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18 April 2008 @ 01:06 am
Hey everyone! I was so excited to find this community!

I had to read North and South for a history of Britain class, and I ended up loving it. Good story, excellent multifaceted view of class relations and their complexity and a strong heroine who defies Victorian gender roles without bashing other women! I mean, I liked Jane Eyre but I didn't much care for that aspect of the book, not to mention the creepy stuff about Bertha Rochester.

Needless to say, reading this has made me see Jane Austen in a completely new light. A lot of Austen's stuff is, by implication, very classist. It's also anti-industrial revolution, which I can understand but I'm not sure I can get on board with the way she supports the social hierarchy of the English gentry. I still love her stuff, but if Gaskell's other novels are half as good as this one, I think I may love her more. North and South was so much more forthright about the political issues of the day, and the various characters having their social bubbles shattered. I'm also a woman, a feminist and my father grew up and worked in a mill town for many years, so a lot of this stuff resonated.
harmoniouslife: N&S- Margaret glance over shoulderharmoniouslife on April 18th, 2008 07:32 am (UTC)
Have you seen the BBC mini-series? It's very good. They altered some things for the screenplay (a few new scenes, some characterizations) but I really think that overall the changes made more sense in context of a movie.

My grandparents lived in a mill town and worked at a mill for most of their lives. In fact, what happens in N&S when Thornton won't go in on the speculation for fear of losing his workers' salaries, happened almost exactly to my grandparents. In the 80's, the man that owned their mill gambled all the pension money in junk bonds, leaving all the mill workers with little or no retirement fund. So that part definitely strikes a chord.