North and South
The main Character of North and South and Society
The social structure in Victorian England was rigid and fixed, so any drift of change was highly judged. Gaskell’s novel “North and South” explores that, through situations, through characters, through war and peace. It is a novel about social structures, about respecting authority and tradition or defiance against it. The subject of this paper is the concept of social authority and the constant rebellion against it. Frederick is an example of the greatest fear of the middle class, a man who cannot reconcile his inner personal moral values with social norms and patterns of behavior that have been accepted in his society. Frederick as an individual and as a character reviews the relationship between personal and social responsibility and, as a tragic heroic character, accepts his destiny in the end. Frederick is delicate, but strong. He does not think about his actions thoroughly, but acts impulsively.
Frederick’s Character Review and the Consequences of His Mutiny
‘Literary character’ can best be understood in relation to a more fundamental concept, namely ‘literary characterization’. The latter is really a pragmatic concept in the sense that it focuses on the relationships between characters and their users. The relationship between the characters and the relation to the society is considered. ”The exact social conditions in England at this period clearly need to be delineated and an explanation thereof may shed some light on the particular thrust of Gaskell’s work, in particular North and South”, explains Chen (2017: 494). Therefore this work was the result of the relationships in society at that time. This work speaks about the contrast between the rural and cultural south and the industrial violent north. Also, author critically describes the consequences of strong industrialization in England at that time.
”North and South literally embodies social and economic exploitation – in the factory, on the land, in the law, army or navy”, says Uglow, (2003: 372). The example mentioned is the exact portrait of Frederick’s character. The main thing is that he impersonates part of society of the nineteenth century he lived in – his personality traits can be extended to personalities of a lot of people in that society, and explains their thoughts, reasons, actions and, in the end, the situation in America in the nineteenth century and why it was the way it was.
Frederick acts impulsively. His actions, in the the mutiny and upon his return to England could have had different consequences if he had thought them through. His exile in Spain was so hard for him that he feels the urge to change his whole identity, and his actions in England constantly haunt him. ”Frederick, who was one of the most senior officers, had been among those who had mutinied” (Gaskell, 2008: 24). Here author emphasizes his participation in the mutiny as he was an officer. As a matter of fact he did not act alone in the mutiny.
”He had joined the navy some years ago, and had taken part in a mutiny, with the result that he was now unable to return to England, as he would be arrested if he did” (Gaskell, 2008: 6). Here we can see his reason for going to Spain, because he would most likely end up in jail if he would return to England. Frederick is not sure whether his views on social justice and the sense of principles that guides him are suitable for nineteenth century laws or society’s mindset.
Furthermore, explains (Mikysková, 2011: 31), ”Frederick is depicted as a ‘lost’ son. He lives in Spain and cannot go back to England because he would go to prison. His behavior is irresponsible; he does not face the consequences of his acts. But he is also depicted as a devoted son, he comes back to England to see his mother before her death, even if it is very dangerous for him to appear in England again.” Consequences of Frederick’s action are harsh and deep. The consequences are visible in their influences on society and the environment. The fate he has brought upon himself is that he is exiled from his native country and family; he has to change his whole identity and person. His change of identity seemed to be truly needed at that time. Also, his family members back in England have to live with his actions – their own attitudes are deeply saturated with his mutiny.
Social Authority and Justice Frederick’s Mutiny in the Gaskell Novel
In the mid-nineteenth century, the structure of society was strictly set, the norms of behavior were known and had to be respected and followed. Industrial revolution and emancipation of workers had just begun and social justice was not seen in the same sense as it is today. The multi-century class division of people by the end of the eighteenth century comes into question. Multiple consequences of French Revolution led to a re-examination of the position of individuals and their active place in society. However, divisions in classes were no longer inherited, but the material statuses of families were. It was possible to climb the class ladder, but with great effort and difficulty. The influence of Romanticism on new generations and their evolving individuality has led to new reflections on the position of individuals in wider society. However, changes were slow and difficult because the vast majority of lower classes were not educated or self-conscious – their identities were not active and they were alienated. But, by the end of the nineteenth century there were significant changes regarding status and position in the society of the lowest classes of workers and the exploited poor. A new, educated middle class bourgeoisie, retailer and industrialist is at the expense of expelling their workers and trying to bring social differences to a minimum. Middle class was afraid of people like Frederick. He is an example of a person, which cannot reconcile the inner personal moral convictions with social norms and patterns of behaviour. Frederick as an individual and character reviews the relationship of personal and social responsibility and, as a tragic heroic character, accepts his destiny. But a lot of authors have critiqued his mutiny, his mindset and some of his actions, which is the theme of the next chapter.
