• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

In what ways does Gaskell negotiate the relationship between classes and individuals in the opening chapters of the novel?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

In what ways does Gaskell negotiate the relationship between classes and individuals in the opening chapters of the novel? Throughout North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell portrays the relationships between various characters on either sides of the evident class dichotomy that exists all through the novel. Gaskell uses various individuals to portray different opinions and perspectives of this divide. Thereby presenting similarities and differences through common ground and differing views on the many issues on display within the novel itself. Elizabeth uses the individuals to transmute one another's perceptions or indeed misconceptions of each other in ways that shall be explained. One can initially point to Margaret as an individual who is used to negotiate the class divide throughout the opening chapters of North and South. The title itself and the change of title from "Margaret Hale" to "North and South" shows the importance of the heroine, Margaret in breaking the divide between "North and South". In Chapter One Margaret begins as a member of Shaw household, an upper middle-class family then progresses to the Hales, her true parents who are lower in social status and wealth. ...read more.

Middle

Mr Thornton is another individual who's relationships with others and those of other classes are telling and in many ways cross the divide more inherently than Margaret. The reason for this lies within Mr Thornton's working-class background and his rather meteoric rise to wealth, thus climbing the ladder of social status. Whilst he may be seen by many as a typical mill owner, "treating his workers with a fist of iron", the importance of his character is evident. He has shown that money can allow one to transcend all notions of class as Mr Thornton now "entertains the Mayor and important officials from London". Indeed later in the book Bessy was surprised that the educated and sophisticated Hale's had been invited to the Thornton's household as she states to Margaret, "beggin yo' pardon, yo' not got much money". However this may be an attitude more prevalent in the north of England and Milton, where money seemed to be valued above all. Thus highlighting the inherent split explained by the title itself, between North and South. ...read more.

Conclusion

It is consequently clear that whilst the class divide is acknowledged and largely adhered to by both the Hale's and the Thornton's (with the exception of Margaret), the Thornton's appear much more rigid in their beliefs. In conclusion it is apparent that Gaskell negotiates the relationships between classes and individuals in the opening chapters of the novel by addressing the key dichotomy and the different attitudes to it. The opening chapters can be seen to show a plethora of contrasting beliefs and actions, serving to highlight the evident class dichotomy. It is also evident that Margaret as a character is being used to find similarities and develop positive relationships between classes as she does with the Higgins'. Quite contrary to this is the attitude of Mr Thornton and his mother for the opening chapters and this relationship shows the difference between attitudes of the North and South. Indeed, one may argue that whilst the Thornton's have wealth and social status, they do not have class, thus they can never truly fit into the aristocratic society they evidently crave. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Other Authors section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Other Authors essays

  1. Compare and contrast Shakespeare and Defoe's presentations of the characters of Robinson Crusoe and ...

    Once again, others feel obliged to serve Crusoe, his omnipotent rule relies on their willingness to repay the debt they owe. In contrast to Friday, his father, and the Spaniard, the Captain - as a leader of men himself - questions Crusoe's authority, challenging Crusoe's 'ownership' of members of the mutinous crew.

  2. How does Auden portray his grief and loss in Funeral Blues?

    Stanza three focuses mainly on how much the poet's lover meant to him. All the way through this stanza the word "My" is repeated "He was my North, my South, my East and West" this shows possession of him, like the poet owns his lover.

  1. Frailty, thy name is woman(TM)(TM) A.C Bradley has judged Gertrude to be a weak ...

    made to her in marriage to move on and ''prey on garbage''. Both the Ghost's and Hamlet's views mirror one another as they both view Claudius' and Gertrude's marriage as incestuous and focus more of their attention on Gertrude rather than Claudius.

  2. The story of Sredni Vasthar is one of oppression and conflict. Set in the ...

    end to it, She goes on to 'Ransack' his room, which makes her come across as inconsiderate because to ransack his room is to not only invade his personal space, but to have no consideration for his personal belongs. Figurative languages such as similes are used sparingly, but when they are used, they come across as vivid as his imagination.

  1. Sympathy for the betrayers and the betrayed. Cresseid and Madame Bovary are dissimilar ...

    as they experience a development as a result of their infidelity, the former explicitly and the latter implicitly. Cresseid talks about herself in the second person when she says, 'Where is your chamber's cushioned chair and screen / And handsome bed and hand-embroidered linen?

  2. Harp in the south

    However this only creates struggles and hardships for his family. Hughie is scared to get close to his family out of fear of losing one of them, like he lost his only son and so he also uses his alcoholism to push them away.

  1. How is Kate Chopin's "The Awakening" typical of a Victorian novel?

    Put your foot down good and hard; the only way to manage a wife. Take my word for it.? This insinuates that the Colonel himself had treated his own wife like so; displaying how this is a tradition which is followed meticulously by the larger part of society in the Victorian Era.

  2. Woman characters in Elizabeth Gaskell's "North and South".

    Then she moved to describe the life in North as the main character Ms. Margaret Hale moved to the North because of her father's religious matters. She starts describe the atmosphere of London and how it was crowded and filthy.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work