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Emily Brontë has become mythologized both as an individual and as one of the Brontë sisters. She has been cast as Absolute Individual, as Tormented Genius, and as Free Spirit Communing with Nature; the trio of sisters±Charlotte, Emily, and Anne±have been fashioned into Romantic Rebels, as well as Solitary Geniuses. Their lives have been sentimentalized, their psyches psychoanalyzed, and their home life demonized. In truth, their lives and home were strange and often unhappy. Their father was a withdrawn man who dined alone in his own room; their Aunt Branwell, who raised them after the early death of their mother, also dined alone in her room. The two oldest sisters died as children. For three years Emily supposedly spoke only to family members and servants. Their brother Branwell, an alcoholic and a drug addict, put the family through the hell of his ravings and threats of committing suicide or murdering their father, his physical and mental degradation, his bouts of delirium tremens, and, finally, his death. As children, Charlotte, Branwell, Emily, and Anne had one another and books as companions; in their isolation, they created an imaginary kingdom called Angria and filled notebooks describing its turbulent history and character. Around 1831, thirteen-year old Emily and eleven-year old Anne broke from the Angrian fantasies which Branwell and Charlotte had dominated to create the alternate history of Gondal. Emily maintained her interest in Gondal and continued to spin out the fantasy with pleasure till the end of her life. Nothing of the Gondal history remains except Emily's poems, the references in the journal fragments by Anne and Emily, the birthday papers of 1841 and 1845, and Anne's list of the names of characters and locations. Little is known directly of Emily Brontë. All that survives of Emily's own words about herself is two brief letters, two diary papers written when she was thirteen and sixteen, and two birthday papers, written when she was twenty-three and twenty-seven. Almost everything that is known about her comes from the writings of others, primarily Charlotte. Even Charlotte's novel, Shirley, has been used as a biographical source because Charlotte created Shirley, as she told her biographer and friend Elizabeth Gaskell, to be "what Emily Brontë would have been had she been placed in health and prosperity." Often Wuthering Heights is used to construct a biography of Emily's life, personality, and beliefs. Edward Chitharn equates Emily, the well-read housekeeper of the family home, with Nelly based on the similarity of their roles and the similarity of their names, "Nelly" being short for "Ellen" which is similar to Emily's pseudonym "Ellis." The supposed anorexia of Catherine, who stops eating after Edgar's ultimatum, and of Heathcliff, who stops eating at the end, is used as proof of Emily's anorexia; support for this interpretation is found in the tendency of all four Brontë siblings not to eat when upset. Alternately, Emily's supposed anorexia is used to explain aspects of the novel. Katherine Frank characterizes Emily as a constantly hungry anorexic who denies her constant hunger; "Even more importantly," Frank asks, "how was this physical hunger related to a more pervasive hunger in her life±hunger for power and experience, for love and happiness, fame and fortune and fulfilment?" Well, one expression of these hungers is the
intense focus on food, hunger, and starvation in Wuthering Heights . Furthermore, the kitchen is the main setting, and most of the passionate or violent scenes occur there. Similarly, Emily's poems are used to interpret her novel, particularly those poems discussing isolation, rebellion, and freedom. Readings of Wuthering Heights as a mystical novel, a religious novel, or a visionary novel call on "No coward soul is mine," one of her best poems. The well known "Riches I hold in light esteem" is cited to explain her choice of a reclusive lifestyle, as is"A Chainless Life." The fact that many of these poems were written as part of the Gondal chronicles and are dramatic speeches of Gondal characters is blithely ignored or explained away. (In 1844 Emily went through her poems, destroying some, revising others, and writing new poems; she collected them and clearly labeled the Gondal poems.) The poems and Wuthering Heights have also been connected. The editor of her poems, C.W. Hatfield, sees the same mind at work in both, and Charles Morgan perceives in them "the same unreality of this world, the same greater reality of another,... and a unique imagination."
About Wuthering Heights
Wuthering Heights is a large mansion, positioned in the dark and wild moors of Yorkshire. It is home to Mr Earnshaw and his two children, Catherine and Hindley. When Earnshaw returns from a trip to Liverpool with an orphaned boy, and states that he is to be accepted into the family, the drama of the story begins. The boy is named Heathcliff, which serves for both Christian and surname. Catherine and Heathcliff become very close, but Hindley resents the newcomer, and sensing that his father favours the orphan, he becomes insanely jealous, and violent towards Heathcliff. Upon Mr Earnshaw¶s death Hindley inherits the estate and sets about making Heathcliff¶s life a misery. Meanwhile, the relationship between Heathcliff and Catherine has developed into love. However, Catherine¶s head is turned by a wealthy neighbour, Edgar Linton, who offers all the things that Heathcliff cannot: Wealth, social status and security. She therefore acquiesces to become Linton¶s wife.
Heathcliff: The Moors reflected in the Man.
Heathcliff is driven mad by jealousy and disappears from Wuthering Heights. When he emerges three years later he is a changed man. Eaten up with bitterness and anger, he is as wild, passionate, and dangerous as the moors that he inhabits. He is determined to make Earnshaw and Linton pay for the misery they have caused him.
The most famous relationship in the book is that of Catherine and Heathcliff. and Heathcliff. despite the fact that in life she married another."My love for Linton is like the foliage in .suite101. as an older man and owner of Wuthering Heights. are just as relevant now as they were in the nineteenth century and this is possibly the reason that the novel is as popular now as it has ever been. and the narrative structure that makes the telling of the story so dramatic. a platonic but passionate relationship that continues long after Catherine's death. Before she marries Edgar Linton. she speaks of her feelings towards each man . including films.Read on y y y Visit The Bronte Haworth Parsonage Bronte's Wuthering Heights Haworth: Visit Bronte Country The story is narrated retrospectively by a servant of the Wuthering Heights estate. and even a musical.com/content/wuthering-heights-a110113#ixzz16SbOSMFq THEMES IN WUTHERING HEIGHTS sonage Museum Got an exam coming up on Wuthering Heights and not sure where to start? This step-by-step revision guide will give you all the essentials for passing that test. Wuthering Heights was Emily Bronte's first and only published novel. Any discussion of the novel should include an understanding of the main themes or ideas presented. The themes of passion. appearing in 1847 under the pseudonym Ellis Bell. Key Themes in Wuthering Heights Love: the novel displays different types of love. There have been many modern adaptations. Read more at Suite101: Wuthering Heights: Emily Bronte's Most Famous Novel http://www. plays. This is spliced with the current view of ghostly goings-on at the house. love and jealousy. who is brutal and cruel to a surly young man and woman that live with him in the mansion.
