Saturday, January 31, 2015

North & South Read Along Final Discussion Post

Time to wrap up my thoughts on North and South. Suey's hosting the questions this time around.

I will be watching this soon! Also I stole this pic from Suey's blog

1.  There's much talk about all the deaths in this book. What are your feelings on that? Do you think they were necessary? Or too much?

They were pretty sad but I probably accurate for the time. People didn't live as long back then, especially people who lived in industrial areas.

2. Was there anything that happened during this last part that you found surprising or unexpected? Or was everything very predictable?

I wasn't expecting Mr. Thornton to disappear from the story so much near the end. And I wasn't expecting so much Henry Lennox, either. I had a few moments where I wondered if Mr. Thornton was going to die and she was going to end up with Henry instead.

3. What are your feelings on the about face Margaret and Mr. Thornton have with regard to their financial status?

That was interesting. I'm so used to women being in tough financial positions in these kinds of stories (like Sense & Sensibility) that it was cool to see it reversed. I did wonder if she and Mr. Thornton would have ever sorted things out if she hadn't become his landlady, but I was cool with it.

4. Do you think Margaret is justified in being so anguished over the lie that she told? Does it mostly have to do with her feelings for Mr. Thornton? Or something else?

I thought it was about Mr. Thornton thinking badly of her, especially because she wanted Mr. Bell to fix that for her. I don't know why she didn't just try to fix it herself. Maybe she was afraid he wouldn't believe her.

5. At what moment exactly do you think her feelings for Mr. Thornton completely changed?

I don't think I can pinpoint a specific moment, but it was especially clear after she'd moved from Milton and was still so caught up in having told that lie and the fact that Mr. Thornton would always think badly of her because of it.

6. Discuss the character of Nicholas Higgins. What do you think about the relationship he has with Mr. Thornton? Did he change Mr. Thornton? Did Mr. Thornton change him?

I really liked him. One of my favorite parts was when he took in all those orphan kids and when he and the other workers had their lunch/meal/whatever with Mr. Thornton. It was fun to see how they changed each other - with Higgins realizing that Thornton didn't act the way he did out of malice, and Thornton realizing that Higgins wasn't a bad guy either.

7. How does Mr. Thornton's views on the master/worker relationship change? Or. . .did it change? Did your view on this issue change as you experienced this book?

I think he learned to see workers as people who might have some decent ideas, and not just as a means to an end. It's kind of sad that his business fails after his change in views. But I don't think those two things are supposed to be connected.

8. Do you have a favorite quote from this book? If so, share and let us know why it's your favorite.

There are a lot of good quotes. Since I was so (unnecessarily) suspicious of Fredrick I'll pick one from him:

Thinking has, many a time, made me sad, darling; but doing never did in all my life....My precept is, do something, my sister, do good if you can; but at any rate, do something

9. The ending! Are you happy with how things turned out? (Try not to compare with the movie here... that's for a later question!)

I think it was pretty abrupt and didn't give me much chance to enjoy seeing the characters happy together. But, I wouldn't classify this as a romance. There's a relationship, for sure, but I think the book's much more effective as a look at different ways of living life and understanding who you are in relation to others/society/etc. I think that kind of stuff is interesting and I'm glad it was there. But, unpopular opinion time: the romance was a little disappointing for me.

10. What aspect of this book would you like to address that we haven't yet talked about? Is there something we've skipped over in our discussions that makes you want to say... "Yeah, but what about....?"  And if you've got nothing there, answer this: Did you like the book? Why or why not?

How about that cat roasting? What was up with that? 
Also, I did like the book. I don't think I'd read it again but I'm very excited to see the movie. I hear it really does a nice job with the ending and makes it more romantic. 


  1. Ha ha ha! I loved that you brought up the cat roasting thing. It was so weird that it didn't seem like such a big deal other than the fact that the lady was sad that it was her cat.

    I really liked Mr. Higgins too. I look forward to seeing him in the movie, especially since he's played by Mr. Bates from Downton Abbey.

  2. Mr. Higgins taking care of the orphans was one of my favorite parts of the novel. Your quote was one of my favorites as well.

  3. Do good if you can, but at any rate, do something....not a bad philosophy, but made rather curious by the fact of how little Fred actually did to fix his situation so that he could return home safely!

    I guess the cat roasting highlighted old rural superstitions and showed Marg that her beloved, idyllic Helstone was quite backward & barbaric still in some regards. It opened her eyes to see the good and the bad in both the north and the south.

  4. OMG, that cat!!!! So weird. I love Mr. Higgins, too. He's a dear heart for all his stubborn ways!

  5. I liked Mr. Higgins too and thought it was great that he took on the kids and that he wasn't afraid to stand up to Thornton. He was tough and tender at the same time. I thought the ending was pretty abrupt too. Kelley at the road goes ever ever on

  6. The cat! Yes! Such a crazy thing and nobody in the story seems to think twice about it. But I was so got that I had to reread the paragraph again to make sure I'd read it right!

    I love Higgens! Watching his growth and seeing he and Mr. Thorton learn to respect each other, it's just a wonderful story arc. He's one of my favorite characters!