Vinsamlegast notið þetta auðkenni þegar þið vitnið til verksins eða tengið í það: http://hdl.handle.net/1946/35382
This essay examines Elizabeth Gaskell’s portrayal of the issue of social classes in the Victorian era. It discusses the inequality between mill owners and their workers and their living conditions with focus on two of her novels. Mary Barton provides a very limited interpretation of the situation, as it conveys information mainly through the experience and opinions of the working-class members, who often live in atrocious conditions and fight illness and hunger. The reason behind such struggles is the arro-gant and indifferent behaviour of their masters who refuse to raise their wages in fear of losing control over their workforce. Further, it discusses John Barton, his activism and efforts to secure better work and living conditions for the working class. The second part of the essay explores North and South, which is Gaskell’s more mature work concentrating on the same social issues. North and South pro-vides various perspectives on the issues between masters and men, and this essay discusses how im-pactful these different perspectives are in creating a realistic picture of the situation. The narrative fo-cuses on Margaret Hale, who as a member of the middle class brings forth an unprejudiced perspec-tive, which is important for understanding the issue. Margaret’s desire to improve the situation be-tween masters and men leads to some positive changes in how the classes perceive each other. This part of the essay further examines the opinions of Mr Thornton in relation to trade, workmen and dis-tribution of power. The last part of the essay compares Mary Barton and North and South. The com-parison deals with the differences between how the two stories are narrated, as North and South pro-vides the opinions and point of view of more than only the working class. It further compares the most important characters and their attitudes towards the issue of inequality.