The Motif of the Sun and its Connection to the Regional Differences in Elizabeth Gaskell's "North and South"
Seminar paper from the year 2018 in the subject English Language and Literature Studies - Literature, grade: 1,0, University of Dortmund (Institute of English and American Studies), course: The Invention of Capitalism: From Adam Smith to Marx and Engels, language: English, abstract: This term paper aims to analyse and interpret the motif of the sun in Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South with a highly text-oriented approach. Several literary researchers have already mentioned the significance of this motif in various parts of the novel. They have also observed that the repeated references to the sun play a large part in emphasising Margaret Hale's perception of the central dynamic between England's industrial North and its pastoral South during the nineteenth century. This, along with several stylistically remarkable repetitions of this motif in different instances in the novel, suggests that the interpretation of these repetitions may be of value to further the literary understanding of North and South.
However, none of the previous researchers has yet fully explored whether the implementation of this motif throughout North and South might offer more interpretative potential about the novel's distinction between the two opposing regions in England. Another objection along these lines comes from Shelston who states that the displayed regional disparity in the novel is "not just about the simple geographical opposition", but also about the "whole political culture of England". This implies that the distinction between England's North and South, and thereby the implementation of the motif of the sun, may be heavily intertwined with the novel's more favourable perspective on the emergence of a capitalist society in the nation as a whole. Thus, the research question will address the following problem: How does the motif of the sun reflect Margaret's changing perception of England's regional disparity and what conclusions can be drawn from this concerning the author's depiction of the emerging capitalist society in England?