Family as Resolution in Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South

  • 郭 怡辰

Student thesis: Master's Thesis

Abstract

In North and South Elizabeth Gaskell presents various social problems such as poverty class conflicts and antagonism between workers and masters in order to arouse the middle-class’s compassion for the working class In addition to social issues Gaskell also describes family relationships concerning people from different social strata With the focus on family relationships this paper aims to discuss the potential solution provided by Gaskell to the social problems associated largely with the Industrial Revolution The study begins with Victorian family ideology and the widely accepted views about parental duties With the Hales and the Thorntons as examples the paper points out Gaskell’s ideas regarding parental roles and influences on their children both material and spiritual as well as her belief in the maintenance and stability of society through family The research then investigates the novelist’s “metaphorical family ” consisting of Thornton as the father Margaret as the mother and the working class as children in Milton-Northern In this metaphorical family Margaret mediates between Master Thornton and the workers and finally manages to reconcile the two parties thanks to her moral influences Affected by Margaret Mr Thornton as the father figure eventually forsakes his habitual despotism and readily enters into sincere communication with his workers eventually reaching a mutual understanding with them Using family as a metaphor Gaskell reveals the crucial role family plays in society To conclude Gaskell considers a well-functioning family in which all members communicate respect one another and willingly compromise with one another when necessary is a workable solution to social problems in particular class conflicts
Date of Award2015 Aug 26
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorChao-Fang Chen (Supervisor)

Cite this

Family as Resolution in Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South
怡辰, 郭. (Author). 2015 Aug 26

Student thesis: Master's Thesis