Critics on Frederick’s Mutiny
Michael T. DuBroy in his work ”A Reading of Symbolical Aspects of Mrs. Gaskell’s North and South” criticizes the mindset of Frederick and Margaret. Both characters express deep understanding of social injustices, but are, he claims, melodramatic and don’t think it thoroughly. ”Juxtaposed with the story of the riot is the tale of Frederick’s mutiny. Although the Union has been rejected, Frederick’s mutiny makes it clear that the strike itself is not unjustified” (Dubroy, 1977: 41). It should be noted that the post-romanticism literary realism, which Gaskell’s novel is a part of, is still unclear whether the heroes are to be realists or romantics. It is a reflection of the transition period of literature and society as a whole. ”Frederick is, in many ways, a rather melodramatic figure: the lost son who gallantly supported mutineers against the injustice of their captain and is exiled as a result. All that would be needed to complete his story would be belated recognition by the government, of the justice of his actions, and his safe return to England”, explains Dubroy, (1977: 73). The writer explains that modern views on Frederick’s mutiny were positive, but in the light of early Victorian age are impossible to comprehend. Frederick seems to be detached from his realism, since his strong moral convictions which he is passionate about, defy common sense and the early Victorian period sense of duty. The writer is a part of the society which transforms on a rapid, day to day basis, and cannot reconcile its inner moral convictions with fast-growing capitalist realism and exploitations of the poorest classes.
”He does not really care very much about getting a pardon, for he has set down new roots in Spain. Thus, in the world of reality, the heroic figure does not simply wait offstage until he returns in triumph; his life must continue and does continue. Denying his old life, he starts a new one. Frederick, therefore, serves to emphasize the gap between Margaret’s heroic aspirations and reality, a split crystallized in Margaret’s lie. Admirable as such intentions are, they have no place in the real world and cannot successfully function in real society. Frederick is really a passionate hero of melodrama, living in a far-away country, and leading a strangely different life from that of Margaret. He does not belong in the realities of Northern England in 1854”, states Dubroy (1977: 74). The personal tragedy of Frederick’s actions is that he has to start his life anew, change his entire identity and forget the past, including his family. The author criticizes his actions as products of passionate and unadvised thoughts which he explains as pure fiction, not as real actions of a true hero. To reinvent its own character in a remote, backward country, which Spain of the period was being considered as, must’ve been a dreadful perspective to pre-colonial Great Britain, a beacon of civilization and progress of the Industrial era.
Rebecca Parker Fedewa in her dissertation ‘Truth Telling: Testimony and Evidence in the Novels of Elizabeth Gaskell’ provides criticism of Frederick’s mutiny too. In her work, she criticizes and analyses the personal moralities of early Victorian age and those of collective mindset of that time. In the beginning of the age of individuality the author makes rebellious characters as examples of making things right no matter what the socially acceptable actions are. The sympathy and compassion with lower classes is just in its infancy, and is evolving through literature.
She (Parker Fedewa 2009: 175) says that ”the characters who live truthfully and show mercy to others are those whom Gaskell uses as models for her readers so that they may see others the way that she imagines God sees them. Thus, by showing compassion, the readers experience lasting change that is internal and that, potentially, has eternal ramifications. In her fiction, she sought to create exemplars of careful judgments, executed with compassion and an eye toward God. She writes of redeemable characters and for redeemable readers.” ”The question of acting on one’s own authority when faced with injustice, specifically when society will disapprove, ties together Mr. Hale, Frederick, and Margaret; as each negotiates how to deal with matters of conscience” (Parker Fedewa, 2009: 54). Each of the characters is actually facing their own conscience. Author highlighted the need of justifying actions in unjustified society through examples of personal morality and questioning social authority if needed.
By reviewing literature it can be concluded that the main critiques are that characters of that time make decisions and actions impulsively and without excessive reflection on the consequences, although their ultimate goal is a great one; to change the society as a whole and start and era of social justice.
In the end it can be concluded that this novel gives an example of moral re-examination of the new middle class and also serves as a warning for actions that are not thought through. However, it gives the example of actions, no matter how reckless, that are fair and for a great cause – for change, which is an aspiration of all writers from that time. Bearing in mind that the novel was intended for the educated part of the society, both the high and middle classes, messages of individual responsibility and moral conviction towards the overall society are obvious. Changes in social justice issues, as usual, come from those who were able to make those changes, in cooperation with the lowest classes and the education of the poor and the needy. Frederick is a romantic, tragic Byronian hero whose actions can only be appreciated in retrospect, which probably was the intention of Elizabeth Gaskell.