This theme is discussed more fully in Later Critical response to Wuthering Heights . to appropriate Thrushcross Grange. he also demonstrates his desire for material goods. Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange. Cathy. and the "susceptible heart" of Lockwood receive scant attention from such readers. When Heathcliff eventually dies.the woods: time will change it. Thrushcross Grange and the Lintons. often to the exclusion of every other theme±this despite the fact that other kinds of love are presented and that Catherine dies half way through the novel. Other types of love are also shown in the novel: Nelly's maternal feelings towards many of the characters (Catherine. it is with a light in his eyes as he rejoins his love at last (chapter 33).com/content/revision-guide-to-wutheringheights-a115763#ixzz16Sb0DH3n The concept that almost every reader of Wuthering Heights focuses on is the passion-love of Catherine and Heathcliff. I'm well aware. as his vengeance over Hindley and Edgar also advance his plans to gain ownership of the two houses of the novel. Revenge: much of the violence and cruelty in the novel arises from Heathcliff's desire for revenge over certain characters. But is love the central issue in this novel? Is its motive force perhaps economic? The desire for wealth does motivate Catherine's marriage. storm and calm. The loves of the second generation. and to dispossess Hareton. which results in Heathcliff's flight and causes him to acquire Wuthering Heights. Nelly. as winter changes the trees. Read more at Suite101: Revision Guide to Wuthering Heights: How to Study Emily Bronte's Tale of Cathy and Heathcliff http://www. Not only does Heathcliff have no scruples about using innocent characters to exact his revenge. the love of Frances and Hindley. He hates Hindley as a result of the latter's unkindness towards him when they were children. Hareton). The universe is made up of two opposite forces. Wuthering Heights and the Earnshaws express the storm. Is it possible that one of the other themes constitutes the center of the novel. but necessary. My love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath: a source of little visible delight.suite101. the calm. Catherine and Heathcliff are elemental creatures of the storm. and the healthy love affair that blossoms between Cathy and Hareton. and ensnares his sister Isabella into an unhappy marriage to spite him. he blames Edgar for stealing Catherine away from him. and retaliates by bringing up Hindley's son Hareton to be coarse and uneducated. I am Heathcliff!" (chapter 9). representing the union of the Lintons and the Earnshaws and the hope of a happier future. Similarly. or are the other themes secondary to the theme of love? Consider the following themes: Clash of elemental forces. Edgar's devotion to his wife Catherine and then daughter Cathy.
she becomes rebellious. spiritual existence which is permanent and unchanging. legal. The novel is set at a time when capitalism and industrialization are changing not only the economy but also the traditional social structure and the relationship of the classes. Inflicting pain provides them some relief. The savagery of children finds full expression in Hindley's animosity toward Heathcliff and in Heathcliff's plans of vengeance. The yeoman or respectable farming class (Hareton) was being destroyed by the economic alliance of the newly-wealthy capitalists (Heathcliff) and the traditional power-holding gentry (the Lintons). also. The abusive patriarch and patriarchal family. as Catherine makes clear when she compares her love for Linton to the seasons and her love for Heathcliff to the rocks. Edgar's ultimatum that Catherine must make a final choice between him or Heathcliff restricts Catherine's identity by forcing her to reject an essential part of her nature. Mr. and Edgar turns into a self-indulgent. and Mysticism. financial. and Hindley±pain leads them to turn on and to torment others. The dying Catherine looks forward to achieving this state through death. or is at least some of their torment self-inflicted. with loving selfishness Edgar confines his daughter Cathy to the boundaries of Thrushcross Grange. Heathcliff claims Hindley's horse and uses Mr. This theme is discussed more fully in Wuthering Heights as Socio-Economic Novel. Study of childhood and the family. making no return of affection. like the death of Hindley's wife. Heathcliff literally incarcerates Isabella (as her husband and legal overseer). The children of love. Wrapped in the self-centeredness of childhood. The hostility toward and the abuse of children and family members at Wuthering Heights cut across the generations. are able to overcome Heathcliff's abuse and to find love and a future with . In the passion-driven characters±Catherine. and later he imprisons both Cathy and Nellie. and abuse at least partly forms the adult characters and behavior of Catherine and Heathcliff . melancholy recluse. The striving for transcendence.The clash of economic interests and social classes. Mr. Is all their suffering inflicted by others or by outside forces. this behavior raises questions about whether they are cruel by nature or are formed by childhood abuse and to what extent they should be held responsible for or blamed for their cruelties. Catherine and Heathcliff show the strength of children to survive. and physical forms. This theme is discussed more fully in Religion. The male heads of household abuse females and males who are weak or powerless. Earnshaw's partiality to his own advantage. emotional. Despite abuse. The effects of intense suffering. This can be seen in their use of various kinds of imprisonment or confinement. Isabella and her son Linton become vindictive. like many mistreated children. the degraded Hareton and the imprisoned Cathy. thereby trapping him in a degraded laboring position. Heathcliff. like Heathcliff's holding Catherine responsible for his suffering after her death? Suffering also sears the weak. Earnshaw expects Catherine to behave properly and hurtfully rejects her "bad-girl" behavior. Metaphysics. A vindictive Hindley strips Heathcliff of his position in the family. Cathy is isolated from the rest of the household after her marriage to Linton. It is not just love that Catherine and Heathcliff seek but a higher. which takes social. Earnshaw's disapproval of Catherine hardens her and.
