ebookclassics

North and South Read-along ~ Final Discussion Post

north

I started to watch the BBS series and I’m half-way through. Seeing the story brought to life has changed my feelings towards Margaret. I realize the series is only one interpretation of the book, but it made think I was too hard on Margaret.

Discussion Questions – Contains Spoilers

1. There’s much talk about all the deaths in this book. What are your feelings on that? Do you think they were necessary? Or too much?

I was shocked by all of the deaths in the book. What a sad, horrible time for Margaret! So many deaths seems over the top to me, but proves to be a catalyst for Margaret to decide where she belongs and with whom.

2. Was there anything that happened during this last part that you found surprising or unexpected? Or was everything very predictable?

If anything, I was surprised that we didn’t really get anywhere with Frederick’s storyline. It was kind of like, “Oh well, we tried.”

3. What are your feelings on the about face Margaret and Mr. Thornton have with regard to their financial status?

What I liked the most about their switch in financial position is that both Margaret and Mr. Thornton are humble about it and it doesn’t seem to change who they are as people.

4. Do you think Margaret is justified in being so anguished over the lie that she told? Does it mostly have to do with her feelings for Mr. Thornton? Or something else?

I do think that Margaret was upset about the lie because deep down inside she had feelings for Mr. Thornton. She seemed very concerned about his impression of her.

5. At what moment exactly do you think her feelings for Mr. Thornton completely changed?

I don’t think there was an “aha” moment for Margaret. It seemed very gradual and over time. When I started the book, I expected some kind of crazy passionate romance, but slow and steady is just as satisfying.

6. Discuss the character of Nicholas Higgins. What do you think about the relationship he has with Mr. Thornton? Did he change Mr. Thornton? Did Mr. Thornton change him?

I wasn’t expecting Higgins and Mr. Thornton to become friendly even though they both seemed like reasonable men. I think they really did help each other understand the different sides of the worker/manager situation.

7. How does Mr. Thornton’s views on the master/worker relationship change? Or. . .did it change? Did your view on this issue change as you experienced this book?

I believe Mr. Thornton’s views did change and that he discovered he could be an even better business man by establishing a relationship with workers.

8. Do you have a favorite quote from this book? If so, share and let us know why it’s your favorite.

I’m terrible at keeping track of quotes I like.

9. The ending! Are you happy with how things turned out? (Try not to compare with the movie here… that’s for a later question!)

I was very happy with the way the book ended and especially because Elizabeth Gaskell brings us to that critical moment when Margaret and Mr. Thornton come together and then leaves the rest to our imagination. It’s a delightfully humourous ending and I loved it!

10. What aspect of this book would you like to address that we haven’t yet talked about? Is there something we’ve skipped over in our discussions that makes you want to say… “Yeah, but what about….?” And if you’ve got nothing there, answer this: Did you like the book? Why or why not?

We’ve talked a little bit about the likeability of the characters. Now that we’re at the end of the book, I see all of the characters in a different light although I’m admittedly influenced by the BBC series. I realized Margaret has no friends and her loneliness must have been very deep, so no wonder she spent so much time with Bessy and Higgins. Her visits weren’t necessarily about charity. I realized that even though she freely gave her opinions, Margaret did so knowing she was going against the grain, that she would be gossiped about and was probably embarrassing her parents. But Margaret couldn’t help being herself and I admire her character for that kind of gumption. Overall, I really enjoyed the book, both for the social issues, the relationships and character development.

Ladies, what a great read-along, thanks for hosting!

Advertisements

19 comments on “North and South Read-along ~ Final Discussion Post

  1. Amy
    January 31, 2015

    Great answers. You are right about #3. I never thought about how neither Margaret nor Mr. Thornton was really changed by their financial situations. I also agree that Margaret’s opinions changing about Mr. Thornton was a slow process.

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      January 31, 2015

      Since Margaret and Mr. Thornton argued and disagreed so much, I couldn’t see how they could possibly ever fall in love with each other. But I guess expressing your opinions and standing behind your decisions is one way someone could get to know you better!