The Ups and Downs of Gender Roles in North and South
Elizabeth Gaskell’s novel North and South is a tale of contradictions. Looking at the title, it presents the obvious, the distinctions between the northern rural industrial towns and the southern high-class cities. If we take a closer look, the novel also proposes the expectations and challenges of the different genders. Most women in the high social class of the Victorian era had two solemn duties: marry a rich man with a title and have plenty of children. But it wasn’t always a picnic for the men either, they also had high-demanding requirements. From finding a suitable wife and starting a family, to entering a career in politics or business. There weren’t a lot of options for women of this era, but things started to change when the novel North and South was released by Elizabeth Gaskell as a serial in 1854. Gaskell protests the ideas of gender in the Victorian era by creating the character, Margaret Hale, who had classic feminine aspects of generosity and kindness and the typical male qualities of strength and independence.
The idea of “separate spheres” overruled Victorian convictions about the roles of gender, stating that these positions among males and females were set in stone and not to be defied. Public life, including work, is within the masculine realm, while private life, such as domestication, lies within the feminine. The lady of the house was often viewed as the ‘The Angel in the House,” she was responsible for all things good and simple. The man was considered to be the “protector” who put a roof over his family’s heads and kept food on the table. The public sphere was considered critically immoral, and disaster occurred when the characters, especially heroines, did not bend to the will of society’s standards.
This very concept is challenged in North and South. Margaret Hale is compelled to accept a masculine role by organizing her family’s move from Helstone, and taking her father’s role when announcing the news to her mother. She also takes on much of the responsibility for the family in the industrial town Milton, such as finding a new home for them to inhabit and breaking the news of her husband’s death to Mrs. Boucher because her father is afraid. Margaret learns to be independent because much of the weight falls to her shoulders. She also exhibits bravery by standing against the mob to protect Mr. Thornton and having to lie to the police about Frederick’s return to England for their mother’s funeral.
Mr. Thornton, without denying his masculinity, demonstrates compassion and tenderness. Though he hides this from public view, it’s shown in his care towards his mother and his quiet attention to the Hales. When he found out that Mrs. Hale was critically ill, he went out of his way to purchase and bring expensive fruits to their home to lift her spirits. He shows off these traits more as he develops relations with his workers by visiting Nicholas Higgins’ home, making arrangements for the work environment to be safer, and eating with the men. Mr. Thornton is also judged by society and seen as cruel because he holds his employees to strict policy so that his mill can remain successful. Although, he probably wouldn’t have done these things if it hadn’t been for Margaret’s influence on him, which goes to show that women were not incompetent when presenting their thoughts and ideas.
Another man in the novel that demonstrates tenderness and compassion, which were typically thought to be feminine traits, was the hard but thoughtful, Nicholas Higgins. Higgins assumes the responsibility for raising the Boucher children after the death of their parents and exhibits maternal tenderness and strength with dignity. In Volume II, chapter eleven, when Mr. Thornton visits the Higgins’ home to acquire for Nicholas about work, he sees the Boucher children and asks Nicholas if they belong to him, in which he replies, “They’re not mine, and they are mine.” This indicates that Mr. Higgins also broke the social norm by taking in the Boucher children instead of letting them become orphaned.
Margaret is different from the other women of her era, because she does not oblige to the rules of society, and it’s unfortunate because she is highly criticized for her inspiring actions. For example, when she accompanied Frederick to the train station to make sure he got away safely, she was then chastised by Mrs. Thornton because her son, out of jealousy, assumed Margaret had a lover. By being alone with a young man at night she is disobeying the high standards of society for a young woman in her position, even though her true motives were too risky to admit. Another time this is presented in the novel is when Margaret throws herself in front of the mob to protect Mr. Thornton, and of course, he automatically assumes it’s because she cares romantically for him. Even when she proceeded to tell him on page 194 in Volume I, chapter twenty-four, “It was only a natural instinct; any woman would have done just the same. We all feel the sanctity of our sex as a high privilege when we see danger.”
While Gaskell created characters that challenged the concept of “separate spheres,” both the women and men of the Victorian era were enslaved to the requirements ordained by their social classes.
