This web edition published by [email protected] Last updated Wednesday, December 17, at To the best of our knowledge, the text of this. Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell April, [Etext #] The Project Gutenberg Etext of Mary Barton, by Elizabeth Gaskell ******This file should be named. romantic one in her first novel, Mary Barton (1 ), the majority of scholars feel that the combination is not a happy one. According to Margaret Ganz, " Critics.
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Free kindle book and epub digitized and proofread by Project Gutenberg. “Come, women,” said John Barton, “you've both walked far enough. My Mary expects to have her bed in three weeks; and as for you, Mrs. Wilson, you know. Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell. Adobe PDF icon. Download this document as soundofheaven.info: File size: MB What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read.
Download pdf. Jaffe, Audrey. The masters, however, are the ones making them poor. One reason for this absence might have been the need to present Mary's performancethroughthe genderedpublic gaze of the friend who is always referredto in masculine terms. If my child lies dying as poor Tom lay, with his white wan lips quivering, for want of better food than I could give him , does the rich man bring the wine or broth that might save his life? The analysis of Mary Barton from a Marxist perspective in parallel to the Manifesto of the Communist Party offers a descriptive account of the difference between the working class and the middle class in the Victorian period. The significanceof this work for my presentreadingof MaryBartonlies in the fact that I see some importantsimilaritiesbetweenCarlyle'sand Gaskell'sattitudeto- wardsocialself-fashioning.
Therefore, the middle class are not concerned with the agonies and miseries of the working class people. With this in mind, the use of songs, ballads and nursery rhymes reminds the reader of the particular position of the working class inasmuch as they provide an insight into the lives of the workers and their families.
Thus, the use of songs and rhymes together with ballads enriches the novel since they present the anger and agony of the working class in a different structure. In addition, Gaskell presents a strong character that draws the distinction between the two classes.
In the novel, the outstanding character who represents the working class is John Barton in that he highlights the condition of the working class. He implicitly underlines the argument of Marx and Engels in the manifesto in all of his conversations.
During his talk with Wilson, for instance, the discussion centres on the inequality between the two classes. The working class people, therefore, struggle to make capitals and its owners wealthy In the novel, John Barton displays the differences between the working class people and the middle class people since he speaks out the distinction between two classes.
The narrator introduces John Barton to the reader as a rebellious man: Marx and Engels put forward the view that proletarians must not give up the fight against the bourgeoisie since there is nothing to lose for them In the preface of his work, The Condition of the Working Class, Engels comments on the features of the middle class: You are right, perfectly right in expecting no support whatever from them.
Their interest is diametrically opposed to yours, though they always will try to maintain the contrary … The middle class intend in reality nothing else but to enrich themselves by your labour while they can sell its produce, and to abandon you to starvation as soon as they cannot make a profit by this indirect trade in human flesh.
The former are selfish since the only matter for them is getting rich, so they make use of the workers to become wealthier. To this end, they do not consider the situation of the workers inasmuch as the only matter is earning more money. The owners, therefore, live a different life than the workers. This distinction is portrayed in the novel with the events after the fire of the factory. While Wilson suffers in desperate conditions because of his loss of job after the fire, the middle class people enjoy their spare time with their family.
In this chapter, Gaskell presents this contrast between a middle class home and a working class home: It was a pleasant thing to be able to lounge over breakfast with a review or newspaper in hand … There were happy family evenings, now that the men of business had time for domestic enjoyments.
There is another side to the picture. There, the family music was hungry wails, when week after week passed by, and there was no work to be had, and consequently no wages to pay for the bread the children cried aloud for in their young impatience of suffering.
Marx and Engels utter that the working class people can live as long as they find work to make the bourgeoisie rich Due to the fact that Carson family own the factory and it is insured, the fire does not damage their wealth. The workers, however, suffer as a result of the devastating effect of fire on their lives.