The narrative structure of the novel revolves around communication and understanding. A superstitious Nellie refuses to let Catherine tell her dreams. where she feels displaced. Recently a number of critics have seen the story of a fall in this novel. Linton is displaced twice after his mother's death. being removed first to Thrushcross Grange and then to Wuthering Heights. Lockwood is unable to communicate with or understand the relationships at Wuthering Heights. Thrushcross Grange. Catherine dreams of being expelled from heaven and deliriously sees herself an exile cast out from the "heaven" of Wuthering Height±a literal as well as a symbolic fall. Trying to return to the Grange in a snowstorm. Isabella cannot return to her beloved Thrushcross Grange and brother. Displacement. dispossession. and loses his privileged status after Mr. though from what state the characters fall from or to is disputed. Cathy is displaced from her home. beginning with Lockwood's explicit reference to Wuthering Heights as a "misanthrope's heaven" and ending with the implied heaven of the ghosts of Heathcliff and Catherine roaming the moors together. Communication and understanding. Heathcliff enters the novel possessed of nothing. she is restricted by her injury to a couch at Thrushcross Grange. is not even given a last or family name. Hareton is dispossessed of property. Catherine is thrown out of heaven. Heathcliff wants possession of and union with Catherine. sees herself an exile at Thrushcross Grange at the end. education. Heathcliff displaces Hindley in the family structure.each other. repeatedly Nellie does not understand what Catherine is talking about or refuses to accept what Catherine is saying. like . with Nature. Is John Hagan right that "Wuthering Heights is such a remarkable work partly because it persuades us forcibly to pity victims and victimizers alike"? Self-imposed or self-generated confinement and escape. she alternates between the constraint of Wuthering Heights and the freedom of the moors. Heathcliff. finally womanhood and her choice of husband confine her to the gentility of Thrushcross Grange. And probably the most serious mis-communication of all is Heathcliff's hearing only that it would degrade Catherine to marry him. from which she escapes into the freedom of death. Confinement also defines the course of Catherine's life: in childhood. Lockwood cannot see the stone markers. and Nelly enlightens him by communicating the history of the Earnshaws and the Lintons. Isabella refuses to heed Catherine's warning and Nellie's advice about Heathcliff. and wanders the moors for twenty years as a ghost. and exile. in yielding to the comforts and security of Thrushcross Grange? Does Heathcliff fall in his "moral teething" of revenge and pursuit of property? Is Wutheirng Heights or Thrushcross Grange the fallen world? Is the fall from heaven to hell or from hell to heaven? Does Catherine really lose the Devil/Heathcliff (this question arises from the assumption that Brontë is a Blakeian subbversive and visionary)? The theme of a fall relies heavily on the references to heaven and hell that run through the novel. with a lost childhood freedom. notably after she locks herself in her room. Earnshaw's death. The fall. Both Catherine and Heathcliff find their bodies prisons which trap their spirits and prevent the fulfillment of their desires: Catherine yearns to be united with Heathcliff. Does Catherine fall. and with a spiritual realm. and social status. in puberty.
. consider the following possibilities: y y y Lockwood and Nelly are opposites in almost every way. do his reactions invalidate our everyday assumptions and judgments? This reading assumes that his reactions are insensitive and unintelligent. he repeats what Nellie tells him. Does Lockwood represent the point of view of the ordinary reader (that is.. Consequently. "how chang'd from an angel of light to exile in a fiery lake. she has never traveled beyond the Wuthering Heights-Thrushcross Grange-Gimmerton area. thus. under what conditions are they reliable? As you read the novel.g. Or do he and Nelly serve as a bridge from our usual reality to the chaotic reality of Wuthering Heights? By enabling us to identify with normal responses and socially acceptable values. selfeducated servant. Brontë's ability to sweep the reader while distancing the narration reveals her mastery of her material and her genius as a writer. a local Yorkshirewoman. To decide why she chose this narrative approach and how effective it is. you must determine what Lockwood and Nelly contribute to the story±what kind of people are they? what values do they represent? how reliable are they or. do they help make the fantastic behavior believable if not understandable? Does the sentimental Lockwood contrast with the pragmatic Nelly? It has been suggested that the original purpose of the novel was the education and edification of Lockwood in the nature of passion-love. This balancing of male and female and the lovers seeking union suggests that at a psychological level the Jungian animus and anima are struggling for integration in one personality. Nelly is a shrewd. belongs to Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange in a way that the outsider Lockwood (or Heathcliff) never does. so throughout the book the major characters are balanced male and female. alternately. but of course the novel completely outgrew this limited aim. (1) Lockwood is a sophisticated. but except for his experiences as the renter of Thrushcross Grange and his response to Nelly. Contrary to what might be expected with such narrative distance from events.Satan. even if occasionally confused by the time shifts and the duplication of names. Inevitably the ideas of expulsion from heaven. affluent gentleman. Lockwood tells the entire story. and desire for revenge have been connected to Milton's Paradise Lost and parallels drawn between Milton's epic and Brontë's novel. If so. e. Catherine's pain at her change from free child to imprisoned adult is compared to Satan's speech to Beelzebub. Indeed. Isabella's experiences at Wuthering Heights or the servant Zilla's view of events. (2) Lockwood's illness contrasts with her good health. we do not feel emotionally distant from the characters or events. including the servants Joseph and Nelly or Joseph and Zillah. most readers are swept along by the impetuosity and tempestuous behavior of Heathcliff and Catherine. he is an outsider. educated. exile.. is relentless in his destructive pursuit of revenge. a city man. at times we are three steps removed from events." POINT OF VIEW IN WUTHERING HEIGHTS Any serious discussion of Wuthering Heights must consider the complex point of view that Brontë chose. (3) Just as the narrative is divided between a male and a female narrator. Nelly. occasionally she is narrating what others have told her. us).
In this case. she persists on seeing him as a secretive.D. diabolical schemer.Nelly±as the main narrator. or deliberately. why do so many people confide in or turn to Nelly? There are two more questions that can be raised about the reliability of Lockwood and Nelly. or is she deluded by vanity? Is Nelly's alliance or identification with any one character. However. and Cathy? If Nelly's loyalties do keep shifting. and also look at the pattern of the novel in its entirety for clues in order to evaluate the narrator's reliability. whether unintentionally. alienated. what does it reveal about Nelly? Another question might be. y y y To what extent do we accept Nelly's point of view? Is her conventionality necessarily wrong or limited? Is it a valid point of view. Catherine. did Lockwood change any of Nellie's story? This is. though one perhaps which cannot understand or accommodate the wild behavior she encounters? Does she represent normalcy? Is she a norm against which to judge the behavior of the other characters? Or does she contribute. one family. The first is. to the disasters which engulf her employers? To what extent is Nelly admirable? Is she superior to the other servants. if we wonder whether she deliberately lied to Lockwood or remembered events incorrectly. Hareton. I see no way we can answer this question. and as precipitator of key events±requires more attention than Lockwood. we can compare the narrator's interpretation of characters and events with the conversations and behavior of the characters. more authoritative when she speaks of more conventional or ordinary events or behavior than of the extreme. it seems to me. or does she switch sides. it is entirely another matter if we ask whether Nellie or if Lockwood misunderstood or misinterpreted the conversations and actions each narrates. often outrageous behavior of Heathcliff or Catherine? Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick notes that although Heathcliff talks about himself to Nelly with honesty and openness. does this fact reflect the difficulty of making moral judgments in this novel? Is her interpretation of some characters or kinds of events more reliable than of others? Is she. Leavis believes Brontë chose in order "to fix its happenings at a time when the old rough farming culture. for there are no internal or external conversations or events which would enable us to assess his narrative integrity. depending on circumstances and her emotional response? Does she sympathize with the children she raised or helped to raise. The same principle would apply to Nellie. as a participant. WUTHERING HEIGHTS AS SOCIO-ECONOMIC NOVEL The novel opens in 1801. a futile question. semi-consciously. a group consisting of Heathcliff. based on a naturally patriarchal family . Is Sedgwick's insight valid? If so. consider the values the narrator holds and those held or expressed by the characters and their behavior. as she suggests. a date Q. for instance. or one set of values consistent.
senses that to achieve a full humanity. she must associate herself totally with him in his rebellion against the tyranny of the Earnshaws and all that tyranny involves. the danger posed by the uncontrolled individual to the community becomes apparent. For Arnold Kettle.life. Though the landed gentry and aristocracy resisted marrying into first-generation capitalist wealth. the traditional powerholders. The area that the Brontës lived in. to be true to herself as a human being. Wuthering Heights may really suggest the necessity of preserving traditional ways. spirited. from character. The criterion for defining a gentleman was shifting to money. This social-economic reality provides the context for socio-economic readings of the novel. an accommodation was developing based on economic interests." Kettle concludes. Through the aspirations expressed in the love of Cathy and Hareton. Like other novels of the 1830s and 40s which reveal the abuses of industrialism and overbearing individualism. betrays his humanity. they were willing to mix socially and to form economic alliances with the manufacturers and industrialists. and the capitalist. He locates the source of Catherine and Heatcliff's affinity in the (class) rebellion forced on them by the injustice of Hindley and his wife Frances. of nineteenth-century capitalist society. born into the world of Wuthering Heights. the basic conflict and motive force of the novel are social in origin. He. industrial middle classes. ." Writing nearly twenty-five years later. "Wutherng Heights then. This is not the way Marxist critics see the novel. Catherine's death inverts the common standards of bourgeois morality and so has "revolutionary force. As a result." But as Heathcliff pursues his revenge and tyrannical persecution of the innocent. Marxist Terry Eagleton posits a complex and contradictory relationship between the landed gentry and aristocracy. breeding. and the traditional relationship of social classes was being disrupted by mushroom-new fortunes and an upwardly-aspiring middle class." In 1801 the Industrial Revolution was under way in England." Heathcliff is morally ruthless with his brutal analysis of the significance of Catherine's choosing Edgar and her rejecting the finer humanity he represents. was to be challenged. and expropriating property) of Victorian society against those with power. his ruthlessness strips them of any romantic veneer. when Emily Brontë was writing in 1847. tamed and routed by social and cultural changes. who were pushing for social acceptance and political power. he. And she. Heathcliff recognizes some of the quality of his love for Catherine and the unimportance of revenge and property. Simultaneously with the struggle among these groups. we continue to sympathize with him because he is using the weapons and values (arranged marriages. Is Brontë supporting the status quo and upholding conventional values? Initially the answer would seem to be "no. personal and spiritual. turns to the lively. "is an expression in the imaginative terms of art of the stresses and tensions and conflicts. the gypsy oppressed by a rigid class system and denigrated as "imp" or "fiend. accumulating money. too. he thereby is enabled to regain his humanity and to achieve union with Catherine. these changes produced Victorian class consciousness and µunnatural' ideal of gentility. the outcast slummy. or family. it was a dominant force in English economy and society. Despite Heathcliff's implacable revenge." The reader sympathizes with Heathcliff. fearless girl who alone offers him human understanding and comradeship.
However. was particularly affected by these social and economic conditions because of the concentration of large estates and industrial centers in West Riding. Hareton represents the yeoman class. In adopting the behavior of the exploiting middle classes. an obsession that is unaffected by social realities. because the capitalist class is no longer revolutionary. Thus. has no social or biological place in the existing social structure.the town of Haworth in West Riding. he joins "spiritual forces" against the squirearchy. represented by the genteel Lintons. This relationship outside society is "the only authentic form of living in a world of exploitation and inequality. From this impossibility comes what Eagleton calls Heathcliff's personal tragedy: his conflictive unity consisting of spiritual rejection and social integration. Heathcliff relentlessly pursues his goal of possessing Catherine. cozy Wuthering Heights. the novel does not fully succeed in reconciling or finding a way to express all Heathcliff's meanings. turning the ruling class's weapons of property accumulation and acquisitive marriage against them. it may be a regrettable death±but it is a necessary death because the future requires a fusion of gentry and capitalist middle class. an expropriator. having been raised in the yeoman class and having acquired his fortune outside it. which are in Marxist terms "surplus value. but that Brontë's sympathies lie with the more democratic. Eagleton acknowledges that ultimately the values of Thrushcross Grange prevail. and a predator. Heathcliff the adult becomes a capitalist. In other words. it cannot provide expression for Heathcliff's rejection of society for a pre-social freedom from society's restraints. Eagleton sees both class struggle and class accommodation in Wutheirng Heights. he represents both rapacious capitalism and the rejection of capitalist society. not continued conflict. ." With Heathcliff's death a richer life than that of Thrushcross Grange also dies. Heathcliff. However. an escape from the conventional restrictions and material comforts of the upper classes. a transformation which reflects a reality about nature±nature is not really "outside" society because its conflicts are expressed in society. Society's need to tame/civilize the unbridled capitalist is handled in the civilizing of Hareton. The capitalist victory over the yeomanry is symbolized by the displacement of Joseph's beloved currant bushes for Catherine's flowers. which was being degraded. But Catherine's marriage and Hindley's abuse transform Heathcliff and his meaning in the social system. he offers Catherine a non-social or pre-social relationship. the outsider. Proceeding from this view of mid-nineteenth century society. Heathcliff works in common with the capitalist landowner Edgar Linton to suppress the yeoman class. Heathcliff's connection with nature is manifested in his running wild as a child and in Hindley's reducing him to a farm laborer." It is Heathcliff's expression of a natural non-social mode of being which gives the relationship its impersonal quality and makes the conflict one of nature versus society.