Margaret Hale is seen as a striking character in the novel because she startles her peers with her insistence and stubborn attitude, while also having an ability to make others feel weak under her gaze. But why is she seen as an odd but revolutionary heroine? It is because she defied the aspects that are considered to be a traditional female in high Victorian society. The “Victorian Woman” was known to be timid, proper, and in continuous need of male leadership. Gaskell confronted the gender norms of her day with the characterization of Margaret Hale, who did not fit in with society’s ideas about how women should behave. An example of a character in this novel that fits the “true Victorian woman” persona is represented by Margaret’s mother Mrs. Hale. The wife of the ex-clergyman was certainly submissive, showing innocence and dullness. Even though she was outraged by her husband’s decision to move the family to Milton, she put aside her disputes and followed him just as an ideal wife should.
Women of this era, as well as men, had to be considerate when making decisions, because the choices they made about marriage and relationships, gravely affected their futures. One standard, in particular, for the fitting behavior and features of women, was presented in a poem by Coventry Patmore. In his poem, “Angel in the House” (1854) in which he immortalized his “perfect” Victorian wife. He details the traits and habits that an ideal woman should obtain, and the dedication she must give her husband. A good woman was dutiful to the home and the family, and a man could only reach his full capacity with the encouragement and comfort of his wife.
The one trait in which women possess that men do not, is of course, the capability to have children. Often, women were only valued for their ability to birth children and were seen as a means for producing heirs. It was the social precedent that a woman’s role, was first and foremost, to bring children into the world. Victorian standards for women of this time were quite narrowed. The expectations of women and what they expected of themselves was actually very little. In the 19th century, in order to maintain uniformity of the home and family, the “ideal” woman must be submissive; something Margaret Hale is far from. Which is represented by her rejecting not one, but two marriage proposals, speaking her mind to Mr. Thornton about his behavior towards his workers, and refusing to put up with Mrs. Thornton as she criticizes Margaret for actions, she herself did not even witness. It was the husband’s job to make important decisions for both himself and the family, and their wives were to obey his decisions. Along with Margaret, there was also another female character in the novel who did not follow the traditional ideals of a Victorian woman. The snobbish and demanding Mrs. Thornton.
Mrs. Thornton disregards the gender norms in the absence of her husband. She defends and leads her family, including her son, in whom she teaches to be careful and to be thoughtful about the future. From her sacrifice and divergence from the typical, John grew up to be a successful and prosperous businessman.
While women may have always gotten the short end of the stick, men, (who had more options than women) didn’t have everything handed to them on a silver platter. Just as men had high expectations for the ideal Victorian woman, the women along with the rest of society, also had great assumptions for an exemplary Victorian man. Men, not only had to earn a woman’s respect before marriage, but they also had to impress the rest of her family as well as their social class. Males were also victims of social pressures because their peers also analyzed them for their accomplishments. In the novel, Mr. Thornton came from a poor background and worked his way up to his position as a successful mill owner. Even though he earned his position among society, instead of inheriting it, he is still criticized by his class and Margaret especially, because he holds his employees to strict policy and pays them what he sees as a “fair wage,” which strikes the Milton townspeople as harsh and cruel.
Victorian men were not only competing for respect within their own sex, but they also needed to impress the females as well. If they weren’t married, they were seen as degrading, because they had no family to provide for. Supporting a family was a sign of true success within the male sex. Being able to work through hardships and succeed financially while providing for the family, emulated that a man was accomplished in the workforce as well. This made him respectable by his company as well as other men in society.
North and South present the hardships for both men and women in all classes, which is one of the reasons the book is so influential and well known.
Elizabeth Gaskell lived in a time where everything was separated by gender and class. Her novel formerly appeared in twenty weekly episodes from September 1854 to January 1855 in Household Words, edited by Charles Dickens. Gaskell originally wanted to title the novel “Margaret Hale,” but Dickens, who imposed on the title “North and South” thought it would make more sense because the book deals with the difference in lifestyle between the rural southern and the industrial north of England. Even though Gaskell, the author, often titled her novels the names of her heroines, she was still a woman and had to oblige to the decisions of her male superiors.
The Victorian era was not an easy time, for women or men, of all classes. If it hadn’t been for inspiring writers such as Gaskell, and heroines like Margaret Hale, women of this era would not have had the courage to bring attention to the issues of the time that were plaguing them. The author creates a collection of different female role models within her novel and makes it known that the conventional principles about women were not the only ones possible. Gaskell’s text argues these traditions by creating characters that influenced women that they can be both successful and lead a happy life. Although this novel does administer the differences in life and class between the north and south of England during the Industrial Revolution, it also draws attention to the real hardships that women and men of this time dealt with every day. Margaret Hale is a character that people can relate to, not just because she is a woman, but because she is human, and no matter what class or “sphere” we belong to, everyone has to face the issues and challenges that life constantly tosses us.
