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2018/19 Group Reads - Archives > Mary Barton Chapters 26 - 34

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message 1: by Candace (new)

Candace (cprimackqcom) | 138 comments Mary Barton Chapters 26-34

1. Who is Charley and how does he help Mary?

2. Why does Mary need a boatman?

3. How did Mr. Bridgenorth say Jem did in his interview? What was his impression of Jem?

4. What is Job’s ‘deception’ to Mrs. Wilson? Why does he deceive her?

5. Who does Mary spend the night with before the trial? How do they treat her?

6. Jem sends a last letter to Job while incarcerated. What does he request of Job?

7. Why doesn’t Jem explain during the trial that he had loaned out his gun?

8. Was there any part of the trial that surprised you? Any unrealistic parts?

9. How does Jem reconcile his mother to the fact that Mary will be his wife?


message 2: by Lori, Moderator (new)

Lori Goshert (lori_laleh) | 1369 comments Mod
The book is still amazing. This section made me happy that Gaskell made Mary the star of the story instead of John. She really shone in the search for Will and the trial. I don't think the story lost any of its social message by not having John the hero of the book. It's all still there, but in a form that might encourage more people to read it.
I also love how human she made her characters. In contrast to some of Dickens's characters, no one is completely good or completely bad (though Alice comes close to perfect, but then everyone knows one angelic elderly lady).
The only thing I don't like are Gaskell's spoiler-filled chapter titles :-)
I wonder what's going to happen with John now. It's only a matter of time (surely less than a day) before the other neighbors find out he's home and tell him about Mary.


message 3: by Frances, Moderator (new)

Frances (francesab) | 1870 comments Mod
Agreed, Lori, for the most part I really liked Mary in these chapters. My one hesitation was around her frailty (and frankly foolishness) when she becomes so overwhelmed that she takes absolutely no care for her own safety (which also compromises her ability to fight for Jem)-really ends up relying on the kindness of strangers to help her find somewhere to stay for the night, leaves no word with anyone about where she is, loses her papers which tell her where everything is, and could easily have ended up part of the problem, rather than the solution. This was too much of a contrast for me with the young woman ready to go by herself to a strange town to hunt down the one possible witness who could save her lover.


message 4: by Candace (new)

Candace (cprimackqcom) | 138 comments I’m torn about Mary’s actions in the latter part of the book. I can easily see her becoming frail (she probably already was frail and weak from hunger and the journey) because a little stress tears me down and can you imagine if you thought the chances were likely that the person you loved would be hanged? I did think she could have sent word to Job where she was at - when she was taken to the boat mans house, but was she ever conscious after arriving there? Did she have an opportunity to send word?

I agree Lori that the chapter titles or the poems give spoilers ; however, they remind me of favorite childhood books- always having chapter titles or guessing if I’m right about the not-so-cryptic poem. So I have enjoyed them. But I am not picky about spoilers - in my classics. In all other genres, I DO NOT want spoilers! Haha! I think it’s because I read the genre fiction heavily for facts , while I read the classics for much more than what is going to happen next.

I think Lori you said it best when you said the book is an interesting one about Mary and Jem, while still remaining an important one that shows the reader the heavy social issues of the day.


message 5: by Trev (last edited Jul 28, 2018 09:15AM) (new)

Trev | 337 comments Frances wrote: "Agreed, Lori, for the most part I really liked Mary in these chapters. My one hesitation was around her frailty (and frankly foolishness) when she becomes so overwhelmed that she takes absolutely n..."

It was Mary's belief that she was the only one that could prevent an injustice that drove her beyond what would be normal boundaries for her. I saw it as pure desperation, throwing caution to the wind, together with a naive innocence. She had never travelled by railway before so the dangers of the Liverpool docks didn't really register. Only after contacting Will did the reality of the situation begin to hit her. If she had thought too much about what she was doing, her chance to reach Will might have been lost.


message 6: by Rosemarie, Moderator (new)

Rosemarie | 2893 comments Mod
I can imagine how devastated Mary was when she realized that Will had gone on board a day early. She also didn't have anything to eat or drink, so it is not surprising that she was confused and disoriented.

I think Jem's mother is one of the weaker characters. She wants to hang on to her son and at first even thought he was guilty(I think?)


message 7: by Deborah, Moderator (new)

Deborah (deborahkliegl) | 4487 comments Mod
These chapters made me want to rush through the rest of the book. It makes sense to me that Mary would be so anxious, stressed, weaken by lack of food and sleep that she’d lose the paper with the addresses on it. How could she send word of her whereabouts when she didn’t know where to send it? Yes all of this places her safety at risk, but even the best of us would succumb to the exhaustion and confusion.


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