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Mary Barton: A novel by Elizabeth Gaskell

Summary and Analysis of Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell

Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell
Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell

In the year 1848, Elizabeth Gaskell wrote her debut novel, Mary Barton. The author writes about the working class people in the Victorian era in Manchester, a city in England, from 1839 to 1842. It primarily focuses on the political and domestic affairs. The main character of the novel fills in as the principal individual account voice.

Elizabeth Gaskell imparts social class and the time period realism for utilizing regular workers dialect and casual speech and furthermore with literal references. A great portion of the novel is committed to distinctions between classes on the contrary to the economic compass.

Mary Barton summary

The story starts with two families meeting only outside of Manchester in a field. One family comprises of Jane and George Wilson and their infants who are twins alongside seventeen-year-old son named Jem. The other is John Barton, his pregnant spouse Mary, and their thirteen-year-old girl whose name is also coincidentally Mary.

Jane and Mary sit chatting with one another while their spouses go for a walk together. The men talk about Esther, Mary’s sister, who kept running off a couple of evenings prior. John believes that Esther has picked up too high a dimension of freedom on account of the money she is making as a simple worker in the factory.

Jem, in the interim, is slapped by youthful Mary when he kisses her. The gathering proceeds onward to Barton’s home for tea. Mary is sent by her mom to get a few things they need and to stretch out encouragement to George’s sister Alice who is working as a nurse.

Following three years pass, Mary is filling in as an understudy to a dressmaker and John is included with the Trades Union. At the point when one more year passes, and Mary is seventeen, Alice acquaints her with a needleworker named Margaret Jennings who lives with her grandfather Job Legh and they become great friends. Margaret is gradually losing her vision making it progressively troublesome for her to sew, however, may probably take up singing as a career to help herself out financially.

Harry Carson, who originates from the affluent family that possesses the plant at which George Wilson works is interested in Mary. Jem is also in love with Mary however Mary does not have similar feelings for him and tries as much to be in less contact with Jem.

The Carson factory one day get burned down and then George becomes jobless. The very only way for supporting the family financially is that the money earned by Jem. Adding to the harsh occasions of the Wilson family is the passing of the twin young men from disease. At the point when Mary lands to offer her sympathies, Jem confesses his affection for her. She gets angry for this, especially for his wrong timing and tells him that she does not have any such feelings for him.

She longs to marry Harry Carson and hoisting her status in the public arena just as having the capacity to support her father, who has financial problems. Although Mary then realizes that she has feelings for Jem after she refused his proposal. She then chooses to maintain a strategic distance from Harry and in the long run uncover her newfound emotions towards Jem.

Esther, who has turned herself into a prostitute, tells her father that she has been keeping an eye on her sister Mary and her father should keep an eye on her too. He pays no attention to her and Esther is captured for vagrancy. When she is discharged from jail a month later she takes her concern regarding her sister to Jem asking him to protect her sister Mary. He agrees to do so and then discovers Harry.

A battle results between the men, with a cop viewing. Soon after, Harry is discovered shot to death, and Jem is arrested as he was present there with a gun in his hand. Esther investigates the circumstance and finds that the material utilized as wadding in the ammo is a paper that has Mary’s name on it.

At the point when Esther discovers Mary, she cautions her to spare her cherished one that is Jem. Mary goes to the acknowledgment that Jem did not kill Harry, and finds out that the actual culprit is her father. Mary is struggling to rescue Jem and yet at the same time protect her father.

Mary goes to Liverpool trying to discover a vindication for Jem. She is looking for Jem’s cousin Will Wilson who is a mariner and was with Jem on the night the unfortunate incident occurred. The ship Will is on is now adrift when she arrives, so Mary decides to follow him in a little boat.

Will reveals to her that he will return in the pilot transport the following day and testify for the trial for Jem. As the trial progresses Jem now comes to know that Mary is in love with him. Will gives his declaration which results in Jem being proclaimed not the culprit.

After coming back to Manchester, Mary discovers her dad experiencing the blame. He admits to Harry’s dad that he is the executioner and dies soon after his confession. After this Esther too passes within a short span of time.

Jem realizes his reputation has been tarnished and he needs to leave the place and he goes to England. Toward the end of the novel, Mary and Jem are married and living in Canada with a kid and Mrs. Wilson. In an additional bit of favorable luck, Mary comes to know that her very dear friend Margaret has recovered her eyesight and is marrying Jem’s cousin Will.

Mary Barton List of characters

John Barton
The serious, thoughtful and intelligent father of Mary Barton

Mrs. Mary Barton
Mary’s mother and John’s wife

Tom Barton
The Bartons’ young son who dies from scarlet fever

Esther Barton
Mary Barton Sr.’s sister who has a wild streak

Jem Wilson
The dependable and honest hero of the novel; he loves Mary Barton

George Wilson
Jem’s father

Jane Wilson
Wife of George Wilson

Wilson twins
George and Jane Wilson’s sons

Alice Wilson
Sister of George Wilson

Will Wilson
Alice’s nephew

Margaret Jennings
Mary’s friend

Job Legh
Grandfather of Margaret Jennings

Frank Jennings
Margaret’s father

John Carson
A Mill owner

Mrs. Carson
Wife of Mr. Carson

Harry Carson
Son of Mr. Carson

Sophy Carson
Harry’s sister and the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Carson.

Helen Carson
Harry’s sister and the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Carson.

Amy Carson
Harry’s sister and the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Carson.

Mr. Bridgenorth
A lawyer and friend of Job’s

Ben Sturgis
An old sailor

Mrs. Sturgis
Ben’s wife

Charley Jones
A boy who helps Mary rent a boat

Mrs. Jones
Charley’s mother

Mr. Duncombe
Jem’s master at the foundry

Sally Leadbitter
A flirtatious girl

Mrs. Leadbitter
Sally’s mother

Ms. Simmonds
Mary and Sally’s employer; a seamstress in Manchester.

Johnnie Wilson
Canadian born son of Mary and Jem

Read Mary Barton PDF fomat – a  novel by Elizabet Gaskell

Mary Barton movie

There was a news that BBC wants to turn this classic book into a movie. Haven’t heard since then. There was a TV series in 1964 but can’t see a video anywhere. if i find, will add a link to it.

Mary Barton chapter summary

Full name of the novel is actually ‘Mary Barton a tale of Manchester life’. It was the first novel by Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell, ans was published in 1848. A story of a working-class family that descends into desperation during the depression of 1839.  Also read about her other famous novel- Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell