Oh Gaskell…27 chapters in, and the infatuation is starting to wane. (But don’t worry, I still like you better than Austen.) The politics of the strike was not your finest moment (bor-ing!) and some of the scenes were waaaaaaaay too dramatic. Mrs. Hale weeping and wailing for Frederick and insisting that a letter be sent right this very minute was too much. That whole bit about “Oh ugly daughter, I don’t see you writing…I’ll do it…even though I AM DYING” made me want to bitch slap Mama Hale.
But what’s really bothering me this week (besides Mama Hale) are the secrets. They are killing me! Last week, it was the whole thing with Mr. Hale and the church. This time, it was the two sentences that the doctor uttered that she couldn’t bother to share with us. I get that we’ve established that Mrs. Hale really isn’t a hypochondriac (although she is still a bit of an over-actor), and that she’s gonna kick it any day, but for god’s sake? What’s the diagnosis???
Fanny is a ninny.
Mrs. Thornton is Mother Bitch. Or, Mommy Dearest. I can’t quite decide which.
Margaret. OMFG. Since when is someone admitting their love for you the equivalent of torture?? We get that you’re the best thing to happen to that town until sliced bread comes along, since you read to the dying, keep secrets in the best interests of your dear papa (heavy on the sarcasm there), save men from mad crowds, nurse your dying (although I’ll believe it when I read the death scene) mama, and lecture people on responsibility, but it’s okay to take a moment for yourself and fall in love. Really. Plus, it might help with that stick you’ve got up your ass.
Mrs. Hale needs to up and die already. I know that’s mean, but: “Why Margaret, you must not be hurt, but he [Fred] was much prettier than you were. I remember, when I first saw you in Dixon’s arms, I said, ‘Dear, what an ugly little thing!’” And then after totally insulting her daughter, she commands her to produce Fred. Argh. It’s too bad Fanny isn’t her daughter. They deserve each other.
And I did learn a new word (clem: to starve to death), but only because Gaskell uses it so many times that I had to look it up. Gaskell’s got a thing for dialect, which is cool, but she is way too fond of this word.
Despite all the bitching and moaning (mine, AND the characters) I am still enjoying the book. It’s just that it’s more fun to trash the characters than write labor strikes (that’s what college was for).