They cannot even buy bread for their only source of income was the factory they worked. Marx and Engels offer a solution for the slavery of the proletariat in the Manifesto of the Communist Party. They state that the workers must get together against the bourgeoisie, so they must form Trade Unions The same application is seen in the novel: So a petition was framed, and signed by thousands in the bright spring days of , imploring Parliament to hear witnesses who could testify to the unparalleled destitution of the manufacturing districts.
Nottingham, Sheffield, Glasgow, Manchester, and many other towns, were busy appointing delegates to convey this petition, who might speak, not merely of what they had seen, and heard, but from what they had borne and suffered.
Life-worn, gaunt, anxious, hunger-stamped men, were those delegates. Workers get together and evaluate their situation under the capitalist society, which provide them with many solutions for the problems that may cause distress The novel presents the union of the working class with the Chartist movement of This movement is concerned with the demands of the working class who claim to have better rights.
As Hovell argues, the Chartist movement is associated with working class movement and it finds its origins in the industrialised working class This movement suggests that the working class people demand their rights and they struggle to better their lives. Joseph Raynor Stephens, whose name is associated with this movement and New Poor Law, state that the Universal Suffrage means having a good dinner on the table to feed the family, having a coat to protect their health, and having a house to be accommodated in it Surridge The motif of a dying child is what the Chartists speak up inasmuch as a working class father must have a right to protect his family.
His speech is to point out the conditions of the working class and to suggest a political action to change these conditions. The same rhetorical speech is used in the speech of John Barton to Wilson: If I am sick, do they come and nurse me?
If my child lies dying as poor Tom lay, with his white wan lips quivering, for want of better food than I could give him , does the rich man bring the wine or broth that might save his life? Along similar lines, John Barton states that the rich people are not involved in any action to make the lives of workers and their family better.
He utters that the rich do not share their wealth with the people in need even though they have more than they need. Similarly, the Carson family does not help Barton to feed his son, Tom, when he is sick. Surridge argues that John Barton, being one of the appointed delegates, goes to London to present a petition and he says he will speak up about the children dying.
He emphasizes how a child is born into the worst conditions Other than the Chartist petition that is rejected to be listened by the Parliament in the novel, the deputation of the workers meet with the mill owners to argue on the situation of the workers.
The meeting with the bourgeoisie is important as it is stated in the manifesto that the struggle of the working class is a national struggle, so the workers must first settle the problems with the middle class In the novel, there is a meeting with the mill owners.
Nevertheless, let alone agreeing with the concession, the son of the factory owner, Harry Carson, makes fun of the workers. He draws a caricature of the workers while they are presenting their problems in the meeting It makes me more than sad, it makes my heart burn within me, to see that folk can make jest of striving men.
What gets them on the verge of revolting is the caricature that Harry draws of them to make fun of their desperate situations. John Barton underlines that the working class demands a better life with better conditions, yet he emphasizes that they do not pursue the goal of having a luxurious life as the middle class has.
They do not dream of, in other words, expensive houses with all the opportunities within them, yet they desire to have a roof that protects everyone in need of shelter from bad weather conditions.
Therefore, Barton is full of anger and hatred for the bourgeoisie. He utters that the working class is the one considering the poor while the bourgeoisie is the one thinking about their own good and making fun of the poor. Marx and Engels argue that the aim of the communist is to overthrow the bourgeoisie class and make the proletariat powerful Shame upon them! It was taking advantage of their workplace being almost starved; but they would starve entirely rather than come into such terms.
It was bad enough to be poor, while by the labour of their thin hands, the sweat of their brows, the masters were made rich; but they would not be utterly ground down to dust. They would fold their hands and sit idle, and smile at the masters, whom even in death they could baffle. He also criticizes the working class people for not saying anything to the masters since workers are the ones making them rich. The masters, however, are the ones making them poor.
John Barton is aware of these facts and wants a change. As a conclusion, the Victorian period was a time when the lines between the social classes were clear-cut.
