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PSYCHOLOGICAL INTERPRETATIONS OF WUTHERING HEIGHTS Emily Bronte

Psychological analyses of Wuthering Heights abound as critics apply modern psychological theories to the characters and their relationships,
A FREUDIAN INTERPRETATION

The most common psychological readings are Freudian interpretations. Typical of Freudian readings of the novel is Linda Gold's interpretation. She sees in the symbiosis of Catherine, Heathcliff, and Edgar the relationship of Freud's id, ego, and superego. At a psychological level, they merge into one personality with Heathcliff's image of the three of them buried (the unconscious) in what is essentially one coffin. Heathcliff, the id, expresses the most primitive drives (like sex), seeks pleasure, and avoids pain; the id is not affected by time and remains in the unconscious (appropriately, Heathcliff's origins are unknown, he is dark, he runs wild and is primitive as a child, and his three year absence remains a mystery). Catherine, the ego, relates to other people and society, tests the impulses of the id against reality, and controls the energetic id until there is a reasonable chance of its urges being fulfilled. Edgar, the superego, represents the rules of proper behavior and morality inculcated by teachers, family, and society; he is civilized and cultured. As conscience, he compels Catherine to choose between Heathcliff and himself. In Freud's analysis, the ego must be male to deal successfully with the world; to survive, a female ego would have to live through males. This Catherine does by identifying egotistically with Heathcliff and Edgar, according to Gold. Catherine rejects Heathcliff because a realistic assessment of her future with him makes clear the material and social advantages of marrying Edgar and the degradation of yielding to her unconscious self. Her stay at Thrushcross Grange occurs at a crucial stage in her development; she is moving through puberty toward womanhood. She expects Edgar to accept Heathcliff in their household and to raise him from his degraded state; this would result in the integration of the disparate parts of her personality–id, ego, and superego–into one unified personality. Confronted by the hopelessness of psychological integration or wholeness and agonized by her fragmentation, she dies. Gold carries her Freudian scrutiny to the second generation; the whole history of both generations of Earnshaws, Lintons, and Heathcliffs may be read as the development of one personality, beginning with Catherine Earnshaw and ending with Catherine Linton Heathcliff Earnshaw. The second Cathy has assimilated and consolidated the id/Heathcliff and the superego/Edgar through marriages with Hareton and Linton.
JUNGIAN INTERPRETATIONS

Jungian readings also interpret the relationship of Catherine and Heathcliff as aspects of one person; those aspects may be the archetype of the shadow and the individual or the archetypes of the animus/anima and the persona. These interpretations are derived from Jung's distinction between the collective unconscious and the personal unconscious. The collective unconscious is

for whom Heathcliff is the animus. Catherine's "I am Heathcliff" speech and Heathcliff's references to Catherine as his soul and his life. which includes a transcendent part. the anima represents the female traits that a man's persona lacks. and the anima. The content of the collective unconscious is mainly archetypes.. the woman. Jung says. in her . In the personal unconscious. almost magical. in which material is stored that was once conscious but has been forgotten or repressed. But Heathcliff. then. and belonging. The archetypes may find expression in myth and fairy tales. The element of transcendence in the projection is expressed in Catherine's vision of something. In the collective unconscious. status. as archetypes. The animus is the archetype that completes women. love. For Catherine. the shadow. Every human being also has a personal unconscious. with his vindictiveness. seems autonomous because uncontrollable. and the transcendent anima/animus. it contains the male qualities which the female persona lacks. and universal. a triad arises. command. Now to apply Jung's theory to Catherine. The relationship of the anima/animus to the individual is always emotional and has its own dynamic. this soul-image may be transferred to a real person who naturally becomes the object of intense feeling. it is invariably a question of a projected soul-image." When a man projects his anima onto a real women or a woman projects her animus onto a man. that is. impersonal. Catherine is beauty. some life. relationship exists between the sexes. She rejects this part of herself by marrying Edgar. and it is female. The individual is rarely aware of his anima/her animus. Heathcliff expresses anger and hostility. Cathy's efforts to integrate Heathcliff into her life with Edgar are doomed. The shadow. generally the ability to form relationships and be related. and hence becomes obsessive or possessive. feelings. Heathcliff. for whom Catherine is the anima. irresponsibility. The triad consists of the man. thereby explaining Heathcliff's mysterious disappearance. For Heathcliff. The animus generally represents reflection. others are the same in all societies and times. the anima and animus are impersonal forces. the shadow consists of those desires. perhaps for emotional or for moral reasons. his sullenness. because. The projection of their soul-images explains their profound sense of connection or identity with each other. The resurfaced Heathcliff obsessively seeks possession of Catherine to insure his own survival. rebellion. the animus is the "demon-familiar. What Jung calls the persona is the outer or social self that faces the world. deliberation. and spontaneity. The personal unconscious finds expression in dreams and metaphor. his wildness. Not surprisingly. In some of its aspects. which are unacceptable. the shadow still resists moral control and can rarely be changed. the shadow is absolute evil. the object of the projection will be unable to live out the lover's animus or anima permanently. and to Heathcliff. refuses to be suppressed permanently. e. etc. some archetypes occur in a particular society or time period. her inability to affect Heathcliff's behavior can be seen in his ignoring her prohibition about Isabella. freedom.inherited. Jung explains that even if self-knowledge or insight enables the individual to integrate the shadow. The shadow is emotional. The shadow is generally equated with the dark side of human nature. "Wherever an impassioned. which may be passionate love or passionate hate.g. The personal unconscious adapts archetypes based on the individual's experiences. The most common and influential archetypes are the shadow." The animus of a woman and the anima of a man take the form of a "soulimage" in the personal unconscious. beyond this one. can be seen as Catherine's shadow–he represents the darkest side of her. the animus. and ability for self-knowledge and is male. The animus and the anima. Similarly. and his detachment from social connections.

Tytler distinguishes stages in the development of Heathcliff's monomania. who applies nineteenth-century psychological theory to the novel. of one-sidedness. How many are the cases of monomania caused by thwarted love. and his being haunted by Catherine's image. by fear. an obvious label for Heathcliff would have been monomaniac. his preoccupation at meals and in conversation. one of the founders of modern psychiatry. It reposes altogether upon the affections. as defined by Jean Etienne Dominique Esquirol. Graeme Tytler theorizes that Heathcliff fits the contemporary medical diagnosis of monomania. Its seat is in the heart of man. and their life together after death. It is. and its study is inseparable from a knowledge of the passions. Esquirol defined monomania as "the disease of going to extremes. in Heathcliff's longing to see Catherine's ghost. of singularization. Much of what he says and does after Chapter 29 is symptomatic of monomania–hallucinations. or disappointed ambition. however. equally relevant to a diagnosis of Heathcliff is Esquirol's listing of the causes of monomania: Monomania is essentially a disease of the sensibility. his sighs and moans." The application of this definition to Heathcliff is too obvious to need further comment. talking to himself or to Catherine's ghost. his harsh treatment of Cathy and Hareton. . not until eighteen years or so after her death that he shows signs of insanity. and it is there that we must search for it. In Brontë's day. in order to possess ourselves of all its peculiarities. wounded self-love. a term which is today equated with obsession but was in the nineteenth century a specific disorder with clearly defined symptoms and progression.view of existence after death. insomnia. vanity. And is there any question about Heathcliff's being a "demon-familiar"? MONOMANIA: A NINETEENTH CENTURY THEORY An entirely different approach is taken by Graeme Tytler. Heathcliff shows a predisposition to monomania up to and slightly after Catherine's death in such behavior as his single-minded determination to be connected to her after her death.