The North and the South – “Antebellum” Differences
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.
Relations between North and South Korea
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.
A Look at Different Views Concerning the North and South Vietnam Bombing
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.
Presentation of Social Class Realities and Interactions
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.” 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.” 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.”
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.
 E. Gaskell, North and South (1853) Penguin Classics: London. p. xii
 Scholl, L. Place and Progress in the Works of Elizabeth Gaskell. (2015)
Women Entering the Public Sphere
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.
Fredrick Hale: Viewing North and South From A Transatlantic Lens
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.
Gender in the Moral and Political Arena in Gaskell’s North and South
One can see easily that Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South is a novel that presents us with many dualities, sets of matching or opposing pairs. Not only does the title suggest this, but a quick glance through the chapter headings will say the same: “Roses and Thorns,” “Masters and Men,” “Likes and Dislikes,” “Comfort in Sorrow,” “False and True,” to name just the most obvious few. Of course, opposing or otherwise complexly intertwined pairs figure largely thematically as well. One of the most salient of these pairs is masculine and feminine, but Gaskell joins that with another pair, moral strength versus political strength. These two pairs are embodied in her two protagonists, Margaret Hale and John Thornton. The two are perfectly matched in their diametrical clashing, with Margaret Hale the femininely moral and John Thornton the masculinely political. Through their interactions with each other and Margaret’s personal changes, Gaskell explores the combinations of influences possible between these four aspects. The identification of Margaret with the moral and Thornton with the political is clear from almost any of their conversations (or debates) with each other. In a pivotal discussion where their two primary ideologies clash, Thornton tries to justify the way he views and treats his workers. He likens them to children that “require a wise despotism to govern” them (120), telling the Hales that “I must necessarily be an autocrat…to make wise laws and come to just decisions in the conduct of my business…I will neither be forced to give my reasons, nor flinch from what I have once declared to be my resolution.” He sees his factory as a primarily political machine; his relationships with his workers is that of governor to governed. There is no personal obligation; he is a God with mysterious reasons that are beyond reproach. On the other hand, Margaret subverts his initial analogy of workers as children in order to argue that Thornton must have a quasi-parental, moral responsibility to them as well. She brings up an example of a man who raised his son up in ignorance, failing to educate him in any way. The son then “did not know good from evil” because his father had tried mistakenly to rule him to “save him from temptation and error” (121). The parallel, of course, is that manufacturers cannot keep their workers in ignorance to “save” them from the economic havoc the manufacturers think they would wreak on themselves and others, but they must educate the workers to know “good from evil.” Though Thornton responds by asserting that he is respecting his workers right to independence outside of the factory, Margaret counters with an argument almost moral in its tone, suggesting that such political talk of “rights” forces “every man has to stand in an unchristian and isolated position, apart from and jealous of his brother-man: constantly afraid of his rights being trenched upon?” (122). In this pivotal statement, Margaret summarizes the opposition. She values the Christianity, brotherliness, compassion, and she sees as obstacles the politically-nuanced “rights” that Thornton stresses. The waters get muddy, of course, for the point of the novel is not to maintain such clear-cut differences, but to let them clash, interact, and influence each other. Accordingly, Margaret, Mr Thornton and their respective worlds influence each other; as a result, Margaret cross the borders of femininity and masculinity, morality and politics. She does not remain confined to herself; instead, she is a dynamic character that adapts to her environment and plays the requisite arenas. The most gripping scene of the novel is when Margaret throws her femininity out into the political world. The horde of strikers is ranged before Mr Thornton’s house, ready to erupt into violence, when Margaret “made her body into a shield from the fierce people beyond” (177). She explains it as “only a natural instinct” and that any woman would “feel the sanctity of our sex as a high privilege when we see danger” (192). This is the epitome of crossing borders; the feminine has crossed into the forbidden political world to protect a political figure, no less. The feminine sex becomes a possible asset in the dangerous political and masculine world. Ultimately, her gesture fails to prevent violence, for “if she thought her sex would be a protection…from the terrible anger of these men…she was wrong” (177). At this point in the novel, femininity is still relatively powerless as a practical force, though her gesture is still a powerful symbol for her forbidden crossing into the masculine and political arena. In a way, that forbidden crossing is what prompts Mr Thornton to propose to her, for he is “bound in honour” (186) to redeem what he misunderstands as a shameless public display of feminine feeling. Her sexual and moral reputation is compromised because this bold act cannot be interpreted on her own terms; her act cannot be perceived as a political move to protect against violence; because of her sex Mr Thornton must perceive the gesture as a “personal act” (193). The public in the novel cannot stomach a