349 – Existential Blues


Mother, knitter, spinner, writer, wife, weaver, host...not necessarily in that order...

8 Responses

  1. Pam says:

    I don’t understand Mr and Mrs Hale. I agree that they disregard Margaret. But I think they are equally self centered when they talk about Fredrick. they believe him to be innocent but know he would be executed if he returned to England but the send word for him to return to see his dying mother. It seems to me she would want to keep him safe.

  2. Pam says:

    You spoke of the Hale’s disregard for Margaret. I thank they are equally self centered when they talk of Fredrick. If they think he is innocent but could be executed by coming home. Why would Mrs. Hale insist on seeing him and Mr. Hale think it acceptable. Very self centered indeed.

  3. Anita says:

    I just finished this episode last night and have been moved to make my first comment on the website. I have to object strongly to the comments about Mrs Hale at the beginning of the episode. Sure she is acting childish and saying things that are unpleasant, but I don’t think we should assume that this is how she always has been. I remember when my mother had cancer and was suddenly helpless, weak, dependent on others for all her needs and in constant pain, it really took a toll on her. Many aspects of this part of the story have really taken me back to that time of caring for my mother and I have to say that her dialogue has a real ring of truth to it. Remember that before she was in charge of a household, teaching the village children, and otherwise being out and about and now her whole day is moving from a sofa to a waterbed and back. She didn’t whine quite so much to Margaret until Margaret insisted that she be more involved. I don’t fully forgive her comments, but I think I have more sympathy than you and MamaG(?) expressed at the beginning of the episode.

    Second, I was really struck by Mr Higgins’ story of when he was starting to speak of a strike among the other workers at his factory. It shows the level of respect and influence among his peers he had that the master pulled him aside not just to reprimand him but to try (if in the worst pedagogical style ever) to teach him about the reasons why the wages weren’t going to go up. To me that implies that the factory owner recognizes that if he can convince Higgins, maybe he can prevent the strike.

    • Heather says:

      I think you’re comments are right on–and completely borne out by the rest of the book!

      And I also think that your personal history must be somewhat similar to something that Elizabeth Gaskill went through as well, too. What she does here is very subtle and very important to notice–and I’m glad that you wrote in about it.
      Thank you!

  4. Jen says:

    At the end, you talked about the differences in perspective between the masters and the hands.

    The thought/question that’s been sticking in the back of my mind this whole time is– if Thornton did start from the bottom and rise up to become a master, how is it that he, and his mother, for that matter, have forgotten where the workers are coming from with respect to fair wages and working conditions? I would think that Thornton would have had to deal with these issues when he went off to be the breadwinner in his own family after his father’s suicide.

    The other thing that is that Fanny must have been really young when their father died, because I don’t get the impression that she remembers when times for the family were very bad.

    Like I said, some things that has been simmering in the back of my mind while listening along each week.

    • Heather says:

      Hey Jen,
      I’d been thinking about that a lot myself and I have two tentative conclusions:
      1) Thornton never worked in a factory. He was apprenticed (if I recall correctly) to a tailor (?) I think. So his work would have been both more gainful and less physically demanding.
      It also took a good bit of education/promise on the part of the apprentice.
      2) I don’t think his Mother was “born to” a life of trouble, so she must have been all too happy to leave a world of privation behind and get back to her “proper” level.

      And I’m 100% with you. I can’t imagine Fanny was more than a baby when her father passed away. She just doesn’t seem to “get it” at all.

  5. Gretchen says:

    I wanted you to know that Tom Knisely, author of your raffle prize, “Weaving Rag Rugs”, teaches at The Mannings. That is a fiber shop in Pennsylvania you NEED to visit. It is west of York, and is a wonderful shop full to the brim with looms, wheels, yarns and fiber.
    I hope you will love Pennsylvania, my family is from Lancaster, and it is always a joy to visit.

  6. Deniseinchina says:

    Hi, I am still here in Beijing listening !
    I just need to add if you have not watched the NO GO video, do it now.
    The art director Paul Stallings grew up in our Beijing neighborhood and is best friends with one of my daughters.
    I feel like a second Mom to him and couldn’t be more proud. What fun to see the world enjoy his talent.
    Heather hope you feel settled soon!

    • Heather says:

      I found this of Stallings–is that him?!
      HE IS A BABY!!!
      I’m sure he’ll be thrilled to have me say that publicly and all.