North and South RAL #2

Well what do we have here...

I admit, I had some trouble getting into this section of North and South.  I finished last week, all gung-ho, and then...well, the book just sat. Staring at me.  What went wrong?

The politics.  It never fails.  I think that authors, generally speaking, have trouble sharing their politics without using a character to go on this lengthy diatribe.  And poor Mags, her ignorant self gets shoved right smack in the middle.  Mr. Thorton is all, those wretched workers...why can't they just do their job; don't they know that we're doing the best we can.  And then Mags is all like, but you need to treat them like your equals; they look up to you (Okay well that might be pushing it...but she does throw out there that maybe if he just TALKED to them and explain where he's coming from while his retort is somewhat sound: do you tell your servants why?!?).  Then Bessy's dear old dad seems to be a leader of sorts in the working class Milton men.  He's very much: we're going to stay firm because LOOK THEY CAN'T TAKE ADVANTAGE OF US so we're going to STRIKE.  Mags is the most heartfelt toward Boucher, who claims starvation even though they just seem to be pretty poor at managing their money. 

This whole strike which then leads to the riot?  Does Mags have rocks in her head to tell Mr. Thorton to go outside and talk to the men rallying against him?  Duh.  Guess we didn't see a rock getting thrown their way.

But now, let's talk about lurrve cuz there's some gush-worthy scenes.  I was pretty surprised that Mr. Thorton would go on and on in such a romantic way about how unworthy he is of Mags love even while his mom is berating her (at least internally).  And speaking of Mrs. Thorton, what a monster-in-law she would be.  There were a handful of times I was expecting a little bit of a cat fight.  And there are some minor creepy issues going on between mother and son aren't there?  I mean, I hate to be this twenty-first century jaded woman but WHAT IS UP  with their codependency? I **get** that Mr. Thorton stepped up to the manplate when his dad offed himself but seriously? "no one loves me - no one cares for me but you mother"  Uhhhh?

My favorite line that just drove me to hysterics? "tears forcing themselves in his manly eyes" Bwhahahaha.  Someone please tell their hubs, bf, so, they have manly eyes and then TELL ME their reaction.

Finally an uncertainity:

? Why is Mags against schools?  I thought she was for EDUCATION?  Explain please.

And a dare !

Go up to someone close to you and tell them that they're not attractive.  How do they react?  Better yet tell them that they were an ugly baby.  Seriously.  What is up with these Victorians.  


  1. I agree with almost everything you said here - the manly eyes, Margaret being caught in the middle, the creepy mother/son relationships, and the absurd outcome of the riot.

    I do, however, enjoy the politics because I think Gaskell does a bang up job showing how complicated the issue is and that there are two very valid sides to the argument. I'm a bit of a political dork though, so I'm inclined to eat this sort of thing up.

    As for Mags and her confusion over whether to embrace or shun education - your guess is as good as mine. That girl keeps me going in circles and seems to play both sides of the field in EVERYTHING, not just education.

  2. LALALALALA! I'm still behind so I don't want to know about the gushworthiness just yet, but I am surprisingly into the politickin'. I didn't think I would be, but I'm sort of fascinated!

  3. I am always creeped out about the dynamics between Mrs Thornton and Mr Thornton. I always forget how creepy they are.. I particularly remember watching the miniseries with my mom and she was saying "what's up with this mother? is the in love with him or something?" I was blushing because I wanted to defend my love for North and South but it's hard to not feel weird about the "a mother's love is pure and steadfast" bit (or something very like it as I do not have the quote before me).

    I admit that I like the politics this time around. The first time I read it I just wanted to read about the romance already, but now I'm loving all the subtleties of every character and opinion and loving seeing it all play out.

    Yes to the ugly baby part, and then linking it to the fact that she seems to prefer the son over the daughter (which btw, both Mrs Thornton and Mrs Hale seem to do - Gaskell seems to be very particular about loving sons better).

    Lovely post :)

  4. God yes, Mrs. Thornton is creeping me the hell out. She's scarier than clowns.

    It's going to be interesting reading both this and IT at the same time.

  5. Pretty sure if I told Scott he had manly eyes he'd just roll them at me. Or tell me I had womanly eyes. I kind of hope that we're done with the striking--the love is much more fun!

  6. They'd better be manly if he's crying, the big baby!! Seriously, men and women seem to have such strict roles in Victorian society, and god forbid they go against them. Of course Margaret can't be seen as being a courageous person standing up to the unruly mob in defense of another--she's a woman and so she must just be using it as an excuse to trap a man into marriage! Seriously, people? And I think the whole creepy mother/son relationships must be a Victorian thing, too.

  7. Ugh, Mrs. Thorton is awful in the book, but in the miniseries is thankfully less creepy.

    I love how John thinks he's so unworthy for all these noble reasons when really he's madly in love.

    On a side note, I told the bf that he had manly eyes (with almost a straight face. I tried so hard). And he gave me an odd looked and asked if it was something I'd read in a book. (I guess I do things like that too often.)

  8. The ugly baby thing was insane. Wow! Who talks to their daughter that way. Maybe that's why she's so shocked every time someone proposes to her.


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