dungeons. or the suggestion of the supernatural. and suspense and tends to the dramatic and the sensational. daylight and the dark. a passion-driven. . The genre takes its name from Otranto's medieval±or Gothic±setting. haunted or not (the castle plays such a key role that it has been called the main character of the Gothic novel). and catacombs which. its use of the supernatural. which was enormously popular and quickly imitated by other novelists and soon became a recognizable genre. 1796) or the Middle East (William Beckford's Vathek. But contemporary readers found the novel electrifyingly original and thrillingly suspenseful. in modern houses. dark corridors. despite the supernatural manifestations and a young maiden's flight through dark vaults. and of emotional collapse. Most of us immediately recognize the Gothic (even if we don't know the name) when we encounter it in novels. it presents transgression. an electric failure). with its remote setting. For some of us±and I include myself± safely experiencing dread or horror is thrilling and enjoyable. taboos. like rugged mountains. a curious heroine with a tendency to faint and a need to be rescued±frequently. plays. poetry. or icy wastes. however. What makes a work Gothic is a combination of at least some of these elements: y y y y y a castle. today. and nameless terrors. The Gothic creates feelings of gloom. of social chaos. To most modern readers. shadows. mystery. 1786). become spooky basements or attics. a hero whose true identity is revealed by the end of the novel. ruined buildings which are sinister or which arouse a pleasing melancholy. movies. ruined or intact. omens and ancestral curses. The Castle of Otranto is dull reading. and winding stairs. early Gothic novelists tended to set their novels in remote times like the Middle Ages and in remote places like Italy (Matthew Lewis's The Monk. consciousness and unconsciousness. all of which have been so frequently imitated and so poorly imitated that they have become stereotypes. and fears±fears of violation. like incest. labyrinths. the characters are insipid and flat. crypts. the action moves at a fast clip with no emphasis or suspense. and TV series. and extreme weather. y y y y y y y extreme landscapes. magic. a beam of moonlight in the blackness. supernatural manifestations. horrifying (or terrifying) events or the threat of such happenings. Sometimes covertly. diabolism. sometimes explicitly. a flickering candle. necrophilia. It crosses boundaries. life and death. wilful villain-hero or villain. underground passages. or the only source of light failing (a candle blown out or. of imprisonment. except for the villain Manfred. and its medieval trappings.THE ENGLISH GOTHIC NOVEL: A BRIEF OVERVIEW The English Gothic novel began with Horace Walpole's The Castle of Otranto (1765). thick forests.
and Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights and in Romantic poetry like Samuel Coleridge's "Christabel. Like the conventional Gothic hero-villain. as a few critics have suggested. serene. Are there no husbands. Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre . the heroine wooed by a dangerous and a good suitor. unempowering. friends to coddle and console? Are there no stockings to darn. and Catherine resembles Ann Radcliffe's heroines in her appreciation of nature. a mysterious foundling. no braces to embroider? My idea of a perfect woman is one who can write but won't. and with typical Gothic excess he batters his head against a tree. A FEMINIST THEORY OF THE GOTHIC AND WUTHERING HEIGHTS Ellen Moers has propounded a feminist theory that relates women writers in general and Emily Brontë in particular to the Gothic. boundaries are trespassed. as one way women . flight." Lord Byron's "The Giaour. domestic angels. THE GOTHIC AND WUTHERING HEIGHTS Whether or not Wuthering Heights should be classified as a Gothic novel (certainly it is not merley a Gothic novel). and revenge. loving. Middle-class women who wanted to write were hampered by the conventional image of ladies as submissive. it undeniably contains Gothic elements. Ellen Moers identifies heroinism. Brontë follows Walpole and Radcliffe in portraying the tyrannies of the father and the cruelties of the patriarchal family and in reconstituting the family on non-patriarchal lines. who looked down on women writers: Women's proper sphere of activity is elsewhere [than writing]. The weather-buffeted Wuthering Heights is the traditional castle. Brontë has incorporated the Gothic trappings of imprisonment and escape. Heathcliff is a mysterious figure who destroys the beautiful woman he pursues and who usurps inheritances. smug. in Heathcliff's being Catherine's illegitimate half-brother. (1850) Those women who overcame the limitations of their social roles and did write found it more difficult to challenge or reject society's assumptions and expectations than their male counterparts. Agnes. gentle. brothers. necrophilia. In true Gothic fashion. no purses to make. a form of literary feminism. specifically love crossing the boundary between life and death and Heathcliff's transgressing social class and family ties. lovers. they had to overcome the conventional patronizing." A tendency to the macabre and bizarre which appears in writers like William Faulkner. Truman Capote. There is the hint of necrophilia in Heathcliff's viewings of Catherine's corpse and his plans to be buried next to her and a hint of incest in their being raised as brother and sister or. They are found in Sir Walter Scott's novels.Elements of the Gothic have made their way into mainstream writing. ghosts." and John Keats's "The Eve of St. pious. contemptuous sentimentalizing of women by reviewers like George Henry Lewes. and Flannery O'Connor has been called Southern Gothic. the persecuted heroine. even though no counterbalancing matriarch or matriarchal family is presented.
played just as hard. and felt the same pleasures and pains. the poverty of their physical experience may have caused these disproportions. Is there actually an English romantic novel? He skirts answering his own question by suggesting that some novels are influenced by Romanticism and incorporate the same style and themes that appear in Romantic poetry and drama. girls clung to this early freedom and equality. and scratching we dismiss as the unimportant of children's games±took on outsize proportions and powerful erotic overtones in their adult imaginations. recognized by Brontë's contemporaries. whether knowingly or not. which their brothers outgrew. which has been associated with women writers since Anne Radcliffe . the Athenaeum reviewer labeled the Gothic elements in Wuthering Heights "the eccentricities of µwoman's fantasy'" (1847). in The Romantic Novel in England. and a woman writer who adopts heroinism is not necessarily a feminist.) Heroinism takes many forms. passions. (Again. revenge. which the sisters collaborated on with their brother. whose imaginative hold Emily never outgrew. the passionate or woman-in-love heroine. The connection was. adultery.circumvented this difficulty. The cruelty connects this novel to the Gothic tradition. Clearly all the Brontë sisters utilize the passionate heroine. and aspirations. (Literary feminism and feminism may overlap but they are not the same. Their turbulent sagas are filled with unbridled passions.) Moers applies this principle to the Brontës' chronicles of Angria and Gondal. in fact. and the traveling heroine. and displaced them into their writing: Women writers of Gothic fantasies appear to testify that the physical teasing they received from their brothers±the pinching. and provided the model for Emily's impassioned Heathcliff and Catherine as well as for Charlotte's Rochester. Moers thinks a more accurate word than eccentricities would be perversities. fostered their intellectual and artistic equality with their brother. sisters were the equal of their brothers. almost an energizing part of life and in her portrayal of the erotic in childhood. These perversities may have originated in "fantasies derived from the night side of the Victorian nursery±a world where childish cruelty and childish sexuality come to the fore. to express subversive values and taboo experiences covertly. and with the romantic elements in a novel. murder. with the Gothic novel. Kiely regards Wuthering . imprisonment. such as the intellectual or thinking heroine. mauling. the term romantic novel is often equated with the romance. THE ROMANTIC NOVEL Robert Kiely raises the question." Of particular importance for intellectual middle-class women who never matured sexually was the brothersister relationship. What subversive values and taboo experiences does Emily Brontë express with her passionate heroine Catherine? Moers sees subversion in Brontë's acceptance of the cruel as a normal. Thus the uncensored fantasies of Angria and Gondal. may have provided an outlet for the sisters' imaginations. for it was not only sexual play but any kind of physical play for middle-class women that fell under the Victorian ban. and warfare. incest. In his discussion. In childhood.
