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The Half Brothers

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THE HALF BROTHERS The Half Brothers is a short story written by Elizabeth Gaskell, which was first published in November 1958. The story is a very typical example of her strong moral sense and interest in the difficulties faced by ordinary people and how they have to find the strength to live their daily life. It is my intention, in the following essay to explore how Elisabeth Gaskell has represented the suffering of ordinary people during the Victorian period. The title clearly explains what the story is concerned with. One of the first things we find out is that the narrator's mother had not had a very pleasant life, or at least not a happy start of her life. She was twice married and wasn't happy with her first husband. Right at the start of the story, Elizabeth Gaskell expresses her concern for poverty and suffering. The first two events in the story are the death of her first husband and the death of her little baby. The baby girl's death was the only thing the mother had and her death had such a great impact of sorrow and pain that she couldn't even cry or drop a tear but felt as if her heart had been torn apart. ...read more.


They were two very different people. We see that the narrator was the "darling", "the tenderly beloved", "the young master". On the other side, Gregory was "lumpish and loutish", "awkward and ungainly". Still in the fourth paragraph we find a very intriguing sentence, "I am ashamed my heart is sore my poor orphan stepbrother". The narrator feels guilty. We have to keep in mind that he is telling the story in the past tense. This means he has already seen or lived the whole story. In that sentence, Elizabeth Gaskell gives us a clue that the story won't have a happy ending that is why the narrator regrets something. The narrator is saying something like, "Why didn't I treat Gregory better?" here we know that at the time the story is being told, Gregory isn't present; he's gone nut we still don't know what happened. As the story continues, the author gives us a bit more information on the two stepbrothers. We find out that although he was, "stupid, dull, sullen, sulky, gloomy, scolded and flogged by people", he had some useful characteristics. He was good natured, patient and a good shepherd. "Old Adam" was the only person to value Gregory. He was amazed at Gregory's knowledge of the hills around the farm, which probably required a lot of skill. ...read more.


He suffered all along and never said a word. Gregory also reminds us of a very well known religious figure, Jesus. He gave his life to save his stepbrother just like Jesus sacrificed himself to save humanity. Only after Gregory's death, people noticed what a lovely boy he was. I guess that's why they say, "You don't realise what you have until you loose it". The narrator should have appreciated Gregory in the best way he could but it's too late to admit one's mistakes. Gregory was totally selfless. However it was too late, he was already dead. All the people could do was lament. But some of them felt so guilty, that they thought they would be better forgetting Gregory. The narrator was one of these people. At least William Preston learnt his lesson. But again it was too late. It was useless counting the things he should have done for Gregory and the things he shouldn't have done. All he could do was to plead God's forgiveness and let Gregory rest in peace. After his death, they found a paper of directions in which he desired that, "he might lie at the foot of the grave, in which, by his desire, poor Gregory had been laid with our mother" (Gregory's mother). At last Gregory would be forever in peace with his mother the only person who ever really loved him. Poor Gregory. HU$$EIN NOOR GCSE ENGLISH COURSEWORK ...read more.

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