woman too strongly masculine or too political; neither would Gaskell’s Victorian readership. She must thus take care not to compromise Margaret’s femininity too much; moreover, the vital balancing contrast between Thornton and Margaret would disappear. Margaret cannot be too masculine, or the romance becomes rather absurd, like a romance between Mr and Mrs Thornton. “The opposition of character…seemed to explain the attraction [Margaret and Thornton] evidently felt towards each other” (81). Thus, to make the novel push gender borders subtly, Gaskell masterfully manipulates Margaret’s tears. Margaret gives way to tears, a classic sign of femininity, on an average of once every twenty pages, which seems excessive. However, her feminine tears somehow highlight rather than detract from her strength. She cries over her father’s dissent from the church, over the doctor’s visit announcing her mother’s fatal disease, over her lie about Frederick, and over various deaths of her family and friends. Not one reason is silly or sentimental, and she eventually pulls through all of these dire crises. In sharp contrast, her cousin Edith Shaw’s tears at the end of the book could hardly be more different. When Margaret makes a slightly haughty comment to her, “Edith began to sob so bitterly, and to declare so vehemently that Margaret had lost all love for her, and no longer looked upon her as a friend…”: in short, making such a big fuss over nothing that we feel only annoyance for her (399). Edith’s tears are for show; they are to persuade Margaret to take back her words: Margaret ultimately ends up “being Edith’s slave for the rest of the day” (399). Margaret is always honest about her tears and suffering; her tears are only allowed to “force their way at last, after the rigid self-control of the whole day” (48). Thus, they can never be manipulatively for show or absurdly pitched the way Edith’s are. In this way, Margaret evinces her own strong moral core, being at once feminine and strong. While Margaret’s morality is her strength, but she is again unique in this trait because she can take moral strength a step further to combine it with practical action. She can be feminine, cry honestly, and still arrange all the details of the family’s removal and her mother’s funeral. Even after her mother’s death, “Her eyes were continually blinded by tears, but she had no time to give way to regular crying. The father and brother depended on her; while they were giving way to grief, she must be working, planning, considering…” (247). While her male family members are rendered incapable by grief, Margaret takes over the practical action, at once reversing gender roles without detracting from her feminine moral sensibilities. The other characters that possess the strong moral core that Margaret does—Bessy and Mr Hale—cannot take action or really accomplish anything in the tangible world. Sick little Bessy dwells on the Bible day and night, longing for death. She is not a fighter the way Margaret is, who encourages Bessy to talk of “something about what you used to do when you were well”(102). Margaret dwells on the positive and the good possibilities, while Bessy is simply resigned to her illness, looking forwards to her death. “‘Spring nor summer will do me good,’” she says upon their very first meeting, and she lives by this dictum of resignation and inaction. Similarly, Mr Hale is strong enough to wrestle with his inner shadowy objections to the church and even resign his livelihood over them, but then Margaret must finish taking care of the consequences of his decision. He is paralyzed, unable to speak to his wife or take care of the details of the family removal. Thus, Margaret possesses both the introspective morality and piety as well as the external capability of practical action. She then seems to be in a unique position to impact the political arena in a positive moral way. However, some sudden turning point in the way Milton society is run does not happen through Margaret’s direct, moral action. Her action at the riot may have prevented a massive amount of violence, but ultimately only its romantic consequences last, and even those are bitter; politically, nothing really changes. In fact, Margaret even risks what seemed to be her strength; morality. Her real crisis concerns the lie she tells the police inspector to buy her outlawed brother time to flee the country. Mr Thornton not only finds out about the lie, but even exerts his political influence as a magistrate to save her from it although he knows nothing about the existence of a brother and believes that she has compromised her morality by lying to protect a lover. Unexpectedly, “She suddenly found herself at his feet, and was strangely distressed at her fall” from “her imaginary heights” (278). He moral superiority and strength evaporate, leaving her prostrate at the feet of Mr Thornton’s political strength. The language of her moral fall is strangely sexual as well, for a “fall” from innocence is almost always associated with sex, and her position at his feet is strangely suspect. Thus, at this turning point in the novel, Margaret loses both her moral power and her pure feminine sexual status. We wonder, then, what Margaret can bring to the clash between herself and Mr Thornton and how, in the larger scheme of things, Gaskell is planning to resolve the issues between the two paired concepts we have pursued. Victorian novels must have their happy marriage endings, and though the relationship is jeopardized over Margaret’s lie, the two do get together in the end. However, Margaret finally regains the ability to face Mr Thornton not just by regaining her moral reputation in his eyes, but by gaining actual political and external influence. When her godfather dies, he leaves her a significant sum of money that affords her independence in the world and some social standing in the mercenary culture of Milton. In fact, when the economy crashes and Mr Thornton loses his own economic standing, it is Margaret that saves him with her money and marriage. They do not come together in the end in some grand finale of a resolved intellectual argument between morality and politics; no symbolic action happens where Margaret extends her feminine and moral influence into the political arena, as in the riot. Instead, the marriage happens when all hope seems to be lost because of a stroke of luck that is almost deus ex machina: money that wins her direct political influence essentially falls out of the sky. Her final ability to save Mr Thornton and her final power over him has nothing to do with her morality. In fact, “she was most anxious to have it all looked upon in the light of a mere business arrangement…” (424). Their marriage resolution nominally unites the two opposing conceptual pairs, but ultimately they are directly brought together through monetary circumstances. The whole novel, an elaborate study of clashes between gender identities and opposing ideological paradigms, would have come to naught without the Margaret’s final inheritance. Margaret, the most complex character, is the only person who slips back and forth across gender borders, alternately acting morally, politically, or both, but even though her remarkableness sets up the romance, they would have gone their separate ways and all changes would have sunk into oblivion if Margaret had not had the money. What seems to be a novel that radically enlarges the scope in which pious female figures can play seems to be sending the final message that without the proper political, masculine power of money, all a woman’s potential to extend herself into the political world is of minimal value. Margaret wins the lasting power to affect her society by marrying the manufacturer, and she can only do that through money. An independent woman seems to have little hope of lasting effect, no matter how exceptional. Ultimately, Gaskell creates Margaret to only bring up the various possibilities that a feminine moral influence like her may have on the male political system. Though Gaskell ends the novel conventionally, Margaret’s existence and spotlight for a few hundred pages just opens up the idea that a woman might make a political difference under different circumstances and that, moreover, she has a unique moral capacity to contribute to it. Love, marriage, and the economic dynamics of both may be inescapable, but a woman and her strengths may have a exclusive place in the system. References Gaskell, Elizabeth. North and South. Ed. Patricia Ingham. New York: Penguin, 1995.
The Role of Women in Percival and Gaskell’s North and South
In modern day society, it is not uncommon to hear the phrase ‘A woman’s touch’, being casually mentioned in discussions of style and the exercise of compassion. The phrase, however, is an apt description for the role of women in Elizabeth Gaskell’s Victorian novel, North and South, and the resulting BBC miniseries adaptation directed by Brian Percival (2004). In the respective adaptations, both author and director strive to present the potential of women to be more than the submissive, demure and delicate figures that Victorian society appraise by defining what exactly is meant to be a man and what is meant to be a woman. Through the exemplar characterization of the male and female leads (Margaret Hale and John Thornton), and the unprecedented relationship that ensues between the two, both adaptations of North and South present an equalist ideal that depicts women not as triumphant conquerors, but as necessary mediators of our world.
When examining the males in North and South, it becomes quickly evident to audiences that John Thornton is Gaskell’s representation of the stereotypical man. Possessing many admirable qualities that the men around him lack significantly, the novel repetitively describes the ‘self made’ nouveau riche owner of Marlborough Mills not only as ‘handsome’, but also ‘noble’ with a ‘rigid thick’ build and ‘steadfast’ personality. The BBC adaptation manages to transfer this physical description to the silver screen with the near perfect casting of english actor Richard Armitage, who delivers in terms of appearance and the deliverance of his lines. Despite these positive attributions to his character, however, Thornton cannot be described as a perfect picture of moral virtue. In both the original novel and the miniseries adaptation, the male protagonist is depicted to be a man who ‘tests everything to the standard of wealth’ and holds a non empathetic ‘survival of the fittest’ ideology. As a result of these ideas, Thornton is implied to hold an exceedingly high opinion of his own character. The miniseries builds on this idea of induced pride and superiority, which have come about as a result of his circumstance, through the use of low camera angles when filming the character in the initial episodes of the series. The effect of these angles during scenes with his love interest and other feminine figures, also gives the impression to audiences that he is as a man who frequently ‘talks down’ to others. The riot scene of chapter 22 and episode 2 respectively is a scene that only confirms this inference. All throughout , audiences witness the male protagonist’s shocking lack of empathy and disregard for the welfare of the working class, by remarking that violence (the gender typical solution of man) will make them see ‘reason’, and his command to Margaret :’keep up her courage for a few minutes longer’, as he automatically assumes she is a damsel in distress. When Margaret indignantly denies her ‘damsel status’ with a haughty ‘I am not afraid!’ and requests that the master speak to his workers ‘like human beings,’’man to man’, Thornton begrudgingly agrees, but not before a ‘dark cloud’ comes over his face and his teeth, as the book puts it ‘grind and set’ , both of which are implied signals that he finds the task of attempting to lower himself to the level of his workers as one that is tedious and difficult. This overall lack of empathy in all aspects of his life, combined with his unfailing belief in the system that ‘one makes his own success with the means to which he is provided’ make Thornton a fitting representative and vision for a world of men without femininity — cold, hard and without consideration of anything other than industrial profit.
