Gaskell's North and South

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Nowadays, the 19th century novels are being re-considered and re-evaluated from contemporary reader's position, which allows avoiding prejudiced attitude towards characters and even achieve a sort of emotional discourse between the reader and the protagonist.


Here she tries to present a more balanced picture of the perspectives of the mill owners and the laborers in Manchester. She also creates another strong heroine through which Gaskell represents her own variant of female empowerment: strength through femininity" (Uglow, 1993, p.169).
Margaret Hale, the main character, through whose eyes the novel dynamics is observed, has progressive and forward-looking convictions concerning the women's question: gender equality and marriage issues. Her peculiar femininity, interweaving with inner strength and willpower, create an unforgettable impression of radical humanist, seeking to improve the lives of those surrounding her. Her complex character is very touching at the same time: Margaret's self-imposed values seem unnatural at a first glance: in spite of her young age, the girl is very prod, mature and sometimes arrogant. It is even possible to say that Margaret is an anachronic, who should have been born at least one hundred years later, as it is at first hard to imagine her in the Victorian context of female inferiority and submission. As one can see, Margaret is observant and curious: she has profound knowledge in literature, arts and music, but is also involved (either directly or indirectly) into learning the discipline, which is now identified as sociology - through experience, however. ...
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