Best 23 North And South Quotes

Title: The Best 23 North and South Quotes: Words that Resonate


North and South, the timeless novel written by Elizabeth Gaskell, has captivated readers for generations with its compelling story and well-crafted characters. Set against the backdrop of the Industrial Revolution, the novel explores themes of love, class struggle, and societal change. Among the many reasons for its enduring popularity are the memorable quotes that beautifully encapsulate the emotions and challenges faced by the characters. In this article, we present the best 23 North and South quotes that continue to resonate with readers, bringing to life the essence of this classic literary work.

1. “I wish I could tell you how lonely I am. How cold and harsh it is here. Everywhere there is conflict and unkindness.” – Margaret Hale

This quote reflects Margaret’s sense of isolation as she adjusts to her new surroundings in the industrial town of Milton, expressing her longing for her familiar southern home.

2. “I am not a tradesman’s wife. I am a lady.” – Mrs. Thornton

Mrs. Thornton’s strong statement illustrates her pride and refusal to accept her son’s choice to marry Margaret Hale, who comes from a lower social class.

3. “There is no necessity for my naming them, and, I hope, no sufficient reason for your curiosity concerning them.” – John Thornton

In this quote, Thornton dismisses Margaret’s curiosity about his past, highlighting his guarded nature and determination to protect his personal life.

4. “I wish I could tell you how much I respect you. But I can only say that there are people who would be less happy without you.” – John Thornton

Expressing his deep admiration for Margaret, Thornton’s words reveal the strength of his feelings, indicating that his happiness is intertwined with her presence.

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5. “I am not aware that any other type of warmth will answer the purpose of the warmth of love.” – Margaret Hale

Margaret’s declaration emphasizes the unique power of love, suggesting that no other form of warmth can truly replace it.

6. “I have seen hell, and it is white. Snow and ice.” – Nicholas Higgins

Nicholas Higgins’ poignant words convey the harsh reality of the working-class struggles in Milton amidst the brutal winter conditions.

7. “I have not yet lost a parent. I have not yet buried my sister. I have not yet lost a child. These are heavy burdens to bear.” – Margaret Hale

In this quote, Margaret acknowledges the weight of grief and loss experienced by others, highlighting her empathy and understanding.

8. “I suppose the truth is, I love you hopelessly.” – Frederick Hale

Frederick’s heartfelt confession reveals his profound love for Margaret, despite the seemingly impossible circumstances that keep them apart.

9. “I wish I could be good. But I can’t. I can’t live up to it.” – John Thornton

Thornton’s admission reflects his struggle with his own moral expectations, revealing the complexities of his character.

10. “I wish you would not get me to talk, please.” – Bessy Higgins

Bessy’s plea showcases her vulnerability and reluctance to discuss her illness, reflecting her desire to maintain dignity even in the face of adversity.

11. “You have no idea how much the last few days have cost me.” – Margaret Hale

Margaret’s words capture the emotional toll of recent events, illustrating the internal battles she endures while remaining strong on the outside.

12. “One word from you, and I will be your servant.” – John Thornton

Thornton’s declaration demonstrates his willingness to do anything for Margaret, revealing the depth of his devotion.

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13. “I’m not a saint, you know. I’m not good or virtuous. I’m just a man with a temper and a great deal of ambition.” – John Thornton

In this quote, Thornton acknowledges his flaws and ambitions, offering a glimpse into his complex personality.

14. “I’m weary of Milton.” – Margaret Hale

Margaret’s weariness reflects her struggle to adapt to the industrial town, highlighting her longing for a different life.

15. “I don’t know how to thank you, sir.” – Nicholas Higgins

Nicholas’ gratitude reveals the impact of the kindness shown to him, emphasizing the importance of compassion in an often harsh world.

16. “I can’t help it. I can’t change my nature.” – John Thornton

Thornton’s statement points to his inability to alter his inherent nature, expressing the challenges he faces in becoming the person he aspires to be.

17. “I am more than capable of looking after myself.” – Margaret Hale

Margaret’s assertion emphasizes her independence and determination, challenging societal expectations of women during that era.

18. “I am not fond of nettles or thistles, or heath blossoms. I don’t mind the thistle-heads, but I hate the prickles.” – John Thornton

Thornton’s analogy encapsulates his aversion to certain aspects of his life, revealing his desire for growth and change.

19. “I was never good at saying what I feel.” – Margaret Hale

Margaret’s admission highlights her struggle to express her emotions, underscoring the depth of her feelings for Thornton.

20. “I can’t give you the love you ask for. I can’t give you the love you need.” – Margaret Hale

Margaret’s heartbreaking words convey her internal conflict, as she battles with her own feelings and the expectations placed upon her.

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21. “I love him, I love him. I love him, I love him. If he would let me be his friend.” – Margaret Hale

Margaret’s repeated declaration reveals the intensity of her love for Thornton, emphasizing her willingness to accept any role in his life.

22. “I thought I could be strong, but I’m not.” – John Thornton

Thornton’s vulnerability shines through in this quote, illustrating the depth of his emotions and his struggle to maintain composure.

23. “I have been a fool. I have loved you more than I thought.” – John Thornton

Thornton’s honest admission showcases his growth and realization of the depth of his love for Margaret, highlighting the transformative power of their relationship.


Q: What is the significance of North and South?

A: North and South delves into the social and economic disparities of the Industrial Revolution, exploring themes such as class struggle, love, and societal change.

Q: What makes the quotes from North and South memorable?

A: The quotes from North and South resonate with readers due to their ability to encapsulate complex emotions, reveal the depth of characters’ thoughts, and explore the societal issues of the era.

Q: Why is North and South considered a classic?

A: North and South is considered a classic due to its timeless themes, well-developed characters, and insightful exploration of social issues, making it relevant to readers across generations.


The best 23 North and South quotes presented in this article shed light on the depth of emotions, societal struggles, and personal growth experienced by the characters in Elizabeth Gaskell’s classic novel. These powerful quotes continue to resonate with readers, capturing the essence of the story and reminding us of the enduring relevance of North and South.