Here the main protagonist, Ruth Hilton, is shown posing humbly, but perhaps less innocently than personally believed. “She was really not aware of the falseness of this conduct; being an adept in that species of sophistry with which people persuade themselves that what they wish to do is right” (Gaskell, I). The author’s veracious meaning demonstrates a significant ideal held by many religious folk of her time. Many of the upper-class citizens like Mr. Bellingham tended to be condescending of the lower classes. And while increas-ingly hypocritical when considering their Christian beliefs, few of the rich cared to treat the poor as anything but human beings. A bluntly pious remark is given later on as well.

Gaskell’s interestingly enough presents a blatant portent of events to come. “My dear, remember the devil goeth about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour; remember that, Ruth” (Gaskell, IV). Pulling verses straight from the Bible, the author creates a feeling of sublimity that leaves her readers wondering what will become of poor, naïve Ruth. I think by using direct text Gaskell is trying to show the seriousness of Ruth’s improper behavior because during the mid-eighteenth century several women were becoming disgusted with the typical behavior of young women. I also believe that this novel reveals an unwanted, but fated end to the purity of womanhood while also representing the innate inferiority of the female sex to assert herself. By simply seeking an adventurous lifestyle, as opposed to the accepted norms of many wives’ monotonous schedules, teenage girls like Ruth were subjected to a ridiculous amount of cruel treatment by men via manipulation. In a lot of ways though, this idea of manliness as the dominant force in a hierarchal society of religiously judgmental people is nothing new; when was the last time you heard about someone being targeted by a religious organization for just affiliating with particular groups?



I can only hope that by reading literature such as Gaskell’s, and other writers like her, people will cease unfair conduct toward one another. But I realize this will most likely not happen any time soon, especially with how speed-oriented society is nowadays. Searching for answers is the last thing twenty-first people want to spend their time doing. Maybe the more people become educated the less our world will suffer from squalid personalities and unjust ideologies like classism or racism. Myself considered, I know that by continually challenging my beliefs and those around me, an eclectic mind frame will be the harvest of such tedious endeavors, and with that mentality I believe the world has a chance for survival.