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Thread: Mary Barton death count

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    Registered User kev67's Avatar
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    Mary Barton death count

    In the BBC adaption of North and South, the script writer gave Mr Nicholas a really stupid line about no parent expecting to outlive their children. Not only in this line a cliché, it would an absurd thing for a Victorian workman to say. They buried their children all the time. The death count in North and South climbed steadily throughout the book, but it is nothing like Mary Barton. I have started this thread in order to keep count.

    Chapter 3: Mrs Barton, John Barton's wife, dies in childbirth.
    Chapter 5: Mr Ogden the greengrocer reported having drank himself to death.
    Chapter 6: Ben Davenport, laid off worker for Mr Carson, dies of typhoid fever.
    Chapter 7: Jem Wilson's younger twin brothers both die of fever.
    Chapter 8: George Wilson, Jem's father and John Barton's friend, dies suddenly (heart attack?).
    Chapter 9: Job Legh recounts how he went to London to care for his daughter and son-in-law, but they had both died when he got there.


    There are plenty more on death row. Jem's mother Jane Wilson was looking peaky. The elderly Alice Wilson, Jem's aunt has returned to Lancashire to visit relatives she has not seen for forty years. That can't be a good sign. Job Legh is getting on. He is Mary Barton's friend Margaret's grandfather. I reckon he's going to cark it before the end of the book. Margaret is young, but going blind. I rate her chances as 50-50.

    It was interesting in chap 7, that when one twin is dead and the other is dying, Alice Wilson tells their mother to give her the remaining twin because she was 'wishing' him. The boy was suffering a harder death because his mother was wishing him to stay alive. She hands over the boy who soon dies. So much for no parent expects to outlive their child.

    In chapter 9, Job Legh was actually trying to take John Barton out of his melancholy frame of mind. John had been part of a trade union deputation that had gone down to London, but the mission had failed.
    Last edited by kev67; 11-11-2014 at 06:35 PM.
    According to Aldous Huxley, D.H. Lawrence once said that Balzac was 'a gigantic dwarf', and in a sense the same is true of Dickens.
    Charles Dickens, by George Orwell

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    Registered User kev67's Avatar
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    After a fast start, the death rate slowed down a little. There were only another four deaths in the rest of the book, although one was violent.
    According to Aldous Huxley, D.H. Lawrence once said that Balzac was 'a gigantic dwarf', and in a sense the same is true of Dickens.
    Charles Dickens, by George Orwell

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