Discuss Chapter nineteen of North and South demonstrates how Margaret brings together the worlds of both masters and men and comment on how the passage illustrates the issues she faces in doing so.
Elizabeth Gaskell's "North and South" is one of the most intricate industrial novels of the Victorian age. In this particular passage the two worlds of masters and men have their differences vividly portrayed, as the advocate Margaret brings them together. The passage examines the strike or battle between masters and men as a question of individual conscience for Margaret who has the opportunity to live in and between both these worlds.
The dinner to which Margaret is seen as going to is set in the zone of the masters. Mr Thornton is the master to which Higgins himself is empowered thus there is obvious tension between these characters due to the strike and their distrust of each other.
Thornton has the power to raise the wages and lower them, he owns the factory and is one of the more respected and substantial Mill owners of Milton. The fact that even amidst the halting of all work Mr. Thornton is having a dinner party illustrates the wealth and ease by which him and his family are now accustomed to. In contrast there is the zone of the workmen. Here there is constant a constant struggle to survive, most "toil and moil all their lives long" never amounting to much more than they have always been. The strain of the strike on working families is confirmed by Bessy who talks of the "woman, 'kept plaining, plaining (with the tears running down their cheeks, and never wiped away, nor heeded), of the price o' meat, and how their childer could na sleep at nights for th' hunger."...