After the industrial revolution, the middle class became rich, so they ruled the working class people. The analysis of Mary Barton from a Marxist perspective in parallel to the Manifesto of the Communist Party offers a descriptive account of the difference between the working class and the middle class in the Victorian period. With the employment of the Chartist movement and the union of the workers together with the lifestyle of the middle class people and how they make fun of the misery of the working class people in the novel, the inequality between the two classes is underlined.
John Barton becomes the voice of the working class people inasmuch as he questions everything they experience as a result of the exploitation by the middle class. He is concerned with the indifference the rich people have towards workers who try to survive with their low wages.
Therefore, he criticizes the condition of the working class who work to make the capital and the owners of the capital rich. He states that the workers become poorer even though they work more. Due to the fact that the factories are owned by the middle class, these owners become rich thanks to the labor of the working class. They emphasize that the misery of the working class is the result of the oppression by the middle class and the capitalist system.
This misery, however, must be overcome with the revolt of the workers all over the world, so proletariat will be the ruling class. In the novel, John Barton represents a communist worker who sees the unfairness and inequality for the working class.
Even though Barton dies asking for forgiveness from Mr. Carson at the end, he underlines the condition of the workers in the Victorian period throughout the novel. Therefore, Mary Barton is a novel which implicitly presents the argument of Marx and Engels in the Manifesto of the Communist Party to readers.
Hence, this article contributes to literature inasmuch as it analyzes the class struggle with reference to the Manifesto of the Communist Party which has historical information in it. Therefore, it displays how the historical analysis of Marx and Engels is portrayed within a fictional work. References Berchaoua, R.
Boyer, G. The historical background of the Communist Manifesto. Journalof NarrativeTheory Journalof NarrativeTheory. This content downloaded by the authorized user from Re- cent critical responses to Gaskell's politics stretch over the whole spec- trum of possible assessments: No matterwhere these critics tend to put the emphasis, the common element in all of these readings is an alternatingmovement between radicalismand conservatism.
This difficulty of politicaljudgment is, of course, by no means unique to Gaskell'stext;rather,it appearsto be a necessaryconsequenceof the intersectionof the aestheticand the political. As aestheticand political judgmentsget tangledup with one another,we areremindedthatneither politicsnorthe aestheticis a domainwhereeasyjudgmentsarepossible. WhatmakesMaryBartona ratherinterestingcase is thatits earlierrecep- tion bothbourgeoisandMarxist appearsto be basedpreciselyon the sta- bilityof thesejudgments,whereasmorerecentreadingsall tend eitherex- plicitlyor implicitly to questionthesestabilities.
Thecommonelementin a significantamountof recentreadingsof the novel is the tendencyto evaluateits politicsthrougha reversal: Thisduplicitousap- pearance as both a politicaland aestheticstrategy will be the central focusof my paper. I will use the conceptof the"dissembled dialogue"to accountforboth thepoeticsandthepoliticsof thetext.
I borrowtheconceptof dissembling as a criticaltool for a readingof Gaskell'stext fromDeirdred'Albertis, who arguesthatGaskell's"dissemblingfictions"use severalstrategiesto create a "poeticsof narrativedissimulation" 2: By "dissembleddialogue,"I meansocial communi- cationas performance thatalwaysincludesa certaindegreeof fictional- izationandhas politicalpurposesor consequences. On the level of poet- ics, Gaskell'snoveldefinesthe roleof fictionas a socialdialoguethathas overtlypoliticalaims.
The narrator'sself-fashioningand the directad- dressesto the audiencerepresenta possiblemodelof how the dissembled dialoguefunctionseffectivelyin a given culturalcontext. On the level of politics,andthis is the moredifficultproblemin MaryBarton,the novel arguesfor the need of self-representation as a modeof fictionalizationin orderto be able to enterinto a social dialoguein an effectiveway. My conclusionwill be that Gaskellpresentsthe poetics of dissembleddia- logue as a meansof effectivepoliticalaction.