and perverse sexuality are set off against social conventions and institutions. she sent a sample to the romantic poet Southey. The emphasis is on their desire for transcendence. stability. like Catherine's delirious memories of childhood at Wuthering Heights and rambles on the moors. the supernatural. physical violence. envy. of Catherine Linton. y y ROMANTICISM AND THE BRONTËS Romanticism. if not to reject literary conventions. The protagonists are driven by irresistible passion±lust. to overcome the limitations of the body. this may create the impression that the novel is two books in one. Consider Catherine's marriage for social position. dates. and hours co-exist with the dreamlike and the unhistorical. but also and primarily a psychological concern. As in Gothic fiction. In Wuthering Heights. curiosity. Brontë refuses to be confined by conventional classifications. but finally Thrushcross Grange and Wuthering Heights fuse. the demands of Heathcliff and Edgar. death originates in the imagination. and of Heathcliff±tearing open Catherine's grave. dream and madness. For the protagonists. ambition. that he may really lie beside her in death±figures so passionate. The preference for open-endedness is. intellectual pride. being typical examples of that spirit. often a novel verges on turning into something else. Walter Pater saw in Wuthering Heights the characteristic spirit of romanticism. an effort to resist the limits of time and of place That effort helps explain the importance of dreams and memories of other times and location. Endings are disquieting and unsatisfactory because the writer resists a definitive conclusion. and her final mental wandering. removing one side of her coffin. and wealth. wild nature. The romantic elements in the Brontës' writings are obvious. Initially. realism in presenting Yorkshire landscape and life and the historical precision of season. for instance. yet woven on a background of delicately beautiful. The Brontës were familiar with the writings of the major romantic poets and the novels of Sir Walter Scott. buildings are central to meaning. so that often there is a pattern of escape and pursuit. ultimately. her efforts to evade the consequences of her marriage. of society." and may develop into an obsession. The longings of a Heathcliff cannot be fulfilled in life. When Charlotte Brontë. affected all the arts through the nineteenth century. moorland scenery. like poetry or drama. of time rather than their moral transgressions. it contains these romantic/Gothic elements which charterize the romantic novel: y y y y The dynamic antagonism or antithesis in the novel tends to subvert.Heights as a model of romantic fiction. Death is not only a literal happening or plot device." . one which accounts for all loose ends and explains away any ambiguities or uncertainties. The protagonists' wanderings are motivated by flight from previously-chosen goals. wanted an evaluation of her writing. the literary movement traditionally dated 1798 to 1832 in England. becomes a "tendency of mind. They yearn to escape the limitations inherent to life and may find that the only escape is death. particularly in "the figures of Hareton Earnshaw.
Catherine. its folklore. who repeats what others told her). its landscape. the taste for local color shows in the portrayal of Yorkshire. and Keats at 24. and Anne at 29. Hareton is the noble savage and. nature is a living. The Romantic predilection for early death appears in Wuthering Heights. 39. vitalizing force and offers a refuge from the constraints of civilization. both are rebellious. Emily. and wilful.As the details of their lives became generally known and as Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights received increasingly favorable critical attention. childhood and the adult's developing from childhood experiences are presented realistically. Linton is 17 when he dies. Emily. Emily at 30. Heathcliff is the Byronic hero. to add to the emotional impact. Branwell died at the age of 31. Edgar. Heathcliff. and Anne died in the space of nine months. have mysterious origins. the supernatural or the possibility of the supernatural appears repeatedly. Shelley having died at 29. reject external restrictions and control. lack family ties. 31. and Anne were cast in the role of Romantic Rebels. 27. Charlotte. Hindley. ROMANTIC LOVE IN WUTHERING HEIGHTS y Romantic love takes many forms in Wuthering Heights: the grand passion of Heathcliff . the love of nature is not presented just in its tranquil and smiling aspects but also appears in its wild. Contributing to the Romantic Rebels Myth was the association of Romanticism and early death. so great a focus is placed on the individual that society is pushed to the periphery of the action and the reader's consciousness. passionate. 18. perhaps 37 or 38. Branwell. misanthropic. Isabella. ROMANTIC ELEMENTS IN WUTHERING HEIGHTS The major characteristics of Romanticism could be extrapolated from a reading of Wuthering Heights: y y y y y y y y y y y y the imagination is unleashed to explore extreme states of being and experiences. isolated. Brontë experiments with the narrative structure (the Chinese-box structure in which Lockwood narrates what Nelly tells him. stormy moods. so is Heathcliff. depending on your reading of the novel. and its people. the concern with identity and the creation of the self are a primary concern. and seek to resolve their isolation by fusing with a love object. Byron at 36. the passion driving Catherine and Heathcliff and their obsessive love for each other are the center of their being and transcend death.
