Margaret Hale returns home to her family in the rural south of England, after living with a wealthy aunt for 10 years, learning how to become a proper young woman. She is not home for long before her life is uprooted and her family moves to a town called Milton, in Northern England, where her father intends to be a tutor, leaving their Pastoral life, and the Church of England behind.
One of Mr. Hale's pupils, Mr. Thornton, runs the cotton mill and has taken a keen interest in Margaret, who is disgusted by the amount of poverty around Milton and, also, by the way Mr. Thornton treats his employees. Although an uprising is brooding and Margaret sympathizes with the workers, she starts to become fond of Thornton and his ambition after living for 18 months in Milton.
Margaret is surrounded by tragedy and loss from her family's ailing health, and a secret she must never reveal. Her societal upbringing in the south begins to clash with the northern poverty and her morals are beginning to shift and polarize. When more death starts to intrude on Margaret's life, she leaves Milton to return south to her Aunt where Margaret learns of a fortunate change of circumstance awaiting her that changes everything, including her relationship with Mr. Thornton.
©2016 A.R.N. Publications (P)2016 A.R.N. Publications
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Elizabeth Gaskell has a unique talent for writing characters that will pull at your heartstrings, and ‘North and South’ is no different. Though not as famous as authors like Charlotte Brontë and Jane Austen, Gaskell’s writing skills are as good, if not better than, those traditionally studied in English literature classes. Her narratives challenge the norm in Victorian society, drawing readers into the drama.
North and South follows the story of Margaret Hale who returns to her rural home after spending time with her rich aunt to learn how to become a proper woman. However, shortly after she returns home, Margaret’s family is uprooted, and Margaret soon finds herself surrounded by a worker’s uprising. Through Margaret, Gaskell accurately portrays the workers’ conditions in Victorian England, painting a vivid picture in the listeners mind.
Many Victorian themes can be found in Gaskell’s work, but she is also known for the way she challenged traditions and societal expectations. Her portrayal of women and the poor during this time period go against general expectations, putting this in line with works like Jane Eyre or Pride and Prejudice. Gaskell’s smooth prose is definitely something that anyone studying Victorian or English literature should be exposed to.
The narrator for this particular version of North and South, Kate Petrie, adds to the overall nature of the novel. Her British accent accurately fits the speaker of the novel itself, giving the reader a full experience that is sure to engulf them in the narrative.
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