, resultant of their family’s lack of a mother figure, illustrates Miss. Hale’s feminine role in the novel. Margaret’s discontentment with the social injustice of Milton is amplified when Bessy dies, and this outpouring of emotion arguably contributes to Margaret’s impulsive public actions – saving Thornton from the mob and secondly lying to a policeman to save her brother, which are from a part of the self that is not under conscious control. The implication of Margaret’s lie depicts her characters willingness to purge herself for those who she cares for; and on entering the public sphere, these people become more than her closest family.

Gaskell regularly reminds the reader of Margaret’s beautiful physical form, most notably her facial features, which is debatably why Mr. Thornton’s initially enamors himself with Margaret. Gaskell portrays the protagonist as delicate and serene in her appearance, which is antagonistic to the impression of her rebelliousness which we see in Chapter’s including XXXIV False and True. Margaret’s beauty once more caught a character – the police-inspector, off-guard by her haughtiness and steely, quiet reserve. Mr. Bell, Margaret’s godfather, rationalises the lie to Miss. Hale by referring to the “temptation” as “strong, instinctive motive”. The self-forgotten or possessed is invoked both here in Margaret’s lie but also to explain her impulsive actions at the strike: Margaret wonders “what possessed” her to defend Thornton. And after lying to defend Frederick, she tried to recall that “she has lied to save him”. Each of these occasions on which Margaret feels possessed or cannot recall what prompted her action is also accompanied by a scene of swooning or loss of consciousness. Margaret’s loss of consciousness and stunned faculties, where she “fell prone on the floor in a dead swoon”, make her seem a conventional “fainting Victorian heroine”, which juxtaposes her supposed masculine qualities of strength and rebellion. On entering the industrialised public sphere of Milton, Margaret both confronts and refashions the challenging dangers. Margaret’s ability to stand up for what she believes in has the capability to inspire the likes of Higgins and the striking “hands” to search for a greater social justice. Gaskell presents Margaret to be somewhat oblivious to the dangers which encircle her in Milton, as in consequence, Margaret is rewarded with the power to be able to refashion the society, which as a woman growing up, is placed to live and flourish in.

Read more

North and South: Dominated by the struggle of powerful personalities

June 4, 2019 by Essay Writer

Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South is a novel dominated by the struggle of powerful personalities. The Bildungsroman style of novel explores the coming of age of Margaret Hale, the nineteen year old protagonist, and the ‘struggles’ she faces and the preoccupations she is ‘struggling’ with. Alongside Margaret, Gaskell presents characters including Mr. Thornton, Mr. Hale, and Nicholas Higgins, all of whom, in some sense have a powerful personality, which may not be authoritatively or physically ‘powerful’, but as a character who plays a ‘powerful’ literary role within the scope of the novel. Through close analysis of Gaskell’s choice of language, structure and form, the ‘struggle’ of each character can be assessed through the presentation and exploration of the social concerns which are related with autonomy and the value of class in the context of 1850’s England.

Margaret Hale’s character, as the protagonist, dominates Gaskell’s novel. Gaskell’s own working title for her novel, first published in Dicken’s Household Words between 1854 and 1855, was ‘Margaret Hale’, which illuminates her character’s significance. However the altered title; North and South, proposed by Dicken’s himself, suggests that Margaret’s personal struggles, appear “secondary” to the wider theme of class conflict.[1] Margaret’s character does herself struggle with class conflict, and more specifically female autonomy, exemplified in her developing relationship with Bessy Higgins; Margaret considers “more sorrowfully than Bessy did, of the contrast between them.” The “contrast” seemingly appears to be problematic enough for Gaskell to pose Margaret to “sorrowfully” reflect on the differences between the two friends, which at the moment of reflection, mirrors Margaret’s evolving opinions of the people of the North. Margaret appears to observe the behaviour of everyone she is contact with, process it, and adopt the parts that will serve to improve her own character. She also uses every uncomfortable or difficult moment to improve her character, both consciously and unconsciously, which exemplifies the struggle for her female self-determination amid her relationship with Mr. John Thornton.

