Melanie's Musings
February 13, 2012

The Characters of North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell

North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell is full of rich, well-developed characters.  All stills are from the 2004 BBC production.  Read on to find quick bios of North and South characters.

The Hale Household

Mr. Hale– After what he calls “a matter of conscience” Mr. Hale quits the clergy and moves his family to the industrial town of Milton.

Mrs. Hale was raised in a wealthy family but married a clergyman for love.  A kind, well-bred woman, she struggles with understanding her husband’s actions.

MargaretNorth and South‘s main character, Margaret Hale is a strong, independent-minded young woman.

Frederick– Margaret’s brother, currently living in Spain

Dixon is technically a servant, yet really a part of the family with very strong opinions.  She’s fiercely devoted to Mrs. Hale.

The Thorntons

John Thornton has built himself from the ground up into a well-respected mill owner.  It doesn’t take him long to fall in love with Margaret.

Mrs. Thornton– Stern and strong-minded, Mrs. Thornton is very proud of Milton.

Fanny– John’s younger sister, Fanny is a young woman with the dreams of visiting London and making a good match.  She has been shielded from her family’s hardships.

The Higgins

Nicholas– A Union leader, Nicholas Higgins fights for a better life for the mill workers.
Bessie– Nicholas’ daughter suffers from a disease caused by breathing the mills’ cotton-filled air.
Mary– Bessie’s younger sister

Milton Townspeople

Anne Latimer– An accomplished young woman, ready for marriage, presumably with eyes on Thornton.
Mr. Watson– Fanny’s fiance
Slickson– Milton mill owner
John Boucher– A mill worker with six children, the strike hits his family hard.


Edith Shaw Lennox– Margaret’s childhood friend and cousin
Captain Lennox– Edith’s husband
Henry Lennox- Captain Lennox’s brother, Henry proposes marriage to Margaret in the beginning of North and South.
Aunt Shaw is the mother of Edith, seemingly the matriarch of her household.

The Man Who Defies Categorization

Mr. Bell is a life-long friend of Mr. Hale and also the owner of the land Marlbarough Mills sits on.  An observant, cunning man, instrumental to our main character’s happiness.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)
Posted by Melanie at 2:50 pm – Comments (2)
Categories: themed week

Add A Comment


  • February 16th 2012
    Sandy said:

    That picture of Fanny is priceless, lol!

    Mr. Bell…it’s a shame that he didn’t stick around 🙁


  • February 16th 2012

    Nice rundown of all the characters! You did well.