two people who have an affinity for each other which draws them togehter irresistibly. a principle that is not conditioned by anything but itself. the agony of two souls±or rather. Catherine's conventional feelings for Edgar Linton and his superficial appeal contrast with her profound love for Heathcliff. feelings. Such a love is not necessarily fortunate or happy. for it is insatiable. Their love exists on a higher or spiritual plane. Nevertheless. what kind of love--or feeling--is Emily Brontë depicting? Her sister Charlotte. the question of whether they really love each other has to be addressed. their love has passed into popular culture." an essence which Collins calls the life-force. and claims of others. Kate Bush and Pat Benetar both recorded "Wuthering Heights. though as in many statements of an ideal this principle has implications of a profound living significance. the tame indulgence of Edgar. shall we say? two halves of a single soul± forever sundered and struggling to unite. and unrelenting in its demands upon both lovers. what matters is the lovers' own feelings and needs. but not that of the other lovers. This type of passion-love can be summed up in the phrase more--and still more . For C. It is a principle because the relationship is of an ideal nature. and movie adaptations of the novel include a Mexican and a French version. to be all-in-all for each other. the romantic infatuation of Isabella. y y . it is the passion of Heathcliff and Catherine that most readers respond to and remember and that has made this novel one of the great love stories not merely of English literature but of European literature as well." a song which Bush wrote. This question raises another. the insipid sentimental languishing of Lockwood. Heathcliff and Catherine "represent the essential isolation of the soul. unfulfillable. the coupleism of Hindley and Frances." Their relationship expresses "the impersonal essence of personal existence. called Heathcliff's feelings "perverted passion and passionate perversity. and the flirtatious sexual attraction of Cathy and Hareton. Day Lewis. and to be loved in this way forever. Simone de Beauvois cites Catherine's cry. for example. "I am Heathcliff. has become an archetype. Brontë provides the relationship of Hareton and Cathy to integrate the principle into everyday life. This fact explains why Catherine and Heathcliff several times describe their love in impersonal terms.y y and Catherine. it does not exist in life. y y HEATHCLIFF AND CATHERINE: TRUE LOVERS? y Despite the generally accepted view that Heathcliff and Catherine are deeply in love with each other. with the possible exception of Hareton and Cathy. Heathcliff repeatedly calls Catherine his soul." I list below a number of interpretations of their love/ostensible love. Clifford Collins calls their love a life-force relationship. are ultimately self-centered and ignore the needs. and MTV showcased the lovers in a musical version. so that nothing else in the world matters. to give oneself unreservedly to another and gain a whole self or sense of identity back. they are soul mates. it expresses the passionate longing to be whole. y Soulmates. the puppy love of Cathy and Linton." in her discussion of romantic love. The love-relationship of Heathcliff and Catherine." y A life-force relationship. These lovers. which is "an acceptance of identity below the level of consciousness. In addition. Because such feelings cannot be fulfilled in an actual relationship.
"I have nearly attained my heaven. Look at the mystical passion of these two: devotion to shared experience and intimacy with the other. Love has become a religion in Wuthering Heights. in the novel. Nobody else's heaven is good enough. is the raging heresy that has become common in modern life: redemption. fusion with another will by uniting two incomplete individuals create a whole and achieve new sense of identity. ix. 125). Catherine again confides to Nelly her feelings about the emptiness and torment of living in this world and her belief in a fulfilling alternative: "I'm tired.. Dying. if all else remained.y y y y y y y Creating meaning.. and including.. imaginative power.. providing a shield against the fear of death and the annihilation of personal identity or consciousness. and love... and I watched and felt each from the beginning. . Polhemus sees Brontë's religion of love as individualistic and capitalistic: Wuthering Heights is filled with a religious urgency±unprecedented in British novels±to imagine a faith that might replace the old. and he remained. for the sake of this connection. but really with it. and to be always there. death. 64). a man who is in love declares µI' and 'you' are one. xv. p.. Catherine and Heathcliff have faith in their vocation of being in love with one another. and he were annihilated. a complete and unified identity. I should not seem part of it" (Ch." y Love as religion. What were the use of my creation if I were entirely contained here? My great miseries in this world have been Heathcliff's miseries. Against all the evidence of his senses.. ecstatic expression. social institutions. up to. and is prepared to behave as if it were a fact. Cathy's "secret" is blasphemous. lies in personal desire. and in it" (Ch. I should still continue to be. Jews. I'm wearying to escape into that glorious world. and that of others is altogether unvalued and uncoveted by me!" . if it is possible. Freud explained this urge as an inherent part of love: "At the height of being in love the boundary between ego and object threatens to melt away. Their love is an attempt to break the boundaries of self and to fuse with another to transcend the inherent separateness of the human condition. They both believe that they have their being in the other. Robert M.surely you and everybody have a notion that there is.. or should be.. mutilation of both social custom and the y y . by a desperate assertion of identity based on the other? Catherine explains to Nelly: .. Heathdiff says late in the book. as Christians. Are Catherine and Heathcliff rejecting the emptiness of the universe. willingness to suffer anything. If all else perished. and Emily Brontë's secret. the Universe would turn to a mighty stranger.The hope for salvation becomes a matter of eroticized private enterprise. This need for fusion motivates Heathcliff's determination to "absorb" Catherine's corpse into his and for them to "dissolve" into each other so thoroughly that Edgar will not be able to distinguish Catherine from him. not seeing it dimly through tears. and yearning for it through the walls of an aching heart. and their relationships with others by finding meaning in their relationship with each other.. y Transcending isolation. and Moslems believe that they have their being in God. my great thought in living is himself. and. tired of being enclosed here. Echoing Cathy. an existence of yours beyond you. p. This use of love would explain the inexorable connection between love and death in the characters' speeches and actions.
Each has replaced God for the other. Is conventional religion replaced by the religion of love. which is obvious in Cathy's civilizing Hareton. is religious. mad and destructive as it sometimes seems." Catherine goes on to say. p. selfrighteous. Conventional religion is presented negatively in the novel. an object. so that he has become increasingly dependent on that experience as his only source of gratification. The abandoned church at Gimmerton is decaying. the usurpation of property. or in himself. in other words. "I'm wearying to escape into that glorious world. 125). just as Christians anticipate being reunited with God after death.y flesh. the ghosts of Catherine and Heathcliff±all. That passion is a way of overcoming the threat of death and the separateness of existence. and mania for self-transcendence through the other. the minister stops visiting Wuthering Heights because of Hindley's degeneracy. What exactly does he mean by addiction? An addiction exists when a person's attachment to a sensation. that has shocked readers from the novel's first publication. Individuals who lack direction and commitment. this is the source of the torment of being imprisoned in a body and in this life. An addictive love wants to break down the boundaries of identity and merge with the lover into one y y y . and they anticipate being reunited in love after death. Is what Catherine and Heathcliff call love and generations of readers have accepted as Ideal Love really an addiction? Stanton Peele argues that romantic or passion love is in itself an addiction. who are emotionally unstable. Nevertheless. Catherine and Heathcliff reject Joseph's religion. the literal and figurative imprisonments. Their calling is to be the other. and does the fulfillment of Heathcliff and Catherine's love after death affect the love of Hareton and Cathy in any way? Does the redemptive power of love. the necrophilia. the uncontrolled passion expressed in extreme and violent ways. Catherine and Heatcliff are inconsistent in their attitude toward death. which both unites and separates. and punitive. xv. relate to love-as-religion experienced by Heathcliff and Catherine? y Love as addiction. or another person is such as to lessen his appreciation of and ability to deal with other things in his environment." a wish which necessarily involves separation (Ch. After crying "Heathcliff! I only wish us never to be parted. or who are isolated and have few interests are especially vulnerable to addictions. the hints of incest and adultery. which is narrow. The desire for transcendence takes the form of crossing boundaries and rejecting conventions. and that calling.
