Alyssa Volivar | The Milton Herald

The Milton Herald

For the prettier (and actually readable version), the pdf is here.

(I know my remediation is massive, but the important part is just the left-hand side about the strike. I wrote the fluff, immigration, and theft ones just for fun because I thought the front-page of a newspaper would look kind of pathetic with just one story on it. So you can ignore those, really.)

I chose to focus on the strike from North and South. My initial idea was to turn the strike scene into a story on the front page of the newspaper because the event itself seemed very newsworthy. But as I began to do the project, I realized that the narration of the actual strike is very biased towards the relationship between Thornton and Margaret. The dialogue between Thornton and the rioters was little, and the few quotes there were were more about not throwing things or hiring Irish men. In actuality, everything that detailed what actually caused it was told through other scenes with Boucher, Bessy and Nicholas Higgins, and a few brief comments by these same characters the day after the strike. To me, that seemed more logical to have in a newspaper. The problem with that, however, was that these were quotes strung throughout the first-half of the novel (I wanted to keep the timeline as consistent as possible so, no quotes about the riot from the latter half of the book). So in order to create what I thought was a more substantial news story that would be fitting for a newspaper, I took quotes from these characters and crafted them into the second little story. I also made a conscious decision not to have any quotes from Thornton in that latter story because of that scene in the novel where he commented that information about wages weren’t for everyone and that his workers didn’t need to know. Considering newspapers are accessible to pretty much everyone, talking to a reporter about that seemed like something that Thornton wouldn’t have done.

This was, however, a remediation exercise in which you asked us to pick a specific small chunk of text to translate, which resulted in the top story about Margaret. The specific chunk of text that I chose was:

“A clog whizzed through the air. Margaret’s fascinated eyes watched its progress; it missed its aim, and she turned sick with affright, but changed not her position, only hid her face on Mr. Thornton’s arm. Then she turned and spoke again: ‘For God’s sake! do not damage your cause by this violence. You do not know what you are doing.’ She strove to make her words distinct. A sharp pebble flew by her, grazing her forehead and cheek, and drawing a blinding sheet of light before her eyes. She lay like on dead on Mr. Thornton’s shoulder.” (179)

As I mentioned, the novel didn’t focus on the mob and the wages in those few pages; rather it was focused on the love plot. That became difficult to portray in the news story, however, because I tried to think about how the characters would react to someone wanting to interview them about what had happened. I figured: Margaret would have high-tailed it out of there as fast as possible, Fanny and Mrs. Thornton would probably be flattered at being asked to give information, and Thornton would probably do so just to appear as if he hadn’t been frazzled by all of the commotion. Parts of my story quoted the novel’s text, but the real struggle was piecing it together in a coherent way and incorporating the characters in a way that fitted their personality. I also realized I couldn’t comment on romance because I’m sure none of these characters would have acknowledged it right then and there, and I think the strikers would have been too caught up in other things to have really come to that conclusion. Also, like Bessy said later, they thought that it was Thornton’s sister, not Margaret. I also specifically did not include quotes from the workers because I figured most of them wouldn’t want to come public with their names after the news that a woman was hit at the strike; it’d look bad.

As forms, doing a newspaper was much harder because in journalism, it’s always ideal to have multiple sources and to explore reasons and full stories, which was difficult to find in one small chunk of text. It required piecing together different parts of the novel to explain the gist of something into a single, smaller story. I also had to consider how and which characters would respond to reporters, and what details a newspaper might care about and find newsworthy. In this form, the reader is limited to the amount of information that a reporter can get from a source, whereas in the novel you can have narration that comes from a character’s inner mind that wouldn’t necessarily be revealed to someone asking for information.

All in all, I had a lot of fun doing this. I wanted to be as accurate as possible in everything, including how much the paper would cost, and I discovered that the Daily Mail was printed in 1855 at a cost of 2d. The problem came when I had no idea what 2d was and then read a lot about how Victorian money worked so I got sucked into reading about Victorian currency which was fun.

Anyhow, this is many more words than you asked for, but I enjoyed this project and I hope you enjoy what I made of it. Cheers.