Saturday, January 10, 2015

North and South Read Along Part 1: Chap. 1 to 18

I've been having a blast re-reading this book with you all! So many things are standing out to me this go around. I've tweeted a few things (#NorthSouthRAL if you want to see) and have looked forward to this first discussion. If you are playing along with us, be sure to join us for a Twitter chat tonight at 6 pm Mountain.

But for now here are my answers to some discussion questions which you can find over at Jenni's blog. If you'd like to post your answers too, be sure to link up over at her blog so we can find you and come visit!

1. Is this your first time reading this? If so, what do you think so far? If not, are you liking this reread so far?

This is my third time reading the book, I think. The first time I was trying hard to just understand what was going on (this was way before the movie existed even!) and the second time through I mostly skimmed it for book club. This time, I'm really savoring everything. I love it!

2. Have you seen the BBC mini-series? Is the book anything like you expected it to be?
I will love to see other people's answer to this question. I watched the movie long after I read the book and all I know is that it made me appreciate the book a ton more.

3. Why do you think Margaret refused Henry? He seems like such a nice chap.

He seems nice, but maybe a bit on the boring side. But at this point, we aren't really sure what Margaret is looking for. Maybe boring suits her? But I guess not. I guess she is one of those that knows what she wants when she sees it and Henry is not it. I've always felt a little sorry for him. 

4. What are your first impressions of Mr. Thornton?

Going on what I've read so far, one might think he's a bit scary. A bit gruff maybe, a bit intimidating. If you aren't in his head, like we so wonderfully get to be while reading the book, you might think he only enjoys coming to discuss books with Mr. Hale and not much else about this new family. But at the same time, not knowing anything else about him at this point, I would find him intriguing too.

5. Why is Margaret so indifferent to Mr. Thornton, but she can make friends with the Higgins? They are both northern people and have different customs.

I think she either relates to the plight of the poor workers, or feels sorry for them and some sense of responsibility.  Whereas Mr. Thornton, being the owner of the mill, has no need for someone to feel sorry for him. And Margaret can't relate to his position at all, like she can with the Higgins'. 

6. Compare the two moms we've seen in the story.

I've always found Mrs. Hale a bit on the wimpy side. And very whiny. Mrs. Thornton seems, on the other hand, powerful and strong. Though she has her  moments of whiny-ness too. She is however, awfully judgmental. But then again, so is Mrs. Hale!  Anyway,  I love what she (Mrs. Thornton) feels about her son, I too feel all those motherly instincts about my boys. So, I get where she's coming from. Then again, I suppose Mrs. Hale feels that for her son Frederick too. Anyway, I just find the difference in the two quite interesting.

7. What differences are you seeing so far between the north and the south?

The difference is what we call nowadays blue collar and white collar, wouldn't you say? The north is hard working, the south is laid back. The north is cities and factories and noise, the south is villages and churches and quiet. At least that would be a general sum up of the difference! 

8. Do you think Mr. Hale was justified in leaving the church and his position?

I understand his grief about not being one with what he's expected to believe, but to uproot his family because of it? What  hard thing. I mean he REALLY must feel pretty strongly about whatever point he has a quibble with. 

9. What are your feelings on Frederick’s situation?

Not a good situation! It sounds like a terrible thing that happened to him. I feel bad for everyone. Poor Frederick.

10. What are your thoughts on the master and worker relationship?

I just read the chapter (15 I think it is) where they discuss this in length and the thing that strikes me (ha! strikes!) is they neither one of them can get along with out the other. They NEED each other! And its so frustrating then, why they have to have such a volatile relationship. I wish they could all get along. 

And there you have it! What I'm thinking so far! I hope some of you can join the Twitter chat tonight. I look forward to discussing things further. 

Our next set of chapters will be 19 to 35 and discussion questions will be hosted at Kami's on January 20. Enjoy!


  1. I like how you made the blue collar/white collar comparison. Very interesting! Great answers!

  2. Great answers! I'm excited to catch up and answer the questions myself. I like getting this insight because I feel a little lost with some of the language.

  3. Good answers! Now I feel like I was too hard on Margaret in my post. :) That's a good point that she can feel sympathy for the Higgins but doesn't really have anything to feel for Mr. Thornton. And that's so true about the blue and white collar life styles. It's interesting how that's not a new/modern thing.

  4. Wow! Three times! It feels like a book I'll like but I'm not sure about a reread at this point. I am looking forward to the mini-series as well. Thanks for hosting and for visiting my blog.

  5. I need to start reading this book. I think part of the reason I've been putting it off is because it's a classic, and I haven't read a classic in ages. But I have it on my Kindle app, and you all make it sound so good!

  6. I've been thinking about the two mums since reading everyones posts and I think the word I would chose to use for Mrs Hale is weak. Physically weak, but also weak of mind and spirit. She has let life's disappointments bring her down. She focuses on the problems rather than the positives.

    Whereas Mrs Thornton is strong and robust. She has had her fair share of disappointments and knocks in life, but she is far more resilient.

    1. Brona, that's a great point! Mrs. Hale is VERY weak, while Mrs. Thornton has overcome much.

  7. Definitely impressed that you've read it three times. Go Suey! :)



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