Group Response to Cranford IV

Elizabeth Gaskell does a wonderful job of making boring tasks and activities exciting to read about. When I reflected on this installment I realized I had just read two chapters about the ladies of Cranford worrying about the etiquette of parties.  If I had known that was the content of this installment I would have prepared myself for a boring, tedious read.  I am continually surprised at how charmed and entertained I am by the ladies of Cranford engaging in mundane tasks.

Part of my amusement is a result of the sheer absurdity of topics the ladies get worried about. In this installment, Miss Pole extensively explains her reasoning for accepting an invitation to Mrs. Jamieson’s party (Gaskell 125). I think it is hilarious the extent that the woman of Cranford worry about trivial things, but I wondered if Victorian readers would feel the same way. I hope that these situations were written with humorous intent, but would readers in the Victorian era laugh at these situations or relate to them? Maybe they would find humor in the situations because of how they could relate to them.

I feel as though I am becoming familiar with characters in Cranford and I look forward to their absurd reactions to mundane things. The familiarity of the characters is something I look forward to each time I read an installment of Cranford. I can see how serial readings like Cranford are quite comparable to TV series of the modern era. There is something reassuring about serial installments, because the reader knows what characters to expect. I can imagine that readers in the Victorian time would have favorite characters or installments just like many people have favorite characters or episodes of favorite TV shows.   I’m thoroughly enjoying reading in installments because each installment has the unknown element of a new plot  but the constant of familiar characters.

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