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Archived Group Reads 2013 > North and South - Vol. I - chs. XVIII-XXV

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Denise (dulcinea3) | 401 comments Please discuss Volume I, chapters XVIII "Likes and Dislikes" through XXV "Frederick" here.

Lisa (lisadannatt) | 103 comments Thornton is protective towards Margaret, it seems as if he sees her good qualities far better than his mother does

Denise (dulcinea3) | 401 comments Yes, I think Mrs. Thornton looks down on Margaret. She wants her son to marry up, and thinks Margaret is not good enough for him. A bit ironic, because Margaret's family would most likely be considered more genteel and higher class, even though they do not have money. I think this points out the nouveau riche, who have earned their money through trade made possible by the Industrial Revolution, and their conrast with the old gentility.

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Trudy Brasure | 93 comments I'm not quite sure who Hannah might have considered good enough for her son! Although her first mention concerning Margaret is a warning not to get caught by a penniless girl, I think that one of the more potent reasons Hannah doesn't approve of Margaret is that Hannah thinks these southerners believe themselves better than the Thorntons (which they do - they are set in abiding by the traditional class divisions). Hannah is fiercely proud of her son and can't abide anyone looking down on him. That's what really galls her about Margaret's initial attitude concerning her son. Margaret laughed at the idea of being interest in trying to catch John as a husband. (Famous last laugh, Margaret! )

Nancy Trowbridge | 4 comments I don`t think Mrs Thorton thought any woman was good enough was her son.

Lisa (lisadannatt) | 103 comments I agree with all the above, that Mrs Thornton would never think anyone good enough for her son. I've also wondered if she may sense that her son has some regard for Margaret, and that she is afraid of this. Touching on Denise's comment, I've wondered if, under all her bluster, does Mrs Thornton feel inferior to the Hales?

Trudy Brasure | 93 comments That's a really interesting question, Lisa. I think Hannah is very sensitive to the way traditional society judges people. I believe she cast aside the old evaluation system when she was basically cast out of society by the 'shame' of her husband's actions. She had no further need or respect for the old social system. No one cared to help them. I think this life event really turned her forever from all the superficiality of judging people based on position, education, birth. She and John spent years proving their worth and dignity by pure self-determination, diligence, moral courage and faith, and pure hard work. She has come to only value what can be proven useful. She doesn't see the value in education without its practical proof.
She's fiercely proud of what she and John have accomplished. I think she rather dares anyone to judge them!
So, no, I don't think she feels inferior at all. She may even feel herself and her son a little superior than most others.

Lisa (lisadannatt) | 103 comments As I read further Trudy, I realized that I was mistaken. Mrs Thornton has no time for the gentry who rejected her before. However, it appears that if John loves Margaret, she would try to care for her too.

Lisa (lisadannatt) | 103 comments The strike was terrifying! I was impressed at Gaskell's ability to express the terror with such eloquence and without being explicit. In SA, strikes are frequent, and throwing oneself into the melee as Margaret did, in these days, would result in more than a grazed temple. Nonetheless, Margaret's action is singular and demonstrates a depth of feeling. I'm not convinced that she loves John at present. I think it was prompted by fear of injustice and preventing John being hurt because of her words.

Trudy Brasure | 93 comments Hannah will admire anyone with strength and spirit of the right kind. She respects those that can prove themselves capable. I have no doubts whatever that she would eventually learn to love her daughter-in-law. There are hints in the book that show us that Hannah admires certain traits in Margaret and is embarrassed of her own daughter.

Julie | 5 comments Mrs Thornton also worries about playing second fiddle to a new daughter in law and having a rival in her son's affections. It's interesting to see that way back in early industrial society, the same concerns applied in the workplace - cheaper workers being brought in (work outsourced to BRIC countries now) and further improvements to processes to reduce manual labour. Anyone know what Margaret's thoughts mean about a person being taken for dead and being able to hear preparations being made for their burial? (Chapter 22, 41% through my digital edition).

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Erin (miss_eepy) | 32 comments Julie wrote: "Anyone know what Margaret's thoughts mean about a person being taken for dead and being able to hear preparations being made for their burial?"

I think she's referring to the fear of being paralyzed but thought to be dead. I've read about this a bit, in relation to vampire folklore. It seems to have been a common fear at the time and resulted in "safety coffins" with bells to alert someone of a premature burial.

I was curious about the water-bed and found the following page and its links to be helpful:

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Lisa (lisadannatt) | 103 comments Being mistaken as dead in the Victorian era was common, clinical acumen not being what it is today. The dead were buried with a string attached to the index finger of the dominant hand. This string led above ground to a bell on the tombstone. If the dead person was alive, any movement was likely to ring the bell- hence the term dead- ringer.
There were people positioned in the graveyard listening for the bell, even into the dead of night. Thus the term the graveyard shift.

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Lisa (lisadannatt) | 103 comments Thanks for the link Erin.

Julie | 5 comments Thanks for your clarification Erin and Lisa, much appreciated.

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Lisa (lisadannatt) | 103 comments One more macabre comment. Before this safety system was implemented, coffins that were dug up with scratches on the inside of the lid- from those who had been buried alive....

Denise (dulcinea3) | 401 comments Wow, I never knew the origin of 'dead ringer' and 'graveyard shift' - thanks!

message 18: by Lisa (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lisa (lisadannatt) | 103 comments Learnt it on a tour of a graveyard in Edinburgh, I'm sure there was more. The graveyard shift was also there to prevent grave robbing!

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