I am reading Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South right now. I have the Norton critical edition edited by Alan Shelston. How I wish I were reading this with a seminar or an English Literature class. I have seen the BBC DVD version of North and South and liked it so much that I decided to read the book. Normally I read a book first, then complain about the film version. Like that dreadful 2005 Pride and Prejudice, I am still suffering post-traumatic stress from that atrocity.
Anyway, there are a few things that are not clear. So far I am up to page 140. First, if Mr. Hale is a dissenter and decides to leave the church then why does he still pray and discuss the goodness of God? Is dissent with England’s church at the time (mid 1850s) based on degrees of dissent?
Also, I do not know what Margaret Hale is getting at when she keeps insisting that Mr. Thornton should be involved with his employees after hours. I understand Nicholas Higgins position. He is a union leader and feels like workers are not earning enough of the profits. And then it is exactly him (Higgins), in the movie version at least, that specifically states that a master should not tell an employee what he or she should do with their wages. He says this when masters demand after the strike that workers cannot work at their mills if they pay into the union. I understand this, and Mr. Thornton says as much however Margaret continues on in this vein.