Thursday, 30 December 2010


Just completed North And South . What a charming and amusing romance, delightful throughout and a pleasure to

There was the gentle comedy
throughout of Thornton and
Margaret misunderstanding
each other with each
successive chapter which
Gaskell sustained effortlessly.
Much of Gaskell 's charm lies
in the subtlty of her wit and
the sharpness of her satire
which brings a certain
realism to her work which in
the hands of other writers
(for instance Dickens ) would
seem like crude and clowinsh
characatures in a cartoon
world of make -believe.
Margaret Hale was a strong ,
engaging , serious heroine ,
fortunately not flawless in
character and all the more
believable and human for it .
Mr Hale , a man of principle
and conscience was a
complex character , perhaps
much misunderstood for his
actions or inactions ,
whatever the case maybe .
But as it was primarily
Margaret's story, thanfully
Gaskell didn ' t feel the need
to weary the reader with
complex explanations into
the niceties of religious
doctrines and church politics.
There was plenty of light
relief and comedy for the
reader. We laughed along
with the simple- minded
servant Dixon , and her views
on education ( thinking and
reading) and her exaulted
opinion of herself as a
humble lady 's maid and

Also we laughed along with
the humble family of factory
workers the Higgins with
their plain and simple view of
life and the irony of their

Best of all we had the
Thorntons to laugh at - the
busness-minded John, unable
to understand his heart and
women, namely "that
woman" Margaret Hale ; and
that ghastly pair of
Thorntons in anyones side
the fashionable facile Fanny
and her haughty and self -
absorbed mother Mrs
Thornton, the vanity and
vulgarity of both being as
amusing as they were horrid .
In short , a charming
romance, an amusing read
and a diverting romp :o )

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