North And South By Elizabeth Gaskell

1364 WordsMar 2, 20156 Pages
Gaskell Essay Gillian Linden North and South, by Elizabeth Gaskell, delves into the life of Margaret Hale, a nineteen year old female forced to move to the industrialized town of Milton after her father’s leave of the Church. The novel gives deep insight on the social class distinctions of mid-nineteenth century England, when the Industrial Revolution unsettled the old class structure, shifting wealth and power to manufacturers who mass-produced goods in the north. The south is representative of old traditions, while the north represents change shifted toward modernism, epitomized by self-made men like John Thornton. As Margaret makes her transition to a northern society, Gaskell comments on both the working and middle class. The working class, portrayed by Betsy, Nicholas Higgins, and Boucher shows the harsh realities of those who moved from the semi feudal countryside to work for wages in the new northern factories. Through these characters, Gaskell is able to show the true social misery in the slums. On the upper tier of the class system, the newly emerged middle class exacerbates working conditions for the workers, selfishly concerned with their personal economic gains. Through the portrayal of the characters in North and South, Gaskell is able to comment on the relationship between the struggling working class and thriving middle class, offering a conflict resolution pointing toward increased communication between the two social groups. Gaskell’s point of view is
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