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Friday, May 28, 2010

North & South and Vampires

I don't know what I'm going to write about with this topic of Elizabeth Gaskell's mediocrely famous book. I asked my friend, who's staying with us at the moment, what I should write about - and she came back with the three-word answer. After asking her opinion, I could hardly refuse to comply with it.
...
North & South is aptly named. Margaret Hale, the gallant and resourceful heroine, leaves her home in the sunny South to go to the nasty north of England with her mum and dad - to a manufacturing town called Milton. Milton just doesn't cut it for the family: they've lived in subdued luxury all their lives, and now have to eke out their living by Mr. Hale's job of teaching. They live in a little flat which they can't keep clean (because of all the nasty smoke and grime in Milton that seeps into the house).
Early on they meet a lovely chap who helped them find the bungalow in the first place [Enter Mr. Thornton].

This is Thornton looking fairly civilized. He's a manufacturer, a manager of his own cotton mill.
He pretty much instantly falls for Margaret (the good, beautiful and disdainful heroine), who distinctly dislikes and detests him. [As every good girl ought to do when first aquainted with a tall, dark, mysterious man - who also happens to be a mill owner].
She thinks he's awful: he doesn't care about his workers, and he doesn't act enough like a 'gentleman' to please her. Plus, he's a manufacturer - how could he be gentlemanly? Naturally Margaret's thoughts on the subject cause a little trouble to Thornton, who's a bit obsessed, and says so.
Take a look at this disturbing picture: Mr. Thornton (the tall, dark & necessarily handsome hero) with Margaret Hale - Thornton appears to be smirking, while Margaret's giving him a look that clearly says: "I'm not scared of you."

The book and movie are filled with all sorts of exciting things: lots of politics and philosophy and strikes and death and romance and things like that. It all fits together superbly, despite Gaskell's deathly tendency. If you read the book/watch the movie, you'll understand what I mean.
Despite all the silly satire, I really do love the story. It's beautiful. Please read the book, then tell me what you think of it.
Oh, and I have an idea for Hollywood film-makers. Can you see it? The next blockbuster: "North & South and Vampires."

Mr. Thornton would make an excellent vampire..

- Lydie

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5 Comments:

Anonymous FR said...

I love North and South:) It's a fav. Both the book and the mini-series. I love the depth of Gaskell's characters - how well she explores the workings of their minds! It's what makes good characters great.
You're right, Mr. Thornton is slightly obsessive of Margaret. But I think it shows his depth of feeling for her. It's quite sweet really:) In the context...if the end had turned out differently, I might have changed my mind about him. But I like him. There's more than first meets the eye.

Hmmm, not sure about Mr. Thornton being a vampire...maybe.

11:08 pm  
Blogger Lydz said...

It's beautiful isn't it. Yes! Gaskell's so great in making her characters more fully-rounded. She must have carefully analysed people, to write the way she did.. about society as well.

Do you remember when she wrote about the Thornton's dinner party, and she described how Margaret felt, talking little talk to the ladies, while wanting to be involved in the more expansive conversation of the gentlemen? I've certainly felt that way before. :)

Thornton.. hmm. I'm not convinced just how *much* he knows her character before he gets involved emotionally. Over time though - I reckon he starts really caring about her in a deeper way.
teehee. I'm not really sure about Thornton as a vampire either. He's got the whole dark, mysterious thing going on though!

You're such a faithful reader (and commenter), FR! Love it.

- Lydie

p.s. do you have a blog?

12:57 am  
Blogger Lydz said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

12:57 am  
Anonymous FR said...

Aww, thanks Lydie. I'm touched. It's not hard, you know, being a faithful reader and commenter here. I'll admit, I love clicking on your site (it's under favourites now) and finding something interesting and fresh. And every day - I don't know how you do it! Sometimes it's the highlight of my day, if it's been a particularly boring kind of day.

Ah, the dinner scene. It's a good one. Yes, I do know what you mean sometimes. Some women, unfortunately, have the talent? of being able to talk a lot, but about nothing at all. It seems Margaret was in a similar situation with the ladies at the party.
And I agree with you about Thornton, I think he kinda falls for Margaret's beauty and delicate southern ways before he really falls for *her*.

Do I have a blog? Honestly, yes. But it's under my real name and if you knew that I wouldn't be FR. And besides, I'd lose the whole dark, mysterious thing going on;)

2:24 pm  
Blogger Lydz said...

Aww! Now I'm all touched. hehe. You sure have the gift of being complimentary :)

Mm, I like that description "Some women have the talent of talking a lot but without saying anything at all" - ahh, so incisively truthful.
Which is a shame, when I think about it - I know I'd like reading your blog, when you come out with things like that.

I suppose one must sacrifice one's curiosity in order to keep the mystique.

1:19 am  

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