In contrast, Thornton’s female counterpart Margaret Hale could be considered an apt generalized representation of women. As a graceful, southern English belle with a passion for social responsibility, Margaret is unafraid of pointing out the maltreatment of the working class by men of her status, it comes as no surprise that the protagonist of North and South was deemed by many as unconventional and even scandalous by readers of Gaskell’s day. With that being said, Margaret, remains a woman of fault, not only due to her overwhelming sense of “pride and disagreeability”, but also her excessive and unrealistic idealism. This particular harmatia of hers is only briefly implied in the book, but is explored in greater depth in the miniseries, specifically during the Masters dinner scene. At the table, Margaret, after Thornton accuses her of ‘prolonging the strike’ by ‘supporting the strikers’ with a basket of food, in shock, questions whether ‘providing a dying baby with food’ is ‘simply a question of logic’. The emotively disbelieving way in which Margaret (Daniela-Densby-Ashe) delivers these lines of dialogue strike viewers in the heart, forcing them to acknowledge the absence of compassion in the world that men strive to achieve. While her prolonged call for empathy is admirable in this example, Margaret’s idealism often reaches a point where she endangers herself and the individuals around her. An example of this can be found in chapter 22, the riot scene, in which Margaret, ‘shaking with passion’ places Thornton in danger of violence, when she asks him to calm a crowd of ‘boys, cruel and thoughtless’ ‘whose stormy passions had passed their bounds, sweeping away all barriers of reason, apprehension and consequence.’ When she attempts to calm the throng herself, armed with the foolish belief that her words hold greater value than those of a man, she finds herself unable to do anything, and manages to also cause injury to herself in the process.
Margaret’s actions during the riot, while not achieving their intended effect, were not insignificant to the events of the plot in itself. After she is struck down by the pebble in the original novel, Thornton stands ‘amongst them’, his workers, as if metaphorically lowering himself to their level in an effort to appease the wishes of his love. This is a great change from the logically reasoning Thornton audiences witness at the beginning, and is the first of many examples in which they witness just how much of an influence the female protagonist has been on his character. Over time, readers and viewers alike witness the character’s stony demeanor melt away, and by the end of both the novel and series, audiences are shown a new and improved version of Mr. Thornton — a civil minded master who views his men not as a superior master, but as friends. Richard Armitage, the actor portraying Thornton, portrays this very well in the way he speaks to Nicholas Higgins after the loss of his mill, even reaching the point where the two, who originally despised each other, are able to set aside differences and shake hands. This significant moment, symbolizing the newfound compromises between social classes is emphasized in the miniseries’ final episode with a close up detail shot of the two’s firm handshake. In a similar way, Margaret Hale is also shown to have been influenced by her lover. These differences are quickly noticed by her father who aptly surmises the new grounded and humbled persona of his daughter in episode 4 of the miniseries: ‘My word, Margaret! To admit that the South has its faults and Mr. Thornton has virtues! What has happened to bring about such a transformation?’. By pointing out these pleasant changes, both Gaskell and Percival reveal that the two, man and woman, are better together than apart. The resolution of both narratives, with the upcoming marriage of the two young lovers not only shows the compromise between the North and South, but also the compromise between the two genders in society.
Although Percival is not as direct in his revelation of opinions regarding the role of women in society, he appears to quietly endorse Gaskell’s belief that good men cannot exist without good women and vice versa, as each have an important role to play in an optimally functioning society. Readers and viewers find that the book neither endorses the feminist misconception that ‘women can rule the world’ or the patriarchal delusion that ‘women are servants to men’. Rather, both versions of North and South find a more idyllic, common ground between the two—one which details the necessary requirements of true equality; between not only sexes but also the economic classes.