North and South

North and South

by

Elizabeth Gaskell

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North and South: Chapter 32 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Margaret agrees to accompany Frederick to the train station the next day. She says she won’t mind walking home in the dark, as she’s gotten “very brave and very hard.” The two arrive twenty minutes early at the train station and have a tender last exchange. Suddenly they spot Mr. Thornton riding past, scowling. Margaret also notices a young man staring impertinently at her when she goes inside to buy Frederick’s ticket.
Margaret no longer doubts her own courage as she did before the riot; she now feels at home and able to fend for herself in Milton, proudly referring to herself now as “very brave and very hard.”
Themes
Female Agency and Strength Theme Icon
Personal Character, Environment, and Change Theme Icon
Just before the train arrives, a rough-looking porter comes up, shoves Margaret, and seizes Frederick’s collar, identifying him as Hale. Somehow, by “some sleight of wrestling,” Frederick trips the man—presumably Leonards—and the man falls a short distance off the platform. Margaret then rushes Frederick onto the train. Sickened by the near miss, Margaret looks for Leonards on the ground, but he is gone. As she buys her ticket to catch the opposite train home, she hears the railroad workers talking about Leonards’ drunken boasts that he would pursue Frederick.
Frederick’s narrow escape, the fall, and Margaret’s witnessing of the whole thing will prove to have enormous consequences for the rest of the story, and for Margaret’s development.
Themes
Female Agency and Strength Theme Icon
Personal Character, Environment, and Change Theme Icon