North and South by Gaskell

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Margaret in North and South

Gender Roles & Role Reversal
Margaret, through her characterization and interactions with the male characters in North and South, both represents the gender role of her time, as well as subverts, and even goes as far as to reverse roles with the opposite gender. Her strong willpower and tendency to be dominant contributes to this. * S - p. 39 ‘Margaret did dislike it, did shrink from it more than from anything she had ever had to do in her life before... It is a painful thing, but it must be done, and I will do it as well as ever I can. You must have many painful things to do.' Represents the pains of the amount of Margaret’s responsibility * S - p. 63 ‘Mr Thornton was in habits of authority himself, but she seemed to assume some kind of rule over him at once.’ * S - p. 168 – Mr Hale about Margaret – “Margaret is my staff – my right hand”. Encapsulates his dependence on Margaret, and her guidance and control over him and the household before Mrs Hale’s death * S - p. 247 – Dixon to Margaret – “There is not another person in the house to give a direction of any kind!” Further emphasizes the role reversal of the strong, dominant male and obedient female of the household * R - p. 12 - Lennox to Margaret - "Ladies' business, I mean, very different to my business, which is the real true law business." Women typically in their roles would know nothing about business and leave it to men. * R p. 28 - Mrs Hale in Milton - "I only know it is impossible to keep the muslin blinds clean here above a week together."

Women Stereotypes & Challenging It
Margaret, tends to defy women stereotypes through her preference to socialize with the other gender, as well as to assert dominance in situations while stereotypical women would remain submissive. * S p. 13 - Margaret doubts that Edith’s preparation of her wedding is "quite necessary troubles." This shows that Margaret is different to other girls of her age. *...
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