Department Chair

Dr. Ralph L. Wahlstrom, Associate Professor of English

Date of Award


Access Control

Open Access

Degree Name

English, M.A.


English Department


Karen Sands-O'Connor, Ph.D., Associate Professor of English

Department Home page

First Reader

Karen Sands-O'Connor, Ph.D., Associate Professor of English

Second Reader

Lisa Berglund, Ph.D, Ph.D., Associate Professor of English



One of the results of the industrialization of Victorian England was a further straining of the relationship between the rich and poor. This was evidenced by events such as the Preston Strike, a prolonged labor battle between the workers and the masters of the cotton mills. Charles Dickens’s periodical Household Words covered the strike on two occasions, with Dickens himself writing the second article on the event. An attempt to bridge this cultural divide between the classes was undertaken by Elizabeth Gaskell in North and South, a novel that first appeared in Household Words and by Dickens himself in his novel Hard Times. While both novels focus on interior domestic spaces, their intended results are dramatically different. Elizabeth Gaskell uses interior space in North and South to defend English Paternalism by asking for increased sympathy for both master and worker, while Dickens uses interior space in Hard Times as a metaphor for the tyranny of Utilitarianism and to criticize the idea of mastery.