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Mary Barton
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Mary Barton > November 2017: Mary Barton: Information about the Industrial Revolution, Plus Chapters 11-23 (No Spoilers!)

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message 1: by ☯Emily , The First (new) - rated it 4 stars

☯Emily  Ginder | 1241 comments Mod
In this thread, I would like us to explore the Industrial Revolution. What was the effects of this revolution on the people of England? What were the abuses of the business owners? How does the author review the issues? Does she favor the rich owners or the poor workers?

In addition, we will discuss chapters 11-23, looking at the plight of the working class as revealed by Elizabeth Gaskell. Please, do not discuss anything that not in chapters 1-23.


Charlene Morris | 1278 comments Mod
It doesn't directly deal with industrial revolution (mostly time after it), but does talk about class distinctions.

https://www.theatlantic.com/technolog...


Charlene Morris | 1278 comments Mod
Margaret really does seem like an anomaly for this time. When you first find out about her blindness, I really thought that was going to cause her and her grandfather serious hardships and poverty.

But instead, she turns to singing and they live in comparative wealth when considering other characters in the novel.


message 4: by Mizzou (new)

Mizzou | 177 comments Mrs. Gaskell gave us to understand that the 'work' that was open to girls and women was "to enter "service" , or become seamstresses, or hire out as "mill girls". The only ways around such a lot were to be born a rich man's daughter, or to possess an undeniable talent. So I suppose that is why Mrs. Gaskell had to give Margaret a glorious singing voice........? Or what?


message 5: by Charlene (last edited Oct 25, 2017 02:08PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Charlene Morris | 1278 comments Mod
I tried looking at Margaret as a foil for Mary, so I did wonder if Margaret's financial wealth from singing was a "reward" for not flirting outside her class. This book had a lot to deal with class. But it just seemed odd that she would be "rewarded" for that. It didn't make sense.


message 6: by Mizzou (new)

Mizzou | 177 comments Charlene, suppose you were writing Mary Barton (the book). You introduce a character (Margaret) who is losing her eyesight, a calamity that would make it impossible for her to earn her pittance doing all that sewing by candlelight. Using a 'flow chart' approach, you the author can have Margaret either (1) go blind or (2) not go blind. But the consequences of either 'path' have to be authentic for that time and that place, correct? Job opportunities for girls and women were so damned circumscribed. Only Catholic girls could consider "the religious life" as an alternative to the extremely narrow secular occupations open to females. Also, in order to become 'governesses', young women had to be rather well educated, and formal education was expensive and wasn't deemed important for females to acquire.
P.S. Reading this novel, don't you marvel at how the same old inequality of wealth prevailed Then as Now?


message 7: by ☯Emily , The First (new) - rated it 4 stars

☯Emily  Ginder | 1241 comments Mod
Mizzou wrote: ".P.S. Reading this novel, don't you marvel at how the same old inequality of wealth prevailed Then as Now? "

I finished the book this week. I am amazed at how the attitudes toward money, and of the poor and the 1% have not changed. John Barton's trip to London to address the politician about the working man's plight reminds me of the poor getting poorer and the rich getting richer in this country (USA). Our politicians solution is to continue to tax the poor and middle class while giving huge tax breaks to the wealthy who can well afford to pay their "fair" share.


message 8: by ☯Emily , The First (new) - rated it 4 stars

☯Emily  Ginder | 1241 comments Mod
I liked the way that Elizabeth Gaskell gave Margaret a talent that would help her overcome her disability and Margaret took advantage of that talent.


Anastasia Kinderman | 670 comments Mod
☯Emily wrote: "I liked the way that Elizabeth Gaskell gave Margaret a talent that would help her overcome her disability and Margaret took advantage of that talent."

Industrious. ;)


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