      Like

  2. Brona
    January 31, 2015

    Great insights E!
    I was particularly struck by the fact that M had no friends. How did I miss that very obvious and distressing fact?!
    I still see the Fred story line as yet another factor forcing M to deal with everything on her own. Everything seems to be about leading M to full independence.

    I hope you enjoy the rest of the TV series (I hope to get to it one day soon too.)

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      January 31, 2015

      It never occurred to me that Margaret had no friends until I watched the series and noticed in so many scenes she spends a lot of time by herself or with her parents. I completely agree that all of the events in the story seemed to lead towards Margaret becoming independent.

      Like

  3. kathy
    January 31, 2015

    Really interesting thoughts! That’s a good point about Frederick’s storyline just getting dropped. It seems like he exists in the story mostly to create the misunderstanding between Margaret & Mr. Thornton. And I totally agree that the change in financial situation didn’t affect the characters or the way they saw each other, which was really nice.

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      January 31, 2015

      You’re right, I think the Frederick storyline was a just to cause the misunderstanding between Margaret and Mr. Thornton … which they spent way too much overanalyzing, I think.

      Like

  4. Jenni Elyse (@jenni_elyse)
    January 31, 2015

    I love your answers, especially your remarks about Frederick’s storyline and your change in view of the characters. I agree with you. I don’t think Margaret did what she did for the Higgins out of pity. I think she truly loved them. And, I wish I could be as satisfied as you about the ending, lol.

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      January 31, 2015

      Heh heh, I know you didn’t love this book. At one point when it felt like it was dragging on, I didn’t I was going to like it that much either. I guess it grew on me along the way.

      Like

  5. lauratfrey
    February 1, 2015

    I remember thinking the whole Frederick thing was sooo contrived as well. I enjoyed the series a little more than the book, because Thorton is so good and well, you get to see all the dresses and hats and what not 🙂 There were certain passages in the book I really liked though. Mostly Margaret’s parts. Like when she lies to the police. I was cheering. 🙂

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      February 4, 2015

      I was really hard on Margaret, but she really is a strong character. Some of the costumes in the series are really gorgeous. I can’t remember all of those passage in the book I liked, but remember there was lots of wistful rumination on life and death.

      Like

  6. kelley
    February 2, 2015

    nice answers. I really like your assessment of Margaret’s character. Kelley at the road goes ever ever on

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      February 4, 2015

      Thanks! I’m always critical of female characters in classic novels, but eventually realize I can’t judge them based on how women think and act today.

      Like

  7. I loved the ending! Probably one of the most satisfying endings I’ve read (despite Frederick’s storyline feeling a bit unresolved–I really didn’t care for his character all that much anyway). I loved that the ending was romantic and dramatic and funny all at once 🙂

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      February 5, 2015

      Completely agree! I thought the ending was unique and beautiful. Have you watched the series? I finished it last night, so I’m all swooney over Mr. Thornton/Richard Armitage today.

      Like

      • Yes! I watched it once a couple of years ago and then again this past December after I read the novel. Richard Armitage IS Mr. Thornton, in my opinion. I can’t picture anyone else to play that role.

        Like

  8. Kara
    February 4, 2015

    I feel like Frederick’s storyline was kind of a plot device to allow for certain things to happen and not really told for any other reason. He was never fully fleshed out or anything. There was so much more that could have been said, but to be honest I never really could make myself care one way or another about him, so I wasn’t sad nothing ever came of him. At least he got a final mention in the last part. I’m satisfied! 🙂

    I hadn’t ever thought about the fact that Margaret has no friends, but you’re exactly right! Now that I’m thinking about it, she was definitely lonely. Which explains so much about why she said and did the things she did. Thanks for pointing that out.

    Like

  9. ebookclassics
    February 5, 2015

    Poor Margaret. I was really hard on her in the beginning for speaking out all the time, but I think now it took her a lot of courage especially when you’re the new girl, have no influence and are going against what everybody else is saying.

    Like

Thoughts? Comments?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Information

This entry was posted on January 31, 2015 by in Reviews and tagged , .

Now reading

and …

and …

%d bloggers like this: