Analysis Of The Rose In Elizabeth Gaskel's North And South

Decent Essays
Roses bringing on a New Society
Roses have often been the iconic picture of love and femininity. Throughout the last few centuries, it has been expected of men to bring these flowers with thorny stems to their loved ones, whether it be their lover or mother. It would not be “normal” for a woman to do the same for a man, because roses or flowers in general are objects of women that celebrate their tenderness and innocence. The beautiful, untouched, innocent rose is depicted differently in Elizabeth Gaskel’s book North and South. The Rose is often referenced to in the novel in parallel with Margaret Hale. In the beginning of the novel, she is found picking up roses and adding them to her gown. These roses are in full bloom and beautiful. However,
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She is indirectly rebelling against her gender. In Margaret’s point of view she thinks that it is a “whirlwind” (I) of a wedding and later on in the novel decides she will not marry or have children. She takes care of her family by organizing their move to Milton. “And I think, papa, that I could get mamma to help me in planning, if you could tell me what to plan for. She has never expressed any wish in any way, and only thinks of what can 't be helped. Are we to go straight to Milton? Have you taken a house there? '… Now Margaret could work, and act, and plan in good earnest” (V). She is questioning her father because she was going to be the actual plans. Her father, who was the one who said that they needed to move, was not at all in the process of actually making the plans. The woman, who is taking charge in the outside world, has now taken over these plans. Her father also becomes “absent” when her mother dies. Margaret takes the weight of keeping the family afloat when her father and brother, Frederick, were not. She took on the role of being the “patriarch” in the traditional family. She rejects her first two proposals, which was not done during those days. If a man of wealth and stature came into your home to propose to you, you would take the offer, because it wasn’t about the concept of …show more content…
Thornton is described as having “tenderness in his heart— 'a soft place, '”. This in total contrast with Dixon’s description in the beginning of the novel of Margaret. He often becomes the damsel in distress whom Margaret feels obligated to save just like a knight in shining armor would. Starting from the major riot at infront of his house, she gives orders to him to go to talk to the people outside. Once things start to get carried away outside, she runs down the stairs and races out to stop the crowd from stoning him. “ 'For God 's sake! do not damage your cause by this violence. You do not know what you are doing. ' She strove to make her words distinct” (XXII). She even takes a “bullet” for him. “A sharp pebble flew by her, grazing forehead and cheek, and drawing a blinding sheet of light before her eyes. She lay like one dead on Mr. Thornton 's shoulder” (XXII). Later on near the end of the novel, she becomes his landlady and even helps save his business by giving him money. Yet again, the reader finds Margaret as the hero and Thornton being saved. Eventually, because of these gender stereotype reversals, a new relationship is formed between the two of them, one that essentially breaks or rebels against what is socially acceptable for their gender. This creates a new kind of equality between the two. The balance in authority between the two characters. Near the end, he takes charge in

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