Tuesday, January 20, 2015

North and South Readalong Discussion Post #2

Today Kami has some great discussion questions for the second section of North and South.

I've got to say, people act a little rash here, and violent! and die! And still ignore Margaret's feelings. Even Mr. Thornton thinks he knows Margaret's feelings but is totally wrong. And get it together, Mr. Thornton. That was her brother.

Also, is there a gif anywhere of Mrs. Thornton making a face that says "I do not approve" ? Because I need that in my reading life.

Anywho, on to the questions!

1.    Have your feelings changed towards Mr. Thornton during this section of the book?
Not really? I thought his proposal was really impulsive and jumping the gun there. He seems like a very calculated, think-it-through type of guy so I was surprised he didn't take a little more time to see if his assumption about her feelings was right. 

He's really good to her family, but he's been pretty considerate of them from the beginning.

2.    Have your feelings towards Margaret changed?
I think I'm more sympathetic toward her. She's in a hard spot in her family - essentially she gets stuck trying to take care of everyone else and no one gives much thought to her feelings. And then she lost her friend and her mom fairly close together. I'd imagine she's pretty lonely.

3.    What do you think about the riot and how Margaret and Mr. Thornton reacted?
She totally goaded him to go down there! I think it showed that she didn't know much about that type of situation and didn't assume that it could turn violent. On the other hand it didn't seem like Mr. Thornton even tried to reason with the people or explain himself. They were kind of opposite ends of the spectrum there.

4.    Do you think Boucher's anger and actions were justified?
Actions? No. Anger, possibly. If you think people are holding out on giving you something you think you deserve, I could understand being upset about it.

5.    Did Bess's or Mrs. Hale's deaths affect you in any way?
They were sad. I felt a little cheated that Bess died off the page, and mostly alone. It was sad when Mrs. Hale died but at least all her family was there for it. 

6.    Were you surprised to learn that it wasn't common for women to attend funerals? What are your feelings on that tidbit?
I thought that was so bizarre. But I guess back then they probably didn't preserve bodies in quite the same way that we do today for funerals. Funerals are probably much more sanitized now than they were back then, so maybe they thought it wasn't the kind of thing delicate, fainting-prone ladies could handle. 

7.    Now that we've met Frederick, do you like him? Are you sympathetic to his predicament?
I don't like or dislike him. He has this whole other life in Spain and seems pretty distanced from his family and their day to day problems. It sounds like he has his own problems with the whole mutiny, but I'm still not convinced he's 100% innocent there. And I think involving Henry Lennox could lead to trouble, but maybe that's just me.

8.    What are your feelings on Mr. Thornton's proposal?
Besides that it was impulsive? I thought it was interesting that he didn't talk to her parents first. (Although I don't remember Henry Lennox doing that either). I thought talking to the parents first was a big deal back then, at least if Jane Austen movies are to be believed.

9.    If you were in Mr. Thornton's place, having seen the person you love with a stranger late at night, then finding out that person was questioned by the police and lied, would you do the same thing Mr. Thornton did? Would you protect that person even though you think they have done questionable things?
I don't know. I think Mr. Thornton thought he was doing the best thing for her. I don't really get what all the social consequences would be for her, but it reminded me of wacky sitcoms where big lies and misunderstandings come about because people don't give one crucial piece of information. I wonder if Mr. Thornton would have done anything differently if he'd known Margaret was out with her mutinous brother.

10.  Do you think Margaret's feelings towards Mr. Thornton have changed? Why?
Yeah, I do, especially at the part where her brother describes him much like she did earlier in the book and Margaret doesn't feel like that's quite right any more. I think she respects him more and is getting past the whole idea that he's beneath her just because he's a merchant. 


  1. Such good stuff happens in this section! I enjoyed your perspective. I think I'm tainted and see things all differently. Sort of. I had fun writing a litter to Mr. Thornton for one of the questions. :)

  2. I decided there's nothing nefarious with Frederick anymore. I'm sure there's another side to the mutiny, but based on how bad Leonards turned out to be, I think Frederick was on the right side, other than instigating the mutiny.

  3. Great insights. I think it's interesting how many people don't like Frederick or think somethings a miss. I could probably find you that gif.

  4. Ugh, I don't remember the book well enough. Time for a reread.

  5. It was only the funeral procession that women didn't attend.
    However the women were involved with the cleaning of the body and sitting with the body (the wake) until the funeral. The procession was the part of the ceremony for those outside the family to attend (although it was an invitation only thing.)

    I found a great blog that covered this topic beautifully when you get a chance to read my post :-)

  6. I thought the same thing, Margaret totally goaded him into going down to the riot. I still think she was truly naïve as to what could (and would!) happen with a crowd of angry people. And you make a great point about Thornton, he really didn't reason with them. Opposite ends as you said.

  7. Nice answers. I was surprised he proposed so quickly as well. The characters are all starting to change which makes the story interesting.

  8. Good point about Mr. Thornton acting impulsively. He really does seem to be a think-through-things guy and he's been making all kinds of rash decisions because of Margaret.