Thursday, November 1, 2012

North and South

I finished the first title of my Fall Into Reading challenge!

North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell - 4 stars

Goodreads description - When her father leaves the Church in a crisis of conscience, Margaret Hale is uprooted from her comfortable home in Hampshire to move with her family to the north of England. Initially repulsed by the ugliness of her new surroundings in the industrial town of Milton, Margaret becomes aware of the poverty and suffering of the local mill workers and develops a passionate sense of social justice. This is intensified by her tempestuous relationship with the mill-owner and self-made man, John Thornton, as their fierce opposition over his treatment of his employees masks a deeper attraction.

One analysis I read said that North and South is an industrial Pride and Prejudice. Looking back on the story and the character development, I can definitely see that the comparison is valid. Margaret seems perfect but struggles with pride, believing that her way of life (the south) is better than that of Mr. Thornton's (the north). People look at Margaret's outward appearance and assume she is prideful and cold, not bothering to look beneath the surface.

I love that religion was an integrated part of Margaret's life, not something she was converted to or something that she only practiced on Sundays. She has to learn to lean on God instead of her own strength, especially as her life is turned upside down and she begins losing things and people dear to her.

  • To do the right thing no matter how hard.
  • To learn to walk in others' shoes.
  • To lean on God because your own strength is not enough.

Overall, I thought this was a great book and I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to tackle a thoroughly satisfying classic.

Next up - The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky


Kara said...

This is a great story! Incidentally, have you ever watched the BBC mini series of this? I personally think it's fabulous and stays relatively true to the book. They do completely change the ending, but in a good way. I'd highly recommend it if you get the chance to watch it. Nice review! :)

Carrie said...

I read Wives and Daughters and liked it better after I thought about it. (Like, thought about it for over a year. ;) I WOULD like to read North and South at some point.

Congrats on finishing a book off your list!