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Archived Group Reads 2013 > North and South - Vol. I - chs. IX-XVII

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Denise (dulcinea3) | 401 comments Please discuss Volume I, chapters IX "Dressing for Tea" through XVII "What is a Strike?" here.

Nancy Trowbridge | 4 comments I always felt sorry for Mr Thorton when Margaret wouldn`t take his hand I think he was very hurt by it.

Lisa (lisadannatt) | 103 comments Margaret is mostly an impressive young woman, particularly with regard to her compassion shown towards the Higgins family and Bessie in particular. She battles against the assumption that as she is aristocratic, she has little depth of feeling or difficulties.
This section of the book is filled with revelation: the mysterious Freddy, Bessie's illness, Mrs Hale's illness and the strike. Margaret appears as central confidant, listening to troubles and pains of individuals; protecting others from pain.
Her biggest failing is in her dealings with Mr Thornton, they have both misjudged each other.

message 4: by Trudy (last edited Sep 14, 2013 05:37PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Trudy Brasure | 93 comments I'm not sure if Thornton really misjudges her. She IS haughty in regard to him, and he detects it. He is patient enough to listen to her rather naive accusations. I think he's really aware of the trouble she must be going through in moving to a new place she didn't want to move to.
She, on the other hand, is definitely prejudging him - assuming because he is in trade, all he cares about is money.
I think it's very interesting to note how gentle Thornton is with her rather rude outbursts at tea. Margaret is unfortunately letting out her pent-up frustrations on him. Poor fellow!
But I do see how much Margaret has to deal with, and I've come to think that maybe, in some intuitive way, she knew she could be totally honest with him and that he would listen. And he does. He could have dismissed her as a girl who knows nothing about business.
Who else is really listening to Margaret? Thornton is. I think he 'gets' her pretty well, even though he took heavily the handshake miss. That was a misunderstanding of culture differences.

Lisa (lisadannatt) | 103 comments That makes a lot of sense Trudy. He is the only person listening and with lots of patience. I think that initially Thornton thought Margaret had little substance and was misled by her aristocratic look that she wouldn't be able to manage in the north. Although she has struggled, she has managed.

Julie | 5 comments The story is moving on nicely here with a good level of tension between Thornton and Margaret. I hope they get together in the end as I'm a sucker for a happy ending. I'm not sure why, but the tension between these characters seems like a template for the modern Mills and Boon type books. Sorry if that seems like heresy, bit I can't shake the feeling. I like the different strands to the story and how Margaret is gradually accepting her new life in the north. A real strength if character is developing in her handling of her mother's illness. Looking forward to the rest of the novel very much.

Erin (miss_eepy) | 32 comments I was struck by the timeliness of this section (in connection with the recent fast-food workers strike). Life is very different now, of course, but the same themes and difficulties echo across one-and-a-half centuries, and I just find that fascinating.

Trudy Brasure | 93 comments It is very interesting how Gaskell touches on all the human aspects of what was really the beginning of the modern age, at least as far as the rise of capitalism is concerned. All the human issues are still relevant, and what it boils down to, to me, is how we evaluate each other and how we treat each other. I believe Gaskell is pushing us to take a closer look at each other, and to be aware of each other's struggles: to be respectful and compassionate to your fellow humans.

Erin (miss_eepy) | 32 comments Absolutely, Trudy! Well put!

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