Margaret does not accept the assumption that women are inferior in any particular, and revels in her eloquence and personal strength; which is often evident in her convincing and somewhat provocative tone. For instance Margaret flirtatiously provokes disagreement from Mr. Thornton when discussing the debated topic of class struggle in Milton, in the North, “’But’, said Margaret in a low voice”, with “what she said only [irritating] him.” The hushed tone of Margaret implies that she understands that her rebuttal is controversial, and that contextually for a lady to speak out against a man in the patriarchal society in which her character is struggling to comes to terms with, illuminates Margaret’s true personality. Margaret’s true character is one who must deal with her suppressed feelings for John Thornton, a man who she considers to be below her social status, which is evidence therefore to suggest that her ‘powerful personality’ confronts the struggles of class conflict, which is a recurrent theme throughout the novel.

The relationship between Margaret Hale and Mr. Thornton personifies the social divide between the North and South; and the struggle for Margaret to evolve into a less audacious, outspoken, Southerner. “The North in mid-Victorian fiction is not merely a place by a figure for capitalist values for which Manchester was often the symbol”[2], illustrates Gaskell’s presentation of Thornton’s conventional attitude to the government determining the political economy, and that how, as a multi-faceted, sympathetic character, he exemplifies how a man from the North does not have to have his ability to succeed, squandered by his social class. Mr. Thornton struggles to justify with Margaret how he believes that “It is one of the great beauties if our system, that a working-man may raise himself into the power and position of a master.” Although Gaskell suggests to her middle class readership that Margaret struggles with her affection she feels toward Mr. Thornton, contrastingly, Thornton seemingly has no difficulty whatsoever. The literary use of free indirect discourse within the omniscient narrative, exemplifies the continuously conflicting opinions which the people from the North and the South use to justify to their companions, which is of use in observing the evolution of Margaret and Mr. Thornton’s relationship. Upon meeting Margaret, every detail of her character appears to fascinate Thornton, for example when taking tea at the Hale household, Thornton is presented by Gaskell to be captivated by a bracelet on Margaret’s arm, which required “re-placing”, “until it tightened her soft flesh”, Thornton “watched” Margaret struggle with this minute imperfection in her dress, so much so as to suggest he observed “with far more attention than he listened to her father.” Through examination of the couple’s relationship, Thornton’s character undergoes a transformational journey that provides Gaskell’s contemporary readership with thought-provoking questions concerning the struggle of social responsibility and how a responsible society should be managed.

By contrast, the characterization of Mrs. Hale suggests that North and South is also dominated by the struggle of personalities, though not necessarily those of ‘powerful’ ones. Mrs Hale, somewhat like her daughter Margaret, struggles with the loss of her idyllic life in Helstone, where Margaret’s depiction of the two locations, exemplifies the female character’s views of their homes, meanwhile essentially commenting on their declining social status. Margaret describes Helstone as “like a village in a poem—in one of Tennyson’s poems,” where cottages had “roses growing all over them.” The manufacturing town of Milton-Northern cannot be more different; it had a “lead-coloured cloud” hanging over it, and its air “had a faint taste and smell of smoke.” Mrs. Hale’s health declines immensely in the period of movement from the South to the North, and this physical struggle she undergoes juxtaposes the psychological turmoil she evokes of herself. A sense of regret in her choice of spouse is evident in Mrs. Hale’s character, particularly when compared to the domineering, matriarchal character of Aunt Shaw, whereby her choice of marrying for status has only been a positive one, in comparison to Mrs. Hale marrying for the love she felt for Mr. Hale, which unfortunately has led to her movement to the industrialized North. If not a ‘powerful personality’ in Gaskell’s novel, it is considered what literary purpose Mrs. Hale’s character serves, and arguably her purpose is one of satirical juxtaposition amid the characters as a whole. Whereby her refutation and dislike of all things industrialized and ‘Northern’, contrasts Margaret’s ever-changing opinions of the acquaintances she has made; exemplified in Bessy and Mr. Nicholas Higgins. Gaskell is known for writing “in the dialect,” that is, writing the way characters of a certain background speak. She does so in this novel in the case of Bessy and Nicholas Higgins, who are daughter and father, poor Milton laborers who are befriended by Miss Hale, and who play central roles in rousing her interest in the plight of the Milton workers.

