Thursday, September 9, 2010

A Character - Mr. Edward Carter

I've never been able to fully emerge myself in Elizabeth Gaskell's writing, but I love her stories and characters. I think they excel when adapted to the screen. The jerkiness and narrow description (or just weirdness) of characters smooths out on film.
I'm not saying I don't like Gaskell's work, I really do, but I just don't love her style.

She has given me some of my true all time favorite characters. Jessie Brown, Mrs. Thorton, Miss Matty, Molly Gibson, Nicholas Higgins, Lady Ludlow, Miss Galindo, and others are immortal in my imagination.
Two of my all time favorite heroes are her creations. The amazing Mr. John Thorton and Mr. Edward Carter. Everyone knows how awesome Mr. Thorton is, so this post is for Mr. Carter. :-)

What makes Gaskell's characters and stories stick out to me is their complexity. You can love a gazillion characters and be siding with them all, even though they are all siding against each other.
They might struggle with reassurance, but they are acting on what they believe to be right. They are taking a stand for something. They deal with real life problems and it's hard.

Mr. Carter is compassionate but tough.
He's loyal (even to crabby people:-).
He'll tell the truth even when it costs him.
He's willing to give great personal sacrifice to help others, even if he can't trust them or knows there will be no sort of return.

Basically, he's so awesome, yet believable.

With Lady Ludlow.
(One of the aforesaid difficult people to work with.)

With Harry.
This part is so sad.

With one of the pretties, sweetest bouquets of all time.

With Miss Galindo.

With Miss Galindo again...
Just because that is where he should be.

With Captain Brown.
No! Turn around!

With Miss Galindo.
Writing his will. One of the sweetest, saddest scenes of all time.

With Harry, Miss Matty, Deborah, and Miss Pole.

There is a relatively nice "tribute video" you can see here. I would have posted it, but I thought the end seemed sort of lame and trivial given the caliber of the character.

If you haven't explored Elizabeth Gaskell, you should! Wives and Daughters, Cranford, Return to Cranford, and North and South are all amazing period dramas.

I always enjoy trying to think through why I like a character so much
or why someone is just plain awesome. I consider it a great study for my writing. ;-)

Thanks for reading,
Miss Pickwickian


KatySue Pillsbury said...

I love Mr. Carter! I've seen the movie a lot, but still get very agitated when he dies!

Rosanne E. Lortz said...

I agree that the Gaskell movies are better than the books! I read North and South after watching the movie and had the very odd sensation of thinking that the film really outshone the book (usually, it's the other way around).

Miss Pickwickian said...


Agreed. Most of the time movies are a poor reflexion, but I was extremely disappointed with the book "North and South" after watching the movie.

Miss Rose said...

I just recently finished Ruth by Elizabeth was VERY different from her other works...

Btw... I just can't get over how OLD Mr. Carter and Captain Wentworth are :) Good thing we're not neighbors!

Miss Pickwickian said...

You'll have to tell me about it.

(Dripping with sarcasm, if you didn't catch that.)
You'd better believe it.

But I will see you on Sunday...mwhahahaha!

Yeah...good think we're not neighbors. I'm going to have to think of some things to make use of this fact.


Hattie Felton said...

Oh, I'll definitely have to look into Elizabeth Gaskell! Your descriptions and the pictures are wonderful!

~ Hattie

Jubilant Wife said...

I've read Wives and Daughters and North and South, and really want to read Cranford... but the only copy I've found so far was abridged... still working on that.