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Discuss the techniques Gaskell uses to present Margaret, Thornton and workers in the riot scene. How is she commenting on Victorian society?

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Introduction

Discuss the techniques Gaskell uses to present Margaret, Thornton and workers in the riot scene. How is she commenting on Victorian society? North and South is set in the mid nineteenth century at the time of the industrial revolution. It is an industrial novel, which means that it portrays the difficult lives of the working class during the industrial revolution. This was a genre with few female writers; due to the "seriousness" of the work, it was not considered appropriate for women. The riot scene is a watershed, a turning point, much like the industrial revolution in the 19th century. The themes are ... It is a book of contrasts. Mr Thornton represents the business-minded north and is juxtaposed with Margaret Hale who represents the rich, delicate south. The violence of the riot scene causes understanding and what the characters have done wrong. It shows us that our impressions of the characters are wrong and their impressions of each other. Everyone has misjudged each other. Gaskell is challenging her Victorian readers' black and white stereotypes and asking them to revaluate their views. The North-South divide exists in Great Britain. It refers to both the economic and the cultural differences between South England and North. ...read more.

Middle

has been broken, and it allows Thornton to step forward and take control. Another thing that allows us to see another aspect of him is that he takes lessons from Mr Hale, which shows us he is a sensitive man, and he is an unusual factory owner. The workers hate him, and view him as cruel and harsh. This is because most of his actions are fuelled by wanting more money, not humanitarianism. For example, when he installs a new fan in the factory. It makes the workers more comfortable because it reduces the amount of cotton in their lungs, but Mr Thornton did it because he wanted them to live longer, to maintain an experienced workforce. . He altered his chimneys which reduced smoke emission but this was to save fuel, not the environment. In the workers' view they have an unfair deal. This is why they strike. After the riot scene the workers and Thornton better understand each other, because the workers see that he is human because of his love for Margaret. He is proud of Milton's industry and he realises the extent of their desperation. Margaret is a very proud and strong woman. ...read more.

Conclusion

It is hot at the beginning of the extract because a storm is brewing, both metaphorically and physically. The feeling of the extract changes a lot, one of the more important and obvious place is where Thornton runs downstairs to the workers. The section is in short segmented sentences so it's a list and reads really quickly. It creates the effect of a rush and the reader feels the anxiety of the characters. Another point where the tension and atmosphere change is where Mr Thornton makes his declaration of love to Margaret when she has been hit with the pebble. The symbolic value of this is that the wall between them (their cold exteriors) has been damaged and so their emotions can leak out. It becomes much more romantic. Metaphors are a key part of the riot extract. One of the ongoing ones is of the workers being animalistic, with them being referred to as "brutes" and "fierce". They also "growl". This makes us fear for the safety of the characters, as animals are unpredictable. The workers contrast to Higgins because he acts rationally, in a carefully thought out way but the rest of the workers act on instinct, like animals. We feel sorry for them because of their unthinking nature and we feel scared of them because of the threatening vocabulary used to describe them. ...read more.

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