Looking for an *excellent* Industrial Revolution movie? Look no further than North & South, now playing on Netflix! With these North and South worksheets, you'll easily be able to assess your students' mastery of key plot points and real industrial revolutions problems/conditions.
ABOUT THE TV MINISERIES NORTH & SOUTH
(This is the BBC North & South, all about industrialization, *not* the American Civil War miniseries also called North and South)
North & South is a 2004 BBC television production that brings to vivid life Elizabeth Gaskell’s novel of the same name. As such, it is an excellent portrayal of the Industrial Revolution, taking viewers inside not only a working cotton mill in approximately 1850, but also showcasing in detail the living and working conditions that textile workers experienced in northern England at this time.
As the title indicates, the movie also delves into conditions in the still-agricultural South at this time, which makes the movie ideal for demonstrating the stark difference in English life that resulted from industrialization. It also makes an excellent tie-in to teaching the Romantics as a reaction against industrialization in favor of the beautiful, green landscapes characterizing the non-industrialized South at this time.
Before I found North & South, I couldn’t come up with a good movie to illustrate this key period. As soon as I first saw it, I knew my long search was over. The movie has a romantic frame plot that is hugely engaging for high school students -- they enter into the plot emotionally and literally moan, groan, and cheer as the protagonists suffer through the trials of falling in love. And because the students are so engaged and interested, they really pay attention! That means they absorb a lot of wonderful historical detail, including:
The challenges inherent in forming an early union
The suffering and dynamics associated with strikes
The problems encountered by manufacturers, too
The values and morals of Victorian society
The difficulties ordinary people experience with market forces in action as capitalism takes full sway of the economy
Dreadful living conditions in crowded industrial cities
The reality of working in a cotton mill, including the use of child labor, what happens when a worker falls ill, and the likelihood of fires
About the only drawback I have found to using North & South in class is that the full movie lasts four hours (it was a TV miniseries). Given the wealth of useful history it presents, however, I consider it four hours very well spent.
WHAT THIS NORTH & SOUTH MOVIE GUIDE CONTAINS
--4 detailed North & South worksheets for students to complete as they watch the movie (all questions are in movie order) or afterwards as a North & South Test or North & South Quiz
------ All worksheets are multiple choice so they are quick and easy for teachers and students to correct
------There are 42 multiple choice questions about Episode 1 of the miniseries; 47 multiple choice questions about Episode 2; 34 multiple choice questions about Episode 3, and 34 multiple choice questions about Episode 4 -- over 140 multiple choice questions in all!
--Answer key for each multiple choice North & South Worksheet
--Three essay topics to help students synthesize key information after viewing the entire movie
--Prepared essay assignment / project assignment sheets to pass out to students
--Nine example student essays with scores provided to help students identify quality work / help teachers grade essays
WHERE TO FIND NORTH & SOUTH ONLINE
The miniseries has been on Netflix for several years, now. (And is *is* very compelling -- when the final minutes roll, I've even had students declare that they were going to immediately watch the entire thing again on their own because it was just that good!)
It can also sometimes be found elsewhere via a Google search.
Please note: to match this teaching packet, you need the 2004 version starring Richard Armitage. (There is an earlier production starring Patrick Stewart, but it is based on a highly abridged version of the novel and in my opinion is much, much less compelling as a story).
ABOUT THE NOVEL, NORTH & SOUTH
Elizabeth Gaskell is regarded by many literary critics as second only to Charles Dickens in her masterful and accurate portrayals of industrial conditions in England during the 1800s. As such, North & South falls squarely into the school of realist literature. Interestingly, it was actually edited by Charles Dickens himself, appearing in Household Words, a magazine half-owned by Dickens.
North & South was originally published in the same manner as most of Dickens’ novels -- as regular serialized installments, one chapter at a time. Because it’s from the mid-1800s, though, the work has now passed into the public domain. Teachers who wish to augment their movie study with portions of the novel can find it here:
As always, happy teaching!