but necessary. Catherine's affirmation "I am Heathcliff" is for de Beauvoir the cry of every woman in love.identity. The addict wants possession of the lover regardless of the consequences to the loved one. Lacking inner resources. calls her relationship "a source of little visible delight. usually in people similar to themselves. Even if the initial pleasure and sense of fulfillment or satisfaction does not last." The loss of the lover. Catherine. the love-addict is driven by need and clings desperately to the relationship and the lover. The basis for this relationship lies in the roles society y . on the other hand. often extreme ones like illness. I AM HEATHCLIFF How deep a chord Emily strikes with the relationship of Catherine and Heathcliff is shown by the use Simone de Beauvoir makes of it in writing of the French tradition of the grandes amoureuses or the the great female lovers. his double. and faintness. not eating. whether through rejection or death. causes the addict withdrawal symptoms. for example. existentialist reading. In her feminist. is capable of putting the needs of the beloved first. his reflection. she becomes the incarnation or embodiment of the man she loves. love addicts look outside themselves for meaning and purpose. a healthy love. the woman in love surrenders her identity for his identity and her world for his world.
because no man is godlike. neither sexual nor sensual. attracted to Heathcliff. In Lord David Cecil's view." Their bond is a negative one: they identify with one another in the face of a common enemy. she relinquishes her material. his and mine are the same. This is why Catherine says she loves Heathcliff "because he's more myself than I am. which are conventionally romantic. she is an object to be acted upon by man. she is given meaning and status by her relationship to him. who is seldom the wife. perhaps it would be more accurate to say. conflict arises between unlike characters. In reality. in contrast. she is ultimately disappointed but refuses to acknowledge his fallibility. his drive to see her corpse and his arrangements for their corpses to merge by decaying into each other. their love is. The female.assigns to males and females. then she is presumably free to act as she pleases in the material. Catherine is preoccupied. Thus. at least traditionally in France and Italy. Is Catherine deluding herself with this speech? Louis Beverslius answers yes. social self and all claims except those of their love. She is taught to regard man as godlike and to worship him. of taking responsibility. If identity rather than personal relationship is the issue or the nature of their relationship. She achieves happiness when the man she loves accepts her as part of his identity. to find that the woman in love. Other. who is measured against the standard of the male. One must carve out for oneself an alternative which is more than a systematic y y y y y . wants physical togetherness. becomes the Other." As the expression of the principle of the storm. Catherine's betrayal of her own nature destroys not only her but threatens Heathcliff with destruction also. and of affecting his destiny. hence. the One. then Catherine is free to have a relationship with Edgar because Heathcliff's feelings and desires do not have to be taken into account. she does not really achieve or even participate in his status as subject or standard. they rebel against a particular way of life which both find intolerable. if not obsessed with the image of herself "as powerfully. then. the goal of her existence is to be associated with him. and the deepest attachments are based on characters' similarity or affinity as expressions of the same spiritual principle. the subject. Catherine loves Heathcliff because as children of the storm they are bound by their similar natures. even irresistibly. he is the subject who is capable of choice. marrying Edgar will not affect her relationship with Heathcliff. She needs to think only of herself. It is not enough. social plane. in effect. simply to reject a particular way of life. of acting. which will continue after death. Whatever our souls are made of. The male is the standard or norm. of course. however. because no man can give her either his ability to act and choose or the character to accept responsibility for those actions and choices. to love him and be loved by him. because of their intense desire to merge and refusal to accept their literal separateness. She remains dependent. because this allows her to share in his male power and sovereignty. If their love exists on a spiritual or at least a non-material plane. dependent on him. Because of the merging of their identities or. Heathcliff. is the woman who waits. one cannot define oneself wholly in terms of what he despises. By dying. Catherine implies that their love is timeless and exists on some other plane than her feelings for Linton. It comes as no surprise.
repudiation of what he hates. each of whom wants her to conform to his own version of her"? . The chief contrast between Catherine and Heathcliff consists in the fact that he is able to make such a commitment (together with everything it entails) while she is not. you see. never mind! That is not my Heathcliff. But is it possible that she is using Heathcliff as a symbol of their childhood. y y Catherine is similarly deluded about her childhood and has painted a false picture of the freedom of Wuthering Heights. but believes that he will not injure Isabella because she warned him off. And. Catherine initially seems unconcerned and later goes off to be with Heathcliff. It requires only time for this radical dissimilarity to become explicit. Nelly! He would not relent a moment. to keep me out of hte grave! That is how I'm loved! Well. Catherine's mistaken belief that she and Heathcliff still share an affinity moves her to distinguish in their last conversation between the real Hathcliff whom she is struggling with and the image of Heathcliff which she has held since childhood. this marks them as radically dissimilar from one another. Catherine both knows Heathacliff and does not know him. when she was "half savage. A positive commitment is also necessary. she sees his avarice and vengefulness. and take him with me±he's in my soul. Catherine's assertion that Heathcliff is "more myself than I am" is generally read as an expression of elemental passion. "the object of a competitive struggle between two men. however sporadically. with the Lintons and oscillates between identifying with them and with Heathcliff. whatever their temporary 'affinities' appear to be. an inner and an outer one. When Heathcliff throws hot applesauce at Edgar and is banished. and hardy and free. The fact that to maintain the fiction of their affinity Catherine has to create two Heathcliffs. suggests that total affinity does not exist and that complete mergining of two identities is impossible. when she had freedom of movement and none of the responsibilities and pressure of adulthood. Her rebelliousness changes from the open defiance of throwing books into the kennel to covert silence and a double character. when the full measure of their characters has been taken."? Does Catherine become. in the words of Lyn Pykett. Their dissimilarities appear when she allies herself. I shall love mine yet. It is with the false image that she has an affinity: Oh.
. Similarly. She doesn¶t keep a close enough eye on Cathy. is the principal narrator of Wuthering Heights. and her actions often affect events. Heathcliff. Nelly is a part of it. after all. She plays a crucial role in delivering a letter from Heathcliff to Catherine upon his return. but can readers really trust everything she says? Nelly¶s Involvement in Events As well as witnessing the characters and story she tells. She fails to tell Edgar ± her master. it is natural that she should remain fond of the children she has been instrumental in bringing up: she looked after Hareