19th Century England as Depicted in North and South, The Outcast and A Living Wage for Factory Girls at Crewe

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The nineteenth century was a time of significant upheaval, embodied by individuals challenging the institutions of the Victorian era and striving to achieve self determination. The conflicting relationship between the individual and society becomes apparent through analysing the individual’s confrontation with the orthodox economic and philosophical Victorian paradigms. Elizabeth Gaskell’s novel, North and South (1855), Richard Redgrave’s painting The Outcast (1851) and Ada Nield Chew’s letter A living Wage for Factory Girls at Crewe (1894) critique the dominant attitudes of society, emphasising the importance of the individual to seek autonomy for social progression to occur as well as self satisfaction. Elizabeth Gaskell reflects…show more content…
Furthermore, Gaskell commends Margaret’s self determination through juxtaposition, describing “Fanny had returned, screaming…and had thrown herself in hysterical sobbing on the sofa” when the riot begins in contrast with Margaret’s astounding courage “She threw her arms around him; she made her body into a shield” and faced “the angry sea of men”. The use of imperative tone and personal pronouns describes Margaret’s control in facing the men, described through strong imagery, whereas in contrast Gaskell portrays Fanny to mirror the notion of femininity being fragile and irrational. Gaskell portrays Margaret to finally achieve a level of self determination, “So Margaret gained the acknowledgement [from Mrs Shaw] of her right to follow her own ideas of duty”, the personal pronoun “her” emphasising Margaret’s newfound sense of autonomy, and her acceptance by Mrs Shaw being symbolised by Gaskell to reflect that an individual can still participate in society, despite some independence. Therefore Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South exemplifies that through the individual gaining a level of autonomy, the struggle between the individual and society can be resolved and self satisfaction also achieved. Richard Redgrave’s painting, The Outcast (1851) exemplifies the interminable conflict between the individual and society that results, when the individual overtly challenges dominant attitudes prevalent in society. Redgrave’s painting demands sympathy from

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