Gaskell'semphasison the performative uses of dissemblingin politicaldialogueactuallyachievesa certainaestheticization of politics inasmuchas effectivepoliticalactionis necessarily fictionalizedto a degree andalso a politicizationof the aes- thetic inasmuchas fiction,as a modeof dissembling,becomesa public performance witha politicalpurpose.
As I will also argue,the conflation of the two categoriesthroughthe performativedissembleddialogue achievesa certainsuspensionof politicaljudgmentin the text thatmakes it excessivelydifficultto reduceits politicsto clear-cutdefinitions.
Gaskell's novel is very much concerned with the issues of both dia- logue and authority. If we wantedto find a mastertermthat could function as the gravitationalcenter of the novel's ideological concerns, "dialogue" would not be a bad choice. The text is saturatedwith an ideology of dia- logue, both on the level of the representedreality and on the level of aes- thetic communicationas well.
Gaskell's anti-revolutionaryreform novel projects the need of a non-violent social change based on a sympathetic social dialogue. This ideological message, in turn, is communicated throughthe dialogical medium of aestheticexperience which then defines the function of art itself as a means of social dialogue.
On the most prag- matic level of diegesis, this dialogue is figured by Gaskell's "engaging narrator" Warhol that openly addressesits audience;on the level of textual construction,it is inscribedinto the languageof the novel throughits Bakhtiniandialogicity Stone In light of this dialogical This content downloaded by the authorized user from Gaskell's strategy,in other words, is to 'convert' her readersinto making an active contributionshe herself can avoid having to make, precisely by opting to convert others" quoted in Daly vii.
Shar- ratt'simplicationhereis thatthe authoris not actuallydoingwhatshe is preaching. But if heremphasisis not simplyon socialactionbutsocialdi- alogueas action,by writingthe novel she is activelyinvolvedin "action" by initiatinga social dialogue.
The questionthatstill remainsto be an- swered,however,is whatkindof a socialdialogueis beinginitiatedhere andat whatprice. If the novel is effectivein its rhetoricalintention i. As I alreadypointedout, a certainpoliticizationof the aestheticas well as an aestheticizationof the politicaltakesplace: Consequently, the representation of non-representation through the ideologyof dialogueservesas one of the majorauthorizingforcesof the text.
The Bakhtiniandialogizationdescribedby MarjorieStone,the thematicrepresentation of the need for social dialogue,andthe inherent definitionof the pragmaticsof narrationas directsocial communication interactin the creationof narratorialauthority. Theproblemraisedby this definitionof socialdialogueis thatthe par- ties involvedin the interaction needto earnthe right or the authority to participatein it somehow. Gaskell's representationof the working class and of women resembles Marx's insight that those who cannot represent themselves also need to be representedsomehow.
The most explicit for- mulationof this idea occurs in the forewordto the novel: The moreI reflectedon this unhappystate of thingsbe- tweenthoseso boundto eachotherby commoninterests, as the employersandthe employedmusteverbe, themore anxiousI becameto give some utteranceto the agony which,fromtimeto time,convulsesthis dumbpeople;the agony of sufferingwithoutthe sympathyof the happy,or of erroneouslybelieving that such is the case. The need for this representationis justified by a social crisis renderedthroughthe language of sentiments: Thisjudgmentconcentrates solely on the lack of the social dia- logueandrefusesto incriminate explicitlyanyof thepartiesinvolved.
Authority,representation and dialogueare broughttogetherin a lan- guagethatwas not aliento contemporary audiencesat all. As Macdonald Daly argues,thistheoryof socialuniondepictedin the novelwas "theun- ceasing,constantlyself-renewinghistoricalprogrammeof the bourgeois intelligentsia" whichaimedat "reproducing the prevailingcapitalistrela- tions of production" xix. At the timeGaskellwas writinghernovel,the idea of the politicallyneutralizingsocial dialoguewas alreadyappropri- atedforessentiallyconservativepurposes.
As Daly suggests,thetheoryof the "dumbworkingclass"was actuallyused to silence its membersby denyingthemformsof expressionsthatdidnotconformto bourgeoisstan- dards. Thus,the narrator's authorityto speakaboutthe needto neutralize political conflict was sanctionedby a widely availabledominantdis- course.
In the presentcontext,at least,the ideologyof the dialogue initi- atedfromabove is essentiallyan oppressiveideology. Althoughthenovel presentsthe terribleliving conditionsof the workingclass andthe cruel refusalof politicalrepresentation by theupperclasses,in the finalanalysis it falls backuponthe messageof the mutualeducationof the dependent classesin orderto eschewmoreviolentsocialchange.
In this respectit is importantto emphasizethatthe novel neverpresentsthe ideal of public politicalrepresentation of workingclass interests: Carson,JemWilsonand This content downloaded by the authorized user from This politicizationof the pri- vate and consequent sentimentalizationof politics might well be one of the points where Gaskell departsfrom the generally circulating ideology of the social dialogue. In this discussionof the finaldialoguebetweenthe classes,it appears to be necessary to make a distinction between dialogue and dialogism.
The first term, of course, means the linguistic interactionof several parties with alternatingpositions of"speaker"and "listener"--it is something ex- ternalin the sensethatit manifestsitself as an aspectof form;dialogism, in the Bakhtiniansense,however,is internalsince it does not necessarily conform to the formal structureof an actual dialogue-it is only metaphorically a dialogue if we understand the last termin a restricted, formalsense.
As Bakhtinfrequentlyrefersto it, "internaldialogism" manifestsitselfon severallevels,butthe mostbasicof theselayersis that of the lexical. This level providesan excellentcontrastwith the formal, externaldialogue. For Bakhtin,every single word is partlya "foreign word"becauseof this internaldialogism,sinceeverypersonwho uttersa particularword uses it in a unique way that creates a dialogue with other possible uses of that given word, ultimately leading to a complex social stratificationof language.
The dialogue that is inherentin language is not the actualformaldialogue between severalpartiesthat will eventually lead to consensus-it is the constantsilent conflict of the differentpotentialsof languagethat exists only relationally. This significant distinctioncalls attentionto the fact that a formal dia- logue can be essentially ideologically monological and that a formal monologue is also always internallydialogical.
From this point of view, one of the most importantscenes in the novel is precisely the final en- counter between Jem Wilson, Job Leigh and Carson I already referredto above. Gaskell presents an actual dialogue to communicateher message for the need of social dialogue between the differentclasses.
This presen- tationof the dialogue,however,in spiteof the factthatit allowsdifferent sociallanguagesto interact,is ideologicallymonological: Thiscom- plicationof the text recallsPaul de Man'sreadingof Bakhtinwherede Manarguesthatone troublingpointof Bakhtin'stheoryis thathe cannot himself avoid the leap to the monologicalin his formulationof his This content downloaded by the authorized user from Stoneis rightin claimingthatthe polyphonyof the novel createsa constantinteractionof the differentvoices that always questionsunivocalauthority.
Butthe localeof deauthorization lies some- whereelse: As I would like to argue,both contemporary middle-classand later Marxistreadings like thatof RaymondWilliams werebasedon the as- sumptionthatGaskell'sideologicalmessagecanbe reducedto thismono- logical theoryof sympatheticdialogue. But as AudreyJaffeargued,for Gaskellacts of sympathyalso involvean act of fictionalization 58 that complicates this In monologicalinterpretation.
It seemsas if anotherdialoguewerealso goingon. Theearlierread- ings wereall baseduponthe assumption thatGaskell and,consequently, hertheoryof socialdialogueas well wasboundby therestrictions of Vic- torianmorality. Consequently, criticsalso assumedthatthe mosteffective readingstrategy would be to read her throughthe nineteenth-century moralimperativeof veracityandtakeherto be as naiveas the self-repre- sentationsof the narrator wouldleadus to believe.
