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Cranford
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Archived Group Reads 2016 > Cranford/North and South discussion

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message 1: by Peter (new)

Peter As we prepare to leave Elizabeth Gaskell's Cranford I thought it might be interesting to reflect on her two novels that we have recently read. I will initiate some of the possible areas and topics to discuss and I encourage you to add your own observations, ideas and questions to the list below.

Please feel free to expand on any of the topics that exist, or, better yet, add your own ideas to the list. Be creative. Enjoy! I look forward to our conversation.


Who Is in Charge?

Cranford gives the reader a world of women and dwells mainly within the sphere of domesticity and mutual consideration; North and South is a man's world where business and commerce almost consumes the human heart.

Novels as Class Structure

Cranford is a novel that shows the delightful, if somewhat dilapidated, rural society of the early 19C; North and South demonstrates the energy needed to survive in the new industrial world.

Money: That's What I Want

Both Matty and John Thornton learn that no matter who you are, or how nice you are, the forces of the marketplace are impartial and often cruel. Only the strong will survive.


Serving Tea In British Novels

In both Cranford and North and South the ritual of serving tea is a key method used by Elizabeth Gaskell to develop character, advance plot, and even resolve problems.


All Alone by the Telephone ... well, a bit of an anachronism here.

It seems that in Cranford we wait for something to happen; in North and South too much happens.


I look forward to your own additions and comments.

P.S. I'm not very tech savvy. Does anyone know how to change a novel's rating? I would like to give Cranford 4 stars rather then the 3 I originally gave it. Thanks.


Everyman | 2507 comments Peter wrote: "P.S. I'm not very tech savvy. Does anyone know how to change a novel's rating? I would like to give Cranford 4 stars rather then the 3 I originally gave it. Thanks. ."

Just go to the book on your bookshelf, (Click on My Books in the site header, then click on All if that's not already selected, then just click on the star that you want to rate the book at (in your case, click on the fourth star) and that changes the rating to four stars. (You can go backward, too, changing a four star book to fewer stars if you've changed your mind.)

If you want to change not just your star rating but your review of the book, click on "edit" at the right end of the book listing.)


Everyman | 2507 comments Basically, I was surprised that the same author could have written both books. It either shows great versatility as an author, or points to a lack of a literary "center."


Clarissa (clariann) | 535 comments Peter wrote: "As we prepare to leave Elizabeth Gaskell's Cranford I thought it might be interesting to reflect on her two novels that we have recently read. I will initiate some of the possible areas and topics ..."

Like Everyman I don't think I would have been able to guess that these two novels were written by the same author. 'North and South' is so much more relentless in its look at society. Whereas the sadness in 'Cranford' is mitigated by a lightness of touch. In the modern publishing world it would be difficult for a writer to get two such different stories published under the same name.
It's a pleasure as a reader to see one author expressing different sides of what it is to be human.


message 5: by Peter (new)

Peter Clari wrote: "Peter wrote: "As we prepare to leave Elizabeth Gaskell's Cranford I thought it might be interesting to reflect on her two novels that we have recently read. I will initiate some of the possible are..."

Hi Clari

Being the moderator of Cranford certainly opened my eyes to the scope of Gaskell's writing. The follow-up found in the "Cranford Time Line," which can be found at the Cranford link, has furthered my appreciation for her work. If you have the time and interest have a look at the thread on the Cranford Time Line. It is an interesting place to look into.


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