The Victorian novel Mary Barton offers a peek at working class life in Manchester, England. The title character struggles throughout the novel, losing her mother in childbirth, having to work challenging jobs and having to decide between Jem, the man who loves her, and Harry, the wealthy son of the local mill owner. The novel questions the role of women in Victorian society, as the female characters have the option of getting married or living alone, and becoming prostitutes, like Mary's aunt, Esther.

Summary of Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell

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