The inscriptionof the novel, however,a quotationfromCarlyle,asksus the followingquestion: Fur- bankis rightin claimingthat"Mrs. Gaskellis thepoetof deceit" 55 and foolishnessmightturnoutto be only a facade,we entera muchmoresin- ister terrainthat seems to complicatethe simplisticviews of Victorian morality. The narrative'sinvolvementin the politicsput forthwithinthe narrativeitselfmightonlybe accessibleto a narratological readingthatfo- cuses on this lattercomplicationof the fictionalityof the text as deceit.
As JohnBartonis hurryingto the druggist'sshop to procuresome medicineforthe sickBen Davenport,he is struckby the contrastof happy passer-bysand his own grief. As he startscontemplating"thehurrying crowd" 63 of the streets,thenarrator slowlytakesoveranddescribesthe of instability city life in a way that is reminiscentof WalterBenjamin's readingof Baudelaire's Paris,whereBenjamin,writingaboutthe figureof thefldneur,describesthe culturalanxietyaboutthe unknowability of the urbancrowdandthe potentialthreatthis instabilitycreatesthatis epito- mized by the threatof crime.
As Benjaminargues,the rise of physiog- nomic literaturewas to answerthe needsof this anxietyby securingthe readabilityof urbanlife CatherineGallagher'sreadingof the novel makesit clearthata similaranxietyis at the heartof Gaskell'stext as well. Accordingto Gallagher,in MaryBartonGaskellis tornbetween the tenet of moralfree will advocatedby the Unitarianism of the s andtheconstraining forceof socialdeterminism As the latterthe- ory wouldhaveit, peoplearetotallydefinedby theirsocialcircumstances andthereforenot fully responsiblefor theiracts which, in turn,could thenprovidea readablecode forthe interpretation of humancharacter.
Thesearethenarrator's commentson Barton'sthoughts: How do you knowthe wild romancesof theirlives;the trials,the tempta- tions they are even now enduring,resisting,sinkingunder? In this passage,life becomes"elbowing" your way throughthis sinistercrowd,wherethe personalnarratives ro- mances of sin,crimeandvirtuebecomeunreadable. Moreprecisely,com- ing froma strongUnitarianbackground, Gaskellis not questioningthe knowabilityof sin and virtueas such; she is only questioningthe real valueof publicperformances of the self.
Thediscrepancy betweenappear- anceandessenceis whatmakesthesepublicperformances essentiallysus- picious. As the passagealreadyindicates,socialexistenceis muchlike a performance--and in Gaskell'srepresentation, it is a peculiarkindof per- This content downloaded by the authorized user from This theatricalityrepresentslife perfectly since it is life it- self, but simultaneouslyit hides the essence of character.
As Nina Auer- bachconcludesin herPrivateTheatricals: I suggest that the source of the Victorian fears of perfor- mance lay not on the stage, but in the histrionic artifice of ordinarylife.
Playing themselves continually,convinced of the spiritualimportof their lives, Victorianmen and womenvalidatedthoselives withthe sanctionof naturebut fearedthatnaturewas whateverthe volatileself wantedit to be. The theaterwas a visible reminderof the potentialof good men and women to undergoinexplicable changes. Its menace was not its threatto the integrity of sincerity,but the theatricalityof sincerity itself. JohnKucich arguesthat Auer- bach's perceptivereadingis somewhatamiss in that it reduces"conceptual ambivalence"to a "symptomof anxiety or represseddesire" and claims, still acknowledging contemporaryobsession with truth-telling,that the Victorians"valueddeceit much more positively" Lying was seen, variously,as a fundamentalform of resis- tance to social control, as a way to deepen norms of subjec- tive development, as a way to recognize the presence and the force of desire, and [.
Themajordifferencebetweenthesetwo interpretations of Victoriancultureis the differingemphasison agency. In Auerbach's readingtheatricalityis not emphasizedas a consciousstrategyof resis- tance although,neitheris it deniedthe potentialto become resistant This content downloaded by the authorized user from In my definitionof the dissembleddialogue I want to employ both the Victorian"fearof theatricality"and the "powerof lying," since I want to extend the connotationsof lying by understandingit as a performative theatricalitythatis a fictionalizingself-representation.
One of the mostinterestingmanifestations of earlyVictorianpreoccu- pationwiththe theatricality of socialexistenceis to be foundin Carlyle's SartorResartus. ProfessorTeufelsdrdck's "Philosophyof Clothes"is an extendedmeditationon essenceandappearance.
The significanceof this work for my presentreadingof MaryBartonlies in the fact that I see some importantsimilaritiesbetweenCarlyle'sand Gaskell'sattitudeto- wardsocialself-fashioning. In orderto sumup Carlyle'sopinions,I want to quotetwo of ProfessorTeufelsdrick'smaxims. The firstrelatesto the theatricalityof society: HereCarlyledemonstrates his belief in the essentiallyconstructednatureof our social selves.
But, as I wouldliketo argue,forCarlylethe clothingof socialtheatricality hidesan essentialized"real"self. The philosophicalprogramof Carlyle'sGerman professoris preciselytheexcavationof thisrealself frombelowthe social pretences: Perhapsnot once in a lifetimedoes it occurto yourordi- narybiped,of any countryor generation, be he gold-man- tled Princeor russet-jerkined Peasant,thathis Vestments andhis Self arenot one andindivisible;thathe is naked, withoutvestments,till he buy or steal such, andby fore- thoughtsew andbuttonthem.
If the Vestmentsand the Self are not identical,if the sociallyconstructedself andthe Self arenotthe same,we haveto assumethatthe nakedSelf is the realself of the individual. As the professorclaims: If a criticalglanceis capable penetrating pretencesof social institutionsand customs, of the realknowledgecan be achieved. This is why I wouldarguethatCarlyle, similarlyto Gaskell,cannotreallybe calleda "socialconstructivist" since This content downloaded by the authorized user from MaryBartonis a novel thatis very consciousof the significanceof clothing.
Indeed,the attentionpaidto clothingis one way of communicat- ing the social messageof the work. The few instancesof cross-dressing we can find in the text eitheralong genderlines or class are used by Gaskellto foreground the necessarytheatricality of Victorianculture. The first act of cross-dressing, presentedin the comicalmode, occursin Job Leigh'sstoryof his only visit to London-a storythatis intendedto dis- tractthe listeners'attentionfromJohnBarton'shumiliating politicalexpe- riencein the samecity.
Thisjuxtapositionof politicalrepresentation and its failure andthe self-representation withinthe privatesphereis a gen- eralpatternin Gaskell'snovel. Indeed,as we will see lateron, the power of effectiveself-representation is genderedby Gaskell: In this scene,whichis arguablyGaskell'srepresentation of the failureof the Chartistpetitions,JohnBartonreturnsfromLondonutterly devastatedby the humiliatingexperience: In his narrative of the failureof politicalrepresentation, Bartonexplicitlydis- cusses the contrastbetweenthe workersandthe Londonhigh-societyin termsof theirappearance: The description of the workers is withthe luxuryof thencontrasted the Londonupperclass, andas Bartonlets us know,althoughhe was de- nied the possibilityto see the realQueen,just abouteverysingleladyhe saw in the streetslookedlikethe Queento him.
The storythrownin by Job Leigh to divertattentionfrom Barton's gloomy forebodingsis similarlya tripto the capital. As Job Leigh and Jenningsareon theirway backfromthe capitalto takehomethe mother- less littleMargaret,Jenningshas the ideathatthe way to pacifythe little babywouldbe to weara woman'snightcap Thistrickis not really successful,but the scene foreshadowsa moreimportantscene,AuntEs- ther'svisit to Mary,wherecross-dressing acrossclass-linesbecomesthe meansof assumingmaternalauthority.
Beinga prostitute,AuntEsther,the fallen woman,does not have the authorityto participatein certaindia- This content downloaded by the authorized user from JohnBartonsimplyrefusesto listento her in spiteof the factthat she only wantsto save Mary andthe encounteronly landsherin prison.