Gaskell presents the theme of religion to be reason for Mr. Hale’s struggle in her novel, North and South. The novel is replete with religious and biblical references. Faith and morality are core ingredients for the existence of the central characters that are Margaret Hale and her father, Richard Hale, and is to a great extent the cause of all the Hale’s struggles related to the North. It is argued however, that Mr. Hale’s character is not readily defined as a ‘powerful personality’, implied by Gaskell’s portrayal of his ‘feminine’ features and actions. His appearance in part portrays Mr. Hale’s ‘femininity’, especially his face, in which his eyelids are “large and arched”, which give his eyes “a peculiar languid beauty which was almost feminine.” The implication of a female’s beauty being “languid” or lethargic, to the modern feminist, appears disrespectful, though one can infer it is Mr. Hale’s tenderness that evokes femininity, rather than weariness. “His timidity, weakness and emotionalism are seen, as critics have noticed, as undesirable by the narrator,” not so much because they are ‘feminine’ qualities, but more to the extent to which his excess of both female and male characteristics burden his daughter with the decisions, which in normal circumstances, would be those of a father. Margaret for instance evolves to adopt a masculine way of thinking, and is tasked with the struggle of managing the practicalities of the move to Milton, and her mother’s distress.

It is certain that Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South, is dominated by the struggle of powerful personalities, although it is not solely ‘powerful personalities’ who are depicted to be struggling. Margaret Hale, as the protagonist dominates the story line of Gaskell’s novel; and although her character may not be physically powerful though brute strength, her audacious nature and the manner with which she expresses her opinion are considered to be powerful. Somewhat similar to Margaret, Bessy Higgins is an idealist who represents vain hope within Gaskell’s novel, and it is certain that her ‘power’ is not physical. Mr. Hale furthermore represents a rather feminine character, whereby he struggles with the coming to terms of accepting the guilt of his wife’s terminal illness. From a different perspective, Mr. John Thornton represents a ‘powerful personality’ who struggles to win the heart of Margaret, whilst weakly succumbing to her outspoken behavior.

[1] E. Gaskell, North and South (1853) Penguin Classics: London. p. xii

[2] Gaskell, Ibid. p. xiii

Read more

Fredrick Hale: Viewing North and South From A Transatlantic Lens

May 28, 2019 by Essay Writer

Most literary critics agree that Margaret Hale is the central figure in Gaskell’s North and South. Margaret’s emotional, social, and psychological contexts are often analyzed with excruciating detail, as many view her story to be of principal importance. However, the narrative of Fredrick Hale, Margaret’s brother, should be viewed with the same amount of importance, if not more. Despite being viewed as a minor character, Fredrick Hale is the link by which Milton is connected to the rest of the global society. Through Fredrick, the conflicts in the novel are replicated on a transatlantic scale that is made possible by the advent of industrialization and capitalism; Fredrick’s narrative, along with his various conflicts not only mirror the context of the “Milton revolution” but also conflict in the United States and abroad. It is not often that minor characters receive five chapters devoted to them, yet Gaskell gives Fredrick’s narrative ample time to breathe. Some have made claims that Fredrick’s tales are strictly to obscure the central plot, yet they fail to look at Fredrick’s adventures from a more global perspective (Lee). By analyzing Fredrick from a global perspective, Fredrick’s narrative begins to imitate the bevy of conflicts happening in Milton as well as other transatlantic nations.

Although it is not clear how close Fredrick and Margaret were, Gaskell is very quick to introduce the character of Fredrick. When informed of Mr. Hales decision to leave the Church, Margaret immediately relates the decision to Fredrick’s situation (Lee). By mentioning a “minor” character so early, Gaskell seems to suggest that Fredrick will play a significantly greater role throughout the course of the novel. Fredrick is frequently mentioned by Mrs. Hale in thought as well as conversation. Lee argues that Fredrick occupies “too much” of her own character, as she frequently wishes for her son to be physically present. Although Margaret does not seem to worry over Fredrick’s predicament at the beginning of the novel, there is an obvious change in her thoughts towards the end. After Fredrick’s sudden intrusion into the plot, Margaret becomes fixated on his safety to the point where it interferes with her daily tasks (Lee). It is also important to note that Fredrick’s story is conveniently nestled at the end of Volume I, thus serving as the beginning of Volume II. Therefore, Fredrick is the transitional point of the entire novel. It is on these grounds that Fredrick Hale is much more than a simple secondary character.

Fredrick’s introduction to the novel is through the description of his occupation and a very brief mention of the mutiny. Fredrick’s mutiny is a direct comparison to the subsequent strike in Milton. Although Fredrick did not truly “strike,” he did successfully manage to disrupt the established social order (on the ship), much like the strikers in Milton wished to do. By learning of Fredrick’s mutiny before the Milton strikes take place, Gaskell seems to hint at the importance of Fredrick. The mutiny also foreshadows the issues with Thornton’s business practices, which mirror that of an Enlightened Despot, as well as the possible problems that the participants in the strike will face (Lee). To further discuss Fredrick’s importance to the novel, his naval experiences will be examined. Hale’s profession in itself is a direct foil to the societal relations in Milton. As a sailor, Fredrick is able to transcend not only geographical boundaries, but hypothetical boundaries as well. Fredrick’s general fluidity is a direct contrast to the rigid, caste-like system of Milton. Much like his sister, Fredrick is elevated beyond the artificial boundaries of class. However, Fredrick is elevated above class boundaries because his specific class roll is unclear. Although he comes from a relatively middle class family, Fredrick loses his sense of class during his sailing expeditions. Due to his captain’s cruelty, Fredrick’s class shares much commonality of slaves (Lee). Captain Reid’s treatment of Fredrick can easily be compared to the treatment of the American slave. According to Bolster, sailors could frequently be severely flogged, the practice become more lethal and prevalent during the height of British impressment (Bolster). By comparing Fredrick’s transatlantic mistreatment to that of slaves, Gaskell is able to link Fredrick to the institution of capitalism, a main theme of the novel. Fredrick is essential to the idea of capitalism, as he is the literal and theoretical link between nations. Hale is the link between the cotton producing Antebellum South and the North of England (Lee). From this link, Gaskell’s novel can be seen in a much broader, global context, mirroring that of an emerging capitalistic society.

Through Fredrick’s link to the cotton trade, the text seems to shows how American interests and ambitions impact Britain, which can very well impact domestic relations, especially in regards to labor. Around the time of publication, England was in a very poor place domestically. When looking at the global economy in the nineteenth century, English stability in the domestic realm was directly impacted by American stability (Lee). Therefore, it could be reasonably assumed that the rising tensions in Milton could be a result of a tumultuous economy, where America is possibly to blame. Therefore, the link between America and England, primarily through societal relations and capitalism, is crucial to the plot of the novel, as the two nations fates are essentially intertwined.

Due to the economic link between the two nations, the text allows for connections between the United States and England. The primarily link that can be examined are worker relations and the institution of slavery. Lee points out the fact that many of Gaskell’s novels seem to mirror social conditions in not only England, but America as well (Lee). Around the time of publication, British citizens became increasingly aware of slave narratives, that frequently included tales of “cruel masters” in addition to “scenes with whippings” (Lee). It is evident that Fredrick’s tales of mistreatment aboard the HMS Russell reflects many slave narratives of the era. Yet, Fredrick’s story mirrors that of a slave that shared his surname, Fredrick Douglass. Both of the Fredricks’ storylines primarily revolve around a revolt against a sadistic master. Lee argues that the character of Leonards, a former mate of Fredrick’s, mirrors the consequences of the Underground Railroad, specifically the constant battle between freedom and the risk of getting caught (Lee). Not only does Fredrick mirror an American slave, he is a slave to the system of capitalism. As a sailor, Hale’s employment essentially is governed by global demand. The text suggests that much like Fredrick, Milton and England will eventually fall prey to capitalism. Therefore, Fredrick’s tales mirror the slave narratives and subsequently portray Fredrick as a man who lacks national identity, a rarity in a time where nationalistic tensions frequently manifested themselves in countries. The fact that Fredrick does not have a distinct identity is a direct contrast with every other character in the novel. Although the other characters various identities change, there is no arguing that they are present. Fredrick is a man caught between two nations, the nation of his birth and the nation where he currently resides, Spain. Hale’s identity crisis is a representation of the English identity crisis, as England is in the transition from a Southern, agrarian society to a hearty, industrial Northern society but does not yet fully belong to either.

Although Fredrick lacks an identity as well as a specific social class, he brings about subsequent changes in characters after his fairly brief appearance. Fredrick, more so than any other character, is responsible for bringing about a substantial change in his sister. During Fredrick’s brief stint in Milton, he is able to provide comfort to a visibly worried Margaret. However, after Mrs. Hale’s death, their roles are subsequently altered. Margaret is then charged with comforting not only a distraught Mr. Hale, but her brother as well. Margaret’s emotions are much more visible after Fredrick’s appearance. After Fredrick’s visitation, her relationship with John seems for naught, as Thornton developed an animosity towards Fredrick and Margaret. From a logical standpoint, it is quite possible that Margaret would not have lied to the police inspector to protect Fredrick. Through her actions, it is evident that Margaret is acting out of love for the only family member she cares for. Despite the plethora of emotional distress, Fredrick’s visit changes Margaret yet again. From this point on, Margaret’s transformation as the patriarch begins to take place. After her time with Fredrick, Margaret begins to slowly develop her confidence and eventually asserts herself into the business of Marlborough Mills. Margaret also indirectly experiences globalization, as she soon picks up a new vernacular. Mrs. Hale was disgusted that Margaret had traded her sweet tongue of Helstone for the “horrid words of Milton” (Lee). Although Fredrick is not directly responsible for this phenomenon, Margaret shows that even she is subject to the forces of globalization and acculturation. Thornton’s personal and financial distress can be directly related to Fredrick. Thornton’s very personality is attacked by Fredrick, who he mistakenly mistakes for Margaret’s lover. Thornton is also attacked by capitalism and the global market, the very system that is the essence of Fredrick. Thornton, constrained by inefficient Irish scabs, soon decimates the personal fortune he had at the beginning of the text. Despite his somewhat rapid loss of wealth, Thornton’s outlook on worker relations and Margaret begin to change. Without Fredrick, who in this specific case represents the fledgling, capitalist, global economy, it can be argued that Thornton’s transformation would never had taken place.

In closing, Fredrick deserves equal, if not more, respect by readers and critics alike. Although it is nice that Gaskell gives him a sizable portion in the novel, he needs to be viewed from a much more critical level. As the sole entity that links Milton with the rest of the world, Fredrick is the vehicle by which Gaskell introduces the potential pitfalls of conducting business in a fledgling capitalist, global economy. Although Fredrick is unassociated with a specific class, his ability to transcend traditional Victorian social constraints is of utmost importance. By exploring comparisons between Fredrick and the slave novels, it shows how Hale lacks national identity, rather becoming a citizen of the globe. Through Fredrick, Gaskell hypothesizes on the future of social, economic, and political implications in a globalized world.

Works Cited Bolster, W. Jeffrey. “Black Jacks: African American Seamen in the Age of Sails.” The Journal of American History (1997): n. pag. JSTOR. Web. 4 Mar. 2015. Gaskell, Elizabeth. North and South. London: Penguin, 1995. Print. Sun-Joo Lee, Julia. “The Return of the “Unnative”: The Transnational Politics of Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South.” Nineteenth-Century Literature 61.4 (2007): 449-78. JSTOR. Web. .

Read more

An Eye for an Eye: Gazing and Courtship in Gaskell’s North and South

May 4, 2019 by Essay Writer

Although Margaret Hale and John Thornton do not fall in love ‘at first sight,’ sight, or gazing, plays an important role in the asymmetrical power relations implicit in the courtship of the protagonists in Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South. Laura Mulvey’s 1975 essay, “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema,” introduced the now-familiar concept of the gaze. Taking the work of Sigmund Freud and Jacques Lacan as the basis for her theory, Mulvey argues that “in a world ordered by sexual imbalance, pleasure in looking has been split between active/male and passive/female” (39). The voyeuristic gaze, traditionally wielded by a male, has the ability to reduce a woman – that is, fetishize or objectify her – in a way that renders her passive. Mulvey explicates Freud’s concept of scopophilia, or pleasure in looking, and asserts that in “their traditional exhibitionist role women are simultaneously looked at and displayed, with their appearance coded for strong visual and erotic impact” (40). While Mulvey’s theory is based in film studies, Nalini Paul suggests that “the phenomenon of gazing in literature strikes relevant parallels with gazing in film theory” (1). Thus, the application of this theory to North and South sheds light on the exchange of power within the courtship of Margaret and John. To be sure, while John finds erotic pleasure in seeing Margaret, his gaze upon her does not reduce her or render her passive; in fact, Margaret’s attractive physical appearance and ability to appropriate the gaze endows her with authority over John, and leads to a constant and reciprocal exchange of power that culminates in their marriage. The power dynamics of the relationship between Margaret and John are immediately established in their first meeting in Milton. Gaskell writes: “Mr. Thornton was a good deal more surprised and discomfited than [Margaret]” at meeting “a young lady of a different type to most of those he was in the habit of seeing” (58). His bewilderment is compounded when she returns his gaze with a “simple, straight, unabashed look” (58). Upon seeing Margaret, John realizes she is different from most of the women he has encountered before, and more specifically, those he commonly “sees” or looks upon. John’s expectations are further troubled when she blatantly stares back as him. Her stare is “simple,” supposedly because she does not realize the socially awkward or perhaps inappropriate nature of the look she returns. Of course, at this point in the narrative Margaret has had little social interaction with possible suitors (with the exception of Mr. Lennox, whom she never considers as such) and is unaware of the implications of her stare. The initial looks exchanged between the two characters are figured overtly in relation to authority and power. Gaskell notes: “Mr. Thornton was in habits of authority himself, but she seemed to assume some kind of rule over him at once” (58). Margaret is unpredictable for she returns John’s gaze, and in so doing figures herself as an equal – not inferior – individual. From the outset Margaret exerts personal sway over John, albeit unconsciously, through her gaze. Contrary to Mulvey’s expectations, Margaret is not rendered passive but rather wields power through her own gaze.In the same initial scene, John’s gaze upon Margaret becomes scopophilic; her continuing return of the gaze, however, further undercuts the power – in the possessive sense – typically associated with the voyeuristic male gaze. Gaskell writes of Margaret and John:She sat facing him and facing the light; her full beauty met his eye; her round flexible throat rising out of the full, yet lithe figure; her lips, moving so lightly as she spoke…her eyes, with their soft gloom, meeting his with quiet maiden freedom. He almost said to himself he did not like her…to compensate for that mortified feeling, that while he looked upon her with an admiration he could not repress, she looked at him with proud indifference… (59)Margaret’s physical description is decidedly erotic and highly sexualized. The narrative sketch focuses on her bare throat, her limber physique, and her lips. John looks curiously at Margaret’s body, which Mulvey emphasizes is a “function of sexual instinct” (39). This objectifying process, for John, is a positive one; his “admiration” of her suggests pleasure, approval or agreeable surprise in beholding her attractive appearance. The pleasing feeling of looking upon Margaret is disturbed, however, by the gaze she once again returns. Her eyes have “maiden freedom”; she is naïve and fails to recognize the sexually charged nature of their glances. Interestingly, while Margaret is unaware of the power dynamics aligned with the gaze, John is uncomfortably aware – he is embarrassed to feel so much pleasure in looking at her and resents her effortless ability to make him question his own feelings. Consequently, while John’s scopophilic gaze figures Margaret as a sexual and erotic spectacle, her unfettered return of the gaze prevents her from simply becoming a passive object. As the romance plot continues to develop throughout North and South, John’s erotic gaze upon Margaret begins to determine his actions and thoughts. Even after she rejects his marriage offer, John, more than ever, feels the need to gaze upon Margaret. To justify visiting the Hales, John brings the ailing Mrs. Hale a second basket of fruit. He tells himself that “he would not – say rather, he could not – deny himself the pleasure of seeing Margaret. He had no end in it but the present gratification” (217). His gaze is overtly scopophilic – he yearns only for the pleasure he gets in gazing upon Margaret. To John, Margaret is continues to be a sexual and pleasing object to behold. Yet while he finds pleasure in seeing her, this urge actually controls his actions more than it controls Margaret’s. He is, in a sense, possessed by the need to see her. The need is so great that he questions if he is “bewitched by those beautiful eyes” (192), further strengthening the connection between sight and sexual attraction. John’s desire to gaze upon Margaret reaches self-abusive heights. Upon hearing of Mrs. Hales death, John thinks of Margaret: “For all his pain, he wished to see the author of it. Although he hated Margaret at times, when of thought of that gentle familiar attitude and all the attendant circumstances, he had a resting desire to renew her picture in his mind” (247). Margaret causes John extreme emotional distress, and yet he continually feels the urge to see her again. To counter his growing preoccupation with his unrequited love, John vows to “see as little of her as possible – since the very sight of that face and form…had such power to move him from balance” (306). Indeed, the sight of Margaret does less to control her than it does to control John. His obsessive need to gaze upon her actually dominates his consciousness, and has an irresistible “power” over him. Critics E. Ann Kaplan and Mary Ann Doane argue that men are not the exclusive bearer of the look, but even when a female appropriates the gaze she fails to inherit its agency (121, 1). This is not true of Margaret. Margaret is a notably active heroine in North and South, and this characteristic unquestionably plays into her courtship with John. Margaret is the object of John’s gaze, and yet Margaret reverses this formation by studying John and therefore becoming the subject of the gaze. She tells her father that John is “the first specimen of a manufacturer – of a person engaged in trade – that I ever had the opportunity of studying, papa. I know he is good of his kind, and by and by I shall like the kind” (152). Margaret figures herself as the observer, the studier, and the scientist, while John becomes the object of study, the “specimen.” Her dehumanizing and condescending rhetoric places her in a superior position to her object of study – John. Later in the novel, after the two have been separated for over a year, she still plays the role of the scientist inspecting her specimen. Gaskell writes: “Margaret was watching Mr. Thornton’s face. He never looked at her; so she might study him unobserved, and note the changes which even this short time had wrought in him…” (389) This passage also focuses on sight and observation, and places Margaret in the dominant position as the studier and subject of the gaze. The agency aligned with Margaret’s gaze is more overtly demonstrated in the scene in which John comes to propose after Margaret shields him from his violent and disgruntled workers. Margaret is thoroughly offended that John would think her actions were based in love and not womanly duty. “’You had nothing to be grateful for,’ said she, raising her eyes and looking full and straight at him…her very eyes…fell not nevertheless from their grave and steady look” (176). She denies having romantic feelings for John, and bluntly rejects his marriage offer. Her glaring eyes reflect her outright defiance of John’s intentions. No longer is her gaze “maiden” and “simple,” but it is rather deliberately severe and threatening. Margaret’s rejection of a well-off suitor is a bold move considering the particular social and historical milieu, and her fiery gaze is reflective of this audacious decision. In essence, Margaret’s appropriation of the gaze, and the authority therein, allows her an active role in the narrative and a strong degree of power over the male protagonist. In the end, both Margaret and John willingly submit themselves to the other’s gaze; in so doing, they allow their relationship to culminate in a mutually satisfying marriage. After a year apart, the two meet once again. Gaskell writes that Margaret looked “up straight into his face with her speaking eyes” and then dropped “them under his eloquent glance. He gazed back at her for a minute” (392). Margaret returns the gaze at first, but eventually submits to John’s. Taking into account the idea of the gaze and power as closely aligned, it is clear that Margaret’s downward glance forfeits the agency and power she has wielded with her gaze throughout the previous sections of the novel. Furthermore, while she looks away John continues to gaze upon her. In this way he becomes the dominant actor in the interaction. The exchange of power between the protagonists becomes most significant in the final passages of North and South. Gaskell writes: For an instant she looked up; and then sought to veil her luminous eyes by dropping her forehead onto her hands…still lower the head; more closely hidden was the face…after a minute or two, he gently disengaged her hands from her face, and laid her arms as they had once before been placed to protect him from the rioters…she slowly faced him, glowing with beautiful shame. (394-5)Margaret, once again, begins by returning John’s gaze, but physically conceals her gaze with her own hands. John, in disengaging her hands, invites her to return the gaze. As she faces him, we can assume that he, too, is looking at her. The exchange of the gaze in this scene attests to the changed power dynamic between the two characters. Both Margaret and John are now the subject and object of their lover’s gaze, submitting themselves to each other through the reciprocal exchange of power. It is only through this exchange of power that the two lovers can come together in marriage. Gaskell writes that “so much was understood through the eyes that cannot be put into words” (235), and indeed, their exchange of looks signals their commitment to one another in matrimony. Contrary to Mulvey’s central argument, John is not the exclusive bearer of the gaze in North and South. The gaze he directs towards Margaret is scopophilic, to be sure, and yet the gaze she returns – a gaze aligned power and agency – allows her to reject the objectifying gaze that would render her passive. In taking Laura Mulvey’s gaze theory as an apparatus with which to understand the dynamics of the courtship plot, one is better able to investigate the complex and unique approach to romance that Gaskell takes in North and South.

Read more
Order Creative Sample Now
Choose type of discipline
Choose academic level
  • High school
  • College
  • University
  • Masters
  • PhD
Deadline

Page count
1 pages
$ 10

Price