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Mary Barton
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Mary Barton > November 2017: Mary Barton: Chapters 24-38 and Discussion of the book as a whole. This is a SPOILER THREAD!

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

☯Emily  Ginder | 1209 comments Mod
In this thread, we can discuss anything we want about the book! This is the spoiler thread.

Charlene Morris | 1209 comments Mod
It probably isn't important, but whose address did Aunt Esther give Mary?

Charlene Morris | 1209 comments Mod
It was shocking to read that Will has sailed on the John Cropper earlier before Mary got there.

I was totally expecting him to be there and say that Jem had left Will before the murder was committed. Still enough to plant doubt on the reader's mind that Jem possibly did shoot Carsons.

Charlene Morris | 1209 comments Mod
Just finished Mary Barton last night.

I did read the introduction. Once it was pointed out, I could see how revolutionary the novel was in depicting factory troubles. I wonder if this is more of a time period item. I thought it was interesting that her publisher bought it then had second thoughts on publishing. From my book, it said the publisher changed the focus of the book from Mary's father John to Mary.

Kathleen | 206 comments I read this a couple of months ago, and really enjoyed it. I didn't feel a great connection to the characters, but loved the description of their daily lives and intense struggles.

So interesting what you said about the publisher, Charlene. It was strange the way it was so much a book about John, yet titled Mary Barton. Makes me wonder how the book read before they messed with it ...

Anastasia Kinderman | 654 comments Mod
What I found interesting was how the whole problem, according to Gaskell, could've been solved with communication. This seems to be a universal theme in literature; if people communicated things would go so much better! Gaskell even said that if the "masters" had told their workers what was going on the workers would've been pretty understanding.

And if the masters had tried to see things from the workers' point of view a reasonable compromise could probably have been reached. But they weren't even seeing the workers as human and so definitely didn't try to empathize.

message 7: by Mizzou (last edited Nov 17, 2017 03:48PM) (new)

Mizzou | 177 comments Anastasia...........maybe. You wrote that "Gaskell even said that if the "masters" had told their workers what was going on the workers would've been pretty understanding." But we don't know how Mrs. Gaskell was "edited" by the publishers of her novel, who were very nervous about the way she described the plight of the mill workers and sympathized with it. They "doctored" her writing to make the novel more about the character Mary than about John Barton (the "activist" on behalf of the mill workers). It seemed to me, from reading the introduction to the novel, that the publishers didn't want to be seen as trying to "shame" the "masters" (factory owners, etc. of English society).
An interesting footnote to this 19th century novel was the real-life incident of the 20th century when some coal miners in the UK sought a boost in wages, the granting of which would have made the coal MORE expensive to produce than it could be sold for. Some debate, hunh?

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