Her next choice is Jem Wilson,who is finallywilling to listen to her, whichencouragesEstherto tryto seekoutMarywhenshe findsthepiece of evidencethatcouldtakethepoliceto Mary'sfather. In orderto be able to enterinto a dialoguewiththe girl,however,Estherhas to hide her so- cial identity the prostitute and dresses as a mechanic'swife Mary'sfirst reactionto the visitoris that she mistakesher for her own mother orherghost andfaints Esther'scross-dressingis importantbecauseit providesa very clear exampleof the "dissembleddialogue.
The only way she can enterandremainin the dia- logue is by performinga self to meetthe demandsof the social expecta- tions aboutpossibledialogues. A decentgirl cannothavea dialoguewith a prostitute-thisparticular dialogue,amongothers,is culturallyencoded as impossible,so Estherhasto changehersocialself. As DeborahEpstein Nord comments: In Gaskell'sdepiction,however, Estherdoes havea realself thatis noneof hersociallyconstructedselves.
Herreal self is a loving,maternalone. Using Carlyle'sterms,the prosti- tuteandthe mechanic'swife arejust Vestmentsthathidethe realself. Es- theruses the disguiseof the respectablewomanas a performance in order to be able articulatethe concernsof herrealself. Hermaingoal with the visit to Estheris to act as a mothersurrogateforthe girl. Shewantsto ex- pressherrealself thatis deniedto herby hersocialroleas a prostitute,so she assumesanothersocialidentitywhich,on the level of appearances, is still at oddswithherrealself "itwas necessarythatshe shouldputon an indifferencefar distantfrom her heart".
Even thoughthe "me- chanic'swife"is neitherherrealself a lovingmother norherusualsocial self prostitute , Esthercanuse thisperformance effectivelyto achieveher aims. As the figureof the feminineVictorian fldneur,theprostitutewitha mother'sheart,Estheris one of the most effectiveplottersof the whole novel. Similarto the familydramaof the Bartons',politicaldialogueas the This content downloaded by the authorized user from Here the text seems to sug- gest that the workers failed in what Aunt Estherexcelled at.
The contrast of this failure and Aunt Esther'ssuccess is an attemptto displace effective political action from overt male potentiallyviolent political action to the covert sphereof maternal influencethat is encoded in Victorianideology of the separatespheres as feminine. The workers are not capable of dis- sembled dialogue-they cannot representthemselves in a way that would secure them entry into a dialogue and consequently would secure them representation.
These are the narrator'scomments about the representa- tives: In choosingtheir delegates,too, the operativeshad had moreregardfor theirbrains,andpowerof speech,thanto theirwardrobes;theymighthavereadthe opinionsof that worthyProfessorTeufelsdr6ck,in "SartorResartus,"to judge fromthe dilapidatedcoats and trousers,which yet clothedmenof partsandof power. It was long sincemany of themhadknowntheluxuryof a new articleof dress;and air-gapswere to be seen in theirgarments. Some of the masterswereratheraffrontedat sucha raggeddetachment comingbetweenthewindandtheirnobility;butwhatcared they?
Pure appearancedoes not necessarily incite the kind of sym- pathy that would ensure political representation. In this scene, the percep- tion of the workersis caughtbetween insult and ridicule. Obviously,none of these earns them the right to enter into an asymmetrical,hierarchized dialogue as equal partners. In orderto be able to do so, the workerswould have had to representthemselves as "less threatening"to the middle-class. This sartorialfailure to performa self that is accepted by the more privi- leged party of the dialogue costs the workers all possibility to represent their interests.
In one of the rathermemorablescenes of the novel, during this meeting Harry Carson, amused by the appearanceof the delegates, draws a caricatureof the workers.
The mirth occasioned by this little This content downloaded by the authorized user from When Barton shows the caricatureto the other members of the delegate, the effects are disastrous: