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Archived Group Reads 2009-10 > North and South: Ch. 16-19

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message 1: by Silver (new)

Silver For discussion for chapters 16-19. Spoiers may be posted here.


message 2: by Alicatte (new)

Alicatte | 17 comments I am very intrigued by the fact that we have these three families in which one of the children is in a way a stand-in for the spouse: Margaret and Mr. Hale, John and Mrs. Thornton, and Bessy and Mr. Higgins. Each straddles the role of companion and child. And because of that, Gaskell allows each to assess intelligently (the adult role) and to change their point of view (the child role).


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) So very true, Alicatte. They are all multi faceted people learning to live with what life has given them.


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) After reading these chapters, I must say I really like Mr Hale quite a bit. He surely shows his love, care, and concern for his wife. How do people feel about them not telling him about the seriousness of his wife's illness?


message 5: by Kelley (new)

Kelley (kelleyls) | 25 comments Marialyce wrote: "How do people feel about them not telling him about the serious..."

I sympathize with Hale so much about this point. Not to get too personal, but I was in a similar position when I was a teen and my mother was seriously ill and I was shielded from the gravity of the situation. I'm not sure how it will play out in Hale's case yet, but the result for me was resentment and guilt that I didn't know to make the most of the time left with my loved one.


message 6: by Malcolm (new)

Malcolm Esquire (MalcolmEsq) | 344 comments Hi Silver and all, I am just about to start on this section of the story :o)


message 7: by Malcolm (new)

Malcolm Esquire (MalcolmEsq) | 344 comments Alicatte wrote: "I am very intrigued by the fact that we have these three families in which one of the children is in a way a stand-in for the spouse: Margaret and Mr. Hale, John and Mrs. Thornton, and Bessy and Mr..."

Yes, quite so. But in the case of John Thornton, he stopped being a child the moment his dad died and quite naturally assumed the role of head of the family above his mother's role of matriarch. That was the way things were in those days.

And likewise, as in Bessie's case, in working-class families, if the mother died it was expected that the eldest daughter to assume the role of the mother as long as the father remained unwed.


message 8: by Malcolm (new)

Malcolm Esquire (MalcolmEsq) | 344 comments Marialyce wrote: "After reading these chapters, I must say I really like Mr Hale quite a bit. He surely shows his love, care, and concern for his wife. How do people feel about them not telling him about the serious..."

It is best that he remains in ignorance for as long as possible to protect him from the emotional shock. He has had far too many life-changing decisions to make which has left him unfit to face the agony of knowing that his wife's days are numbered. The last thing any of them want is another invalid on their hands.


message 9: by Malcolm (new)

Malcolm Esquire (MalcolmEsq) | 344 comments Kelley wrote: "Marialyce wrote: "How do people feel about them not telling him about the serious..."

I sympathize with Hale so much about this point. Not to get too personal, but I was in a similar position whe..."


They just think that there is little point in telling him as there is nothing he can do but worry, panic and get under their feet.


message 10: by Malcolm (new)

Malcolm Esquire (MalcolmEsq) | 344 comments I'm assuming that she has breast cancer. The scene reminds me of Maria Edgeworth's 'Belinda' (1801), where very early on we learn that Lady Delacour has breast cancer (it is named) and is a major storyline of the novel.


message 11: by Malcolm (last edited Dec 07, 2010 07:06PM) (new)

Malcolm Esquire (MalcolmEsq) | 344 comments Kelley wrote: "Marialyce wrote: "How do people feel about them not telling him about the serious..."

I sympathize with Hale so much about this point. Not to get too personal, but I was in a similar position whe..."


Besides, with the delicacy that Gaskell has handled the issue it is safe to assume that the disease is a "womans problem" and there is no way he can discuss the matter intimately with his daughter or Dixon.


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) While I see your point,Malcolm, I would think that one's husband should be the first to know of a wife's illness no matter how personal that illness is. To conceal that sickness, is to withhold information that the husband needs to know no matter how distraught other matters have made him. He has a right to know at least in my way of thinking.

I particularly though Glaskell did a remarkable job with the dinner scene. While people around them are starving, Mrs Thornton goes out of her way to present a dinner that was both lavish and seemed to flaunt their wealth to all. (extra portions and all) To my way of thinking, even to the guests, she was literally saying look at how I am better than you. Look at how I feed you. I believe that woman has definite self worth issues. I do realize that she was poor previously, but her pity and heart certainly do not belong to those people to whose class she once belonged.


message 13: by Malcolm (new)

Malcolm Esquire (MalcolmEsq) | 344 comments Marialyce wrote: "While I see your point,Malcolm, I would think that one's husband should be the first to know of a wife's illness no matter how personal that illness is. To conceal that sickness, is to withhold inf..."

They are witholding the worse from Mr Hale so as to protect him. Mentally he is unfit to handle such a devastating blow. Margaret explained to Dr Dixon that if Mr Hale must be told let it be gently and when the time was right "she may have years left yet" or words to that effect.


message 14: by Kelley (new)

Kelley (kelleyls) | 25 comments I agree, Marialyce. I think the effort to protect him will ultimately hurt Hale. Hopefully he will find out before it's too late.


message 15: by Malcolm (new)

Malcolm Esquire (MalcolmEsq) | 344 comments Marialyce wrote: "While I see your point,Malcolm, I would think that one's husband should be the first to know of a wife's illness no matter how personal that illness is. To conceal that sickness, is to withhold inf..."

Mrs Thornton's symbols of eealth tells people of her own class and above that she is their equal.

She's not the type of person who would regularly sit down to dinner with the working-classes simply to rub their noses in it. Working-class people are not in her social sphere.


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) ...but they once were!


message 17: by Malcolm (new)

Malcolm Esquire (MalcolmEsq) | 344 comments Marialyce wrote: "While I see your point,Malcolm, I would think that one's husband should be the first to know of a wife's illness no matter how personal that illness is. To conceal that sickness, is to withhold inf..."

In which chapter does this dinner occur? I've yet to read it.


message 18: by Malcolm (new)

Malcolm Esquire (MalcolmEsq) | 344 comments Marialyce wrote: "...but they once were!"

Be that as it may they are not now. She has ni need to flaunt her wealth to the working-classes. She doesn't really care about them other than they work in her sons cotton mill. Other than in terms of a workforce she hardly thinks about them. She's got her own life to concern herself with. The working-classes have their own concerns.


message 19: by Malcolm (new)

Malcolm Esquire (MalcolmEsq) | 344 comments And bear in mind she was never working-class but of the mercantile class - tradespeople and of the monied classes.


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) Not sure about the chapter either 17-18-19. Hard for me to check because it is on my kindle.

I realize she cares nothing for the people who work for her and her son. It is just how fast one forgets that once you yourself were hungry and worried about your children as well. It just seems to reinforce how selfish she is.


message 21: by Silver (new)

Silver I find Margaret's position within Milton to be quite an interesting one in regards to the fact that as an outsider, she is a very objective viewer, who simply wishes to see the truth and she is given the opportunity to explore both sides of the story, worker, vs, employer, with her friendship to the Higgins and her fathers relations to Mr. Thornton. She is placed in the middle between them.

With here interesting in a basic sense of what is just, and her religious ideas of how men should act towards his fellow man, I wonder if she will prove to be an influence upon Mr. Thornton and lead him to see the err of his ways in regards to his views and treatment of his works.

It would be impossible it seems to me for Margaret and Mr. Thornton to be together the way he presently is, and it seems as if Gaskell is setting up the ground for a match to be made between them, unless Henry Lennox is unexpectedly going to pop back up into the picture later down the road.

I am also very intrigued by Fredrick, and wonder if the occasion will ever come in which we will get to meet him in person to so to speak, rather than just through the heresy of his mother and sister who to say the least have somewhat biased views.

I also wonder what significance, or influence Fredrick and his current situation bares upon Margaret, as we have learned that according to Fredrick he had to mutiny becasue he could no longer bare the injustice of the treatment of his superiors, so he pushed to the point where it was no longer tolerable, and while I suspect we cannot all together take him at his word Margaret is now placed in a similar situation.

There must be some particular relevance to the fact that Margaret now has found herself in the position of being exposed to the injustices of the way in which the factory workers are being treated and that Mr. Thornton is one of those partly responsible for such injustice.


message 22: by Kelley (new)

Kelley (kelleyls) | 25 comments Silver wrote: "I find Margaret's position within Milton to be quite an interesting one in regards to the fact that as an outsider, she is a very objective viewer, who simply wishes to see the truth and she is giv..."

Oh I definitely think we will meet Frederick. I don't think Gaskell would introduce him with such detail without him adding some influence. I think his character is a parallel to the workers and his mutiny to their strike. Although I think he was a minor officer, Margaret is similarly sympathetic to the workers but also above them. I'm looking forward to getting the whole story of the mutiny from someone impartial. Since we only have Frederick's account, I wonder if perhaps his actions weren't so heroic after all.


message 23: by Malcolm (new)

Malcolm Esquire (MalcolmEsq) | 344 comments Malcolm wrote: "Marialyce wrote: "While I see your point,Malcolm, I would think that one's husband should be the first to know of a wife's illness no matter how personal that illness is. To conceal that sickness, ..."

I see your point with relevence to yourself and how you consider the the actions of the characters. Perhaps ignorance is not always bliss.

With regards to the chapter as a whole I feel there is a lot of seception going on in general.

It maybe that the doctor likewise held back on Margaret giving her hope to cling to that her mother's passing maybe years away yet and not as soon as her apparent rapid deteriotation may otherwise suggest.

Is he a hypocrite? He claims to consider Mr Hale an honourable man yet his discretion tells him to withold what you deem to be vital information.

In this chapter Gaskell gives us much to speculate upon and ponder :o)


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) Malcolm wrote: "Malcolm wrote: "Marialyce wrote: "While I see your point,Malcolm, I would think that one's husband should be the first to know of a wife's illness no matter how personal that illness is. To conceal..."

She certainly does! ....and I agree I am probably looking at the illness question with 21st century eyes. I will anxious to see what you think of the dinner party and its celebrants.


message 25: by Malcolm (new)

Malcolm Esquire (MalcolmEsq) | 344 comments Hi Silver and group. If you should ever at anytime feel that you might care to reread North And South in book form, perhaps you might first care to see if it is availiable through Bedford books of St. Martin's Press which will also include a number of critical essays from a variety of perspectives :o)


message 26: by Andrea (new)

Andrea | 83 comments I've got the Norton critical edition. The footnotes are helpful. I haven't looked at the other materials, but I've used other Norton editions and they are usually good.

I feel resentful that Margaret has to bear the burden of her mother's illness alone, trying to gently prepare her father while he wanders along in denial. I think that as the husband, he ought to know of his wife's illness and that her time is limited.

I'm not sure if this is opening a can of worms, but what do people think of Bessie's "visions" or "dreams"? They seem like they might be examples of what the author wants us to see happens when the intellect is not trained and guided.


message 27: by Silver (new)

Silver Andrea wrote: "I've got the Norton critical edition. The footnotes are helpful. I haven't looked at the other materials, but I've used other Norton editions and they are usually good.

I feel resentful that M..."


As far as being resentful that Margaret has to bare the illness alone, I am not quite sure that is quite the word for it, as ultimately she choose for herself that situation. Mrs. Hale, and the Doctor wanted to protect her from the knowledge, but she insisted to know it, and after she found out she made the choice for herself not to tell her father, at least not right away. And I would not say she is completely alone, as Dixon has been dealing with the truth of the illness for years before Margaret even really expected anything.

I have mixed feelings about the decision as to telling, or not telling Mr. Hale, while Margaret is acting out of her fears for her father's own mental state, at times it seems as if he is suffering more for not knowing the truth. In spite of his state of denial, it seems clear in his constant anxiety, and seeking reassurance from Margaret that at heart he is aware that the condition is more serious than what is let on.

Though he tries to convince himself that it is nothing to be worried about, it does not seem he himself completely believes his own attempts at reassurance. In a way I think that if he just knew the truth straight up and was not placed in the position of constantly wondering about it, it may be in the long run better for him.


message 28: by Malcolm (new)

Malcolm Esquire (MalcolmEsq) | 344 comments At the closing of the deceptive chapter 16 'Yhe Shadow of Death' we read this:

' Oh, Dixon !' said Margaret ,
' how often I 've been cross
with you,
not knowing what a terrible
secret you had to bear!'

' Bless you, child! I like to see
you showing a bit of a spirit .
It 's the good old Beresford
blood . Why , the last Sir John
but two
shot his steward down , there
where he stood , for just
telling him
that he' d racked the tenants ,
and he 'd racked the tenants
till he
could get no more money off
them than he could get skin
off a
flint . '

' Well, Dixon , I won 't shoot
you, and I ' ll try not to be
cross
again . '

Sir John Beresford shot dead his steward because the steward called the baronet a skin-flint for increasing continually his tenent's rents.

Maria Edgeworth's groundbreaking and best-selling debut work for an adult readership (she had written for children up to that point) 'Castle Rackrent' (1800) addresses such issues directly with regards to absentee English landlords continuosly raising the rents of their poor Irish tenents.

Because most English readers in general were ignorant to the customs, ways and language of the Irish, the narrative is presented as a transcribed oral first-hand account by an old faithful family retainer of the Rackrent family, so to elucidate the English readers, Edgeworth presents herself as an editor merely providing notes to the text presented.

If Edgeworth felt the need to trouble herself with providing her readers with notes to aid their understanding of her brief comic masterpiece, any modern reader should be urged not to attempt reading it unless the edition they read has modern notes as an accompliment.


message 29: by Malcolm (new)

Malcolm Esquire (MalcolmEsq) | 344 comments If the plot and storylines of North And South intrigues one that they would like similar work, they should consider seriously Benjamin Disraeli's Sybil. The back cover blurb of my old edition reads:

"One of the most important of English political novels. Sybil caused a sensation when it was first published in 1845. So vivid was its exposure of the gross inequalities of Victorian society -- from the desperate poverty of the industrial workers to the gross and irresponsible excesses of the wealthy -- that its subtitle 'The Two Nations' has passed into the language.

But Disraeli, the man who was to become one of Britain's most famous Prime Ministers, did not produce in Sybil merely a political tract on behalf of Tory democracy as an answer to the Hungry Forties. This is a dramatic novel of romance, full of wit and irony; a love story which ranges through adventure, mystery and political intrigue while questioning many of the basic assumptions of the Victorian social structure."

It will show you why baronets such as Sir John Beresford, are a popular and despised class of aristocrat in popular British literature.


message 30: by Malcolm (new)

Malcolm Esquire (MalcolmEsq) | 344 comments I've just completed Chapter 17.


message 31: by Silver (new)

Silver I wonder, is Bessy meant to be a sort of martyr figure? In spite of her own impending death becasue of the life she has lived and all the suffering and injustice she has seen around her, she still keeps her faith and has a sort of optimism about her.

She does not express fear at the thought of her death, but looks to it as her release with the hopes that in her death she will enter into the paradise of heaven.

She does not judge nor hold ill will towards Margaret for her association with the Thornton's but instead is only concerned about Margaret being looked down upon by them.


message 32: by Malcolm (new)

Malcolm Esquire (MalcolmEsq) | 344 comments but instead is
only concerned about
Margaret being looked down
upon by them.

You will have to make yourself clear on this. "them" is causing some considerable confusion as to logic? Is it a grammatical error?

Yes, I think that Bessie can be seen as a Christian martyr. She certainly clings to her faith in God's word as written in Revelations. She refers to the 'seventh chapter':

Revelations 7:16 describes the saved before the throne of God: 'They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more.'

Nicholas Higgins interpretation of this would no doubt be when you're dead you're dead. There's no miracles in the dead not hungering or thirsting. Call him cynical or call him practical minded, but I feel he has a point.


message 33: by Malcolm (last edited Dec 10, 2010 12:16PM) (new)

Malcolm Esquire (MalcolmEsq) | 344 comments Also, in those days - as now - most Christians are eager to enter the gates of heaven and leave their cares behind. She is no morbid than most sick or healthy.

Are you familiar with the American spiritual 'Goin' Home', sung to Dvorak American New World Symphony? It uses melodies borrowed from Stephen Foster.


message 34: by Malcolm (new)

Malcolm Esquire (MalcolmEsq) | 344 comments Ray Charles' version of 'That Lucky Old Sun Just Rolls Around Heaven All Day, may give you a sense of how Bessie and the working-class were feeling :o)


message 35: by Silver (new)

Silver Malcolm wrote: "but instead is
only concerned about
Margaret being looked down
upon by them.

You will have to make yourself clear on this. "them" is causing some considerable confusion as to logic? Is it a..."


I meant that Bessy is worried that Thornton and company will look down upon Margaret, because from what Bessy can see she lacks the proper finery for what Miltion views as being such prestigious company.


message 36: by Silver (last edited Dec 10, 2010 03:05PM) (new)

Silver Malcolm wrote: "Also, in those days - as now - most Christians are eager to enter the gates of heaven and leave their cares behind. She is no morbid than most sick or healthy.

Are you familiar with the America..."


I do not want to get off topic but you know the expression easier said than done?

While it may be true that Christians preach thier eagerness to enter the gates of heaven, when put in an actual near death situation thier actions do not always prove the case as it were and they express what is only basic human instinct for the desire to survive, and live.

In spite of thier religious beliefs it is acutally against basic human nature to truly be so accepting of impending death. And in most cases it is our natural instincts which override our theological conventions.


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) Well said, Silver. People have done and do everything possible to prolong life. As you said it is against human nature not to. I think that is why suicide to many is quite unfathomable and ever so tragic to many of us.

I really do not see Bessie as a Christian martyr at all. She is obviously extremely sick and from what we can infer we assume it is lung cancer. This is a painful illness where one grasps for air and as the illness progress breathing becomes more and more labored. I don't see her at all accepting death, but she knows it will happen I think her resolve is more based on the inevitable than any religious fervor.


message 38: by Silver (new)

Silver Marialyce wrote: "Well said, Silver. People have done and do everything possible to prolong life. As you said it is against human nature not to. I think that is why suicide to many is quite unfathomable and ever so ..."

I think that all of her dreams and visions give her a very martyr like quality, and I think considering she is a young woman who is victim to the work of the mills Gaskell may be using her as a martyr like figure.

In spite of the suffering caused by her work and becasue her own death was brought upon by the mills work she still dislikes the strikes and talk of conflict and longs only for a sense of peace and she does display herself as being of a very religious nature in her talks to Margaret.

She chides her father for his disbelief and she preaches of God and the bible. And in spite of all the missilery in which she has lived through she holds onto idyllic visions.

In addition she worries more for the well being of others than she does so for herself. There is a certain nobility and almost purity in the way in which she does meet her fate. She does not rebel against it in anger or with hatred as she easily could have done. She does not hold resentment.


message 39: by Malcolm (new)

Malcolm Esquire (MalcolmEsq) | 344 comments Silver wrote: "Malcolm wrote: "Also, in those days - as now - most Christians are eager to enter the gates of heaven and leave their cares behind. She is no more morbid than most sick or healthy.

Are you familiar ..."


I was unsure where to put the Goin' Home and Luck Old Sun comments as the name of the intertextual folder has changed.

Perhaps you are aware only of Christians close to death or have had near-death experiences. . . My biological mother was raised a Catholic, and an elder brother of mine is a serving Methodist minister.


message 40: by Silver (new)

Silver Malcolm wrote: "Silver wrote: "Malcolm wrote: "Also, in those days - as now - most Christians are eager to enter the gates of heaven and leave their cares behind. She is no more morbid than most sick or healthy.
..."


My point was simply being that just because the desire to rise into heaven was part of Christian doctrine does not by default mean that all Christians have a serene or open arms approach to death, because that mentality goes against basic human nature. Thus Bessy's acceptance of her fate while reflective of the ideal Christian mind set does not necessarily reflect the way others would react within her position including fellow Christians.


message 41: by Malcolm (new)

Malcolm Esquire (MalcolmEsq) | 344 comments Silver wrote: "Malcolm wrote: "Silver wrote: "Malcolm wrote: "Also, in those days - as now - most Christians are eager to enter the gates of heaven and leave their cares behind. She is no more morbid than most s..."

I suppose it must depend upon which church you are a member of.


message 42: by Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) (last edited Dec 10, 2010 05:04PM) (new)

Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) Malcolm wrote: "Silver wrote: "Malcolm wrote: "Silver wrote: "Malcolm wrote: "Also, in those days - as now - most Christians are eager to enter the gates of heaven and leave their cares behind. She is no more mor..."

I believe it is not a matter of church, but that of your belief in both a supreme being and an afterlife. All Christianity believes in an afterlife, as well as Muslims, Hindus etc. The Jewish faith is the only one that does not believe in heaven. I, myself, am Catholic, and yet I would not embrace death and none of my fellow Catholics would do that I am sure. Certainly the church has not taught that to its members. It is always taught that a good life will lead to the possibility of heaven. I think it has very little to do with religion (church) and more to do with belief.

Bessie might be considered a saint in how she conducts her life, but a Christian martyr hardly.


message 43: by Malcolm (new)

Malcolm Esquire (MalcolmEsq) | 344 comments Marialyce wrote: "Malcolm wrote: "Silver wrote: "Malcolm wrote: "Silver wrote: "Malcolm wrote: "Also, in those days - as now - most Christians are eager to enter the gates of heaven and leave their cares behind. Sh..."

I agree that martyr is the wrong choice of word she used. I was just agreeing with the general gist of her observation.


message 44: by Susan (new)

Susan | 74 comments I appreciate how Gaskell is formatting her story thus far, from the contrast between the holding back of truth from Mrs. Hale, in the family's imminent move to Milton, then Mr. Hale, in his ignorance of Mrs. Hale's grave illness, to the meeting up of two "families of rebellion", the Hale family and the Higgins family. Mr. Hale is rebelling against religion, and Higgins is rebelling against capitalism. Very interesting dichotomy.

Another thing I wish to point out, referring to the discussion about Margaret's masculinity in the previous thread, is this paragraph in the middle of Chapter 16:
""That's what I call a fine girl." thought Dr. Donaldson, when he was seated in his carriage, and had time to examine his ringed hand, which had slightly suffered from her pressure. "Who would have thought that little hand could have given such a squeeze? But the bones were well put together, and that gives immense power. What a queen she is! With her head thrown back at first, to force me into speaking the truth; and then bent so eagerly forward to listen. Poor thing! I must see she does not over strain herself. Though its astonishing how much those thorough-bred creatures can do and suffer. That girl's game to the backbone. Another, who had gone that deadly color, could never have come round without fainting and hysterics. But that wouldn't do either-not she! And the very force of her will brought her round. Such a girl as that would win my heart, if I were thirty years younger. It's too late now.""

I find this passage interesting in his admiration for her. So, her character, in my opinion, goes a little beyond being merely masculine. In the male eye i.e. Dr. Donaldson's, she is a strong female, more of a queenly bearing. Masculine qualities, yes, but he seems to allow these qualities in Margaret as a woman. It is also interesting that he refers to her as a thoroughbred (an animal term, at least in our day). Could she be seen as marriage material in a working, enduring sense, or merely just sexually more attractive in her strength and strong will?

Just my two cents. I am gradually catching up to the conversation.


message 45: by SarahC (new)

SarahC (sarahcarmack) | 1418 comments Susan, I agree that Dr. Donaldson's observations really help us with our clues about Margaret. And it is also interesting that Dr. Donaldson is a connecting character. He is treating Mrs. Hale's illness, a main part of our storyline because through Mrs. Hale, John displays more of his inner self as he shows her more kindness. Also by chapter 18, we know and Margaret knows that Dr. Donaldon is feeding John information about Mrs. Hale's condition. Margaret is bothered by this and almost resentful. So in turn, this fact reveals that Margaret is just not comfortable with the possible attention and emotional connection of a man (possible suitor).


message 46: by SarahC (new)

SarahC (sarahcarmack) | 1418 comments I know there has already been a discussion of Bessie in the comments above. I really believe there is more to tell of Bessie. I do believe that she derives a lot of comfort from her religious beliefs and her readings of the Bible. But Bessie says and the end notes also point out that she seldom mentions other than readings from Revelations. Remember Margaret suggests she might read and study more of the other books of the Bible? I don't really go as far as to say she depicts martyrdom. Instead, she has selected her own parts of her religion I believe. And I am not criticizing this poor suffering girl -- but I guess am not looking her in the light of martyrdom.

I am seeing her VERY ordinary, human thoughts as she explains how the strike will likely cause Nicholas to find a break from the tedium of life by going to the bars. (chap 17) She herself would like to find a break from the trial of her own life by a change of scenery, I believe she says, or more earthly reliefs. (I do love passages where Bessie explains these things -- some of the best parts of the novel.) She is just a young girl who had to work at an early age, mainly due to the death of her mother. And has for a long time suffered tedium and now failing health and pain I believe.


message 47: by SarahC (new)

SarahC (sarahcarmack) | 1418 comments I don't have the book in front of me at the moment, but I do remember Bessie saying something like "I've longed to be a man to go spreeing...." I really love Bessie.


message 48: by Malcolm (new)

Malcolm Esquire (MalcolmEsq) | 344 comments SarahC wrote: "Susan, I agree that Dr. Donaldson's observations really help us with our clues about Margaret. And it is also interesting that Dr. Donaldson is a connecting character. He is treating Mrs. Hale's ..."

We must also consider that as a doctor a profession widely respected that we can trust his opinion of Margaret, as opposed to the opinions of the Harley Street or the coarse flattery of factory workers. . . The doctor, so far, should be considered a reliable narrator.


message 49: by Malcolm (new)

Malcolm Esquire (MalcolmEsq) | 344 comments SarahC wrote: "I don't have the book in front of me at the moment, but I do remember Bessie saying something like "I've longed to be a man to go spreeing...." I really love Bessie."

That is, having money to spend; going out on a spree.


message 50: by SarahC (new)

SarahC (sarahcarmack) | 1418 comments Malcolm wrote: "SarahC wrote: "I don't have the book in front of me at the moment, but I do remember Bessie saying something like "I've longed to be a man to go spreeing...." I really love Bessie."

That is, hav..."


Refer back to Chap 17. I don't think that money spending was what Bessie was driving at. I think it was more than that.


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