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

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Denise (dulcinea3) | 400 comments Please discuss the beginning of the novel, Volume I, chapters I "Haste to the Wedding" through VIII "Home Sickness" here.

message 2: by Valerie (new) - added it

Valerie This is my first time reading with this group. I started the book today.

Denise (dulcinea3) | 400 comments Great, Valerie! I hope you enjoy the book and the discussion!

Samm (ashmanrose) I read the book a couple years ago, I can't wait to see the discussions on this one. It's one of my favorite books. Margaret Hale is a very interesting character.

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Valerie You are right about that! Margaret Hale is very interesting. I love the writing and the descriptive prose. I feel like I'm there. I'm 12% through the book. So far so good!

Lisa (lisadannatt) | 103 comments I can't believe I've never read this before! Only 10% in, but it's so beautifully and eloquently written. Somehow, it reminds me of Anne Bronte's Agnes Grey and Austen's persuasion; I think it may be the characterization of Margaret Hale.

Denise (dulcinea3) | 400 comments Margaret is definitely the rock upon whom her parents depend. She has a lot of common sense.

Lisa (lisadannatt) | 103 comments Exactly Denise!
Can someone help me. Why is her father leaving the church exactly? His faith hasn't shifted. Is it discontentment with actions of the church or with his lack of passion in his work? Or needing to preach to those who in need and not his settled village?

Denise (dulcinea3) | 400 comments I don't have time to look it up right now, but it has something to do with the Church at that time requiring the ministers (vicars? whatever) to sign a document that spells out a lot of requirements, and he doesn't agree with everything, so he cannot sign it in good faith.

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Lisa (lisadannatt) | 103 comments Thanks

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Lisa (lisadannatt) | 103 comments Margaret is a very idyllic character. Good and caring to those around her. I'm guessing that by her looks and manners she may appear haughty to those who don't know her.
I was stunned at how much depends on her, her father's asking her to tell her mother about the move was quite surprising.

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Lisa (lisadannatt) | 103 comments My misunderstandings came from my e copy, which was missing paragraphs. I have a much better copy now

Erica | 6 comments I've decided to only read Victorian lit in the penguin edition because it gives wonderful endnotes that explain all the details of life back then that readers of that time would have understood. My edition explains that Mr. Hale's doubts are never fully explained but that one scholar believes his doubts were about accepting the 39 Articles. Gaskell was a Unitarian and did not accept a triune God nor Christ as God as the Articles required. This is hinted as being Hale's position according to A. Easson in Mr. Hale's Doubt's.

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Lisa (lisadannatt) | 103 comments Thanks Erica

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Samm (ashmanrose) Denise wrote: "I don't have time to look it up right now, but it has something to do with the Church at that time requiring the ministers (vicars? whatever) to sign a document that spells out a lot of requirement..."

In addition to this, he belonged to the Church of England, which has different views than the Catholic or other denominations popular to England at this time. From what I remember about the book and what was hinted at in the mini-series, it wasn't that he was leaving his faith behind, he just wouldn't accept the Book of Common Prayer as a holy work. He could accept it, but it wasn't what he believed should be a part of the church's standard works. If I'm wrong, please correct me. It's been a while since I read the book.

Kimberly (kimarielle) Just a note- you will be coming across the word "clem" and "clemming"- most usually means starve, and starvation.

Nancy Trowbridge | 4 comments It must have been hard for Margaret having to move to a new place.

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Valerie Not only was it hard for her, but the new place was so depressing, dirty, smokey, etc. It was a new way of life for her also.

Denise (dulcinea3) | 400 comments She also has to take charge of everything - finding a home for them, etc. I don't think some were prepared to be dealing with a young woman rather than her father.

Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 604 comments I'm really enjoying this one. (I loved Cranford.)

Denise (dulcinea3) | 400 comments Susanna wrote: "I'm really enjoying this one. (I loved Cranford.)"

This one has more of a plot to it, whereas Cranford was more a series of incidents and observations. Both are delightful!

Julie | 5 comments Up to chapter XII now. This is my first Victorian literature for a long time and i find it hard to read without being angered that the upper classes of the day were so insensitive to the working poor that they do not know. Their Christian beliefs and empathies do not seem to extend beyond their immediate circle. I am not an ardent feminist, but I find it hard to sympathise with weak female characters like Mrs Hale, who just swoon isn't read living life's ups and downs. I am enjoying the read though and love the eloquent style of writing pointed out by another member.

Denise (dulcinea3) | 400 comments I agree, Julie, and I think that a lot of the authors had the same anger. They usually portray those upperclass insensitive types alongside other characters that have a more egalitarian viewpoint, in order to clearly contrast them, to drive home the point to the reader.

message 24: by Erin (last edited Sep 22, 2013 01:27PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Erin (miss_eepy) | 32 comments I've finished chapter 8. I'm doing a combination of listening to Librivox recordings and reading on my Kindle. I just had cataract surgery last week. I found this book much easier to listen to during recovery than most others I tried -- it didn't put me to sleep.

I'm greatly enjoying it so far. How have I never read Gaskell before?? As someone who has struggled with religion, I find that aspect fascinating (though vague -- which seems to be intentional). I find myself wavering between liking Margeret' s spunkiness; feeling bad for her as having to mediate between her parents and basically care for them; and disliking her as a bit of a snob. I'm excited to see how the character develops. The industrial setting reminds me of Charles Dickens (Hard Times, Bleak House) and D H Lawrence (Sons and Lovers).

Denise (dulcinea3) | 400 comments Erin, I also came to Gaskell late, and wondered why I had never read her novels before, being such a fan of Victorian novels. I only knew her as Charlotte Bronte's biographer (I had read that in a college class on the Brontes).

From all the additional material in my edition of North and South (Norton Critical Edition), including correspondence with Dickens while North and South was being serialize in his publication, I got the impression that he was working on Hard Times (which I have never read) at about the same time, and there was some concern about the overlap in the industrial theme. Also, right after reading this, I read Shirley by Charlotte Bronte and found a similar theme there. It is not in an urban setting, but there is a mill and very similar treatment of the master vs. workers theme. Not really the main theme of the story, but an important component, all the same.

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Erin (miss_eepy) | 32 comments Thanks for the info, Denise! I love the Norton Criticals. I really can't recommend Hard Times highly enough -- it's so beautiful, sad, and funny -- extremely impactful -- plus, it's short!

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Erin (miss_eepy) | 32 comments Kimberly wrote: "Just a note- you will be coming across the word "clem" and "clemming"- most usually means starve, and starvation."

Thank you! That was helpful.

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