North and South, irony, "pride and prejudice" and the class system.

Essay by NightwolfHigh School, 12th grade August 2003

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"North and South" by Elizabeth Gaskell is a Victorian novel. It presents readers to issues of class, religion, society, industrial, rural and aristocratic life and exposes them to the truths of hard work and survival. Elizabeth Gaskell does this through travelling to each of these different places in her book, using the key character Margaret. Not only do we see their ways of life through Margaret but she also interprets it and who has her own set of strong beliefs and prejudices. Gaskell inter-relates the industrial and the female issues of the novel because the exploration is as much about the condition of women as the condition of workers. Margaret comes across all these and from her opinions, behavior and interaction we get a very strong distinction of her character. John Thornton we meet later in the book and though him and Margaret disagree on many points at first we see that both are just characters grown from their individual environments, and so having the typical views that a person from a certain place would have.

He is a wealthy tradesman yet has seen his own lack in education and so becomes a pupil of Mr. Hale who is a well-read post-oxford student.

"Margaret, noted for speaking her mind, is repeatedly cast into the role of mediator". This is very true in the book, we see her ability to comprehend a person's nature and to 'pull the right strings' in a person to reach her desired result. This talent is suggested to have come from the father, "Surely you can charm the landlord into re-papering one or two of the rooms". This is quite ironic as though he is unable to she unsuspectingly manages to get the rooms re-papered by catching the eye of Mr. Thornton. Another example of...