every Starbucks should have a polar bear (scoradh) wrote,
every Starbucks should have a polar bear
scoradh

#21

North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell

Wow, so, this is clearly the original prototype for the 'Rocks Fall. EVERYONE DIES' method of storytelling.



I'm not even joking! It was a domino effect. As soon as Margaret's mother died, every succeeding chapter culminated in another death. It made the book so essentially pointless. Margaret had to move to Milton because her father Dissented, but then he died, so she moved back home; she was poor, but her godfather died and left her a fortune, so she wasn't. Deaths are supposed to make the reader at least sad, if not grief-stricken; they are NOT supposed to make the reader say, "Huh, how convenient."

The romance was yucky. I think the best characters were Edith and her dopey husband, but sadly we hardly saw anything of them. I wanted the entire Higgins family to DIAF. I mean, did Gaskell know anything about the Industrial Revolution she lived through? Because it reads like she hasn't a clue.

His father had made the blunder of bringing him up in ignorance and taking it for innocence.

I like this line! However, I don't know how you can keep someone innocent without also keeping them ignorant. The solution is to stop making innocence out to be this all-fired great thing (except, obviously, in murder cases).

Slow deep breaths dilated her thin and beautiful nostrils.

OH GOD I ABOUT DIED. This made me think of a HORSE. Horses have freaky nostrils! So does Margaret.

Margaret the Churchwoman, her father the Dissenter, Higgins the Infidel, knelt down together. It did them no harm.

This is the best line in the book. However, it reminds me - COULD Gaskell have given less information about Margaret's father's decision to leave the Church? There's cloudy motives and then there's no discernable motives at all, and I don't think I need to say which I approve of and which I DON'T.

"Sometimes I used to hear a farmer speaking loud and sharp to his servants; but it was so far away that it only reminded me pleasantly that other people were hard at work in some distant place, while I sat on the heather and did nothing."

I love this, because Margaret comes off as SUCH AN ASSHOLE and she's presented all the way through as a saint crossed with an angel crossed with a paragon of virtue. HEE
.



Previously, on Book Glomp 2009:
He Knew He Was Right, Anthony Trollope
The Bostonians, Henry James
For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ernest Hemingway
For Esme - with Love and Squalor, JD Salinger
The Outsider, Albert Camus
The Princess Diaries: Ten out of Ten, Meg Cabot
The Vicar of Bullhampton, Anthony Trollope
Molesworth, Geoffrey Willans
Villette, Charlotte Bronte
The Portrait of a Lady, Henry James
The Way of All Flesh, Samuel Butler
Cecilia, Fanny Burney
The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Muriel Spark
Breakfast of Champions, Kurt Vonnegut
Valley of the Dolls, Jacqueline Susann
Siddhartha, Herman Hesse
The White Tiger, Aravind Adiga
The Duke and I, Julia Quinn
Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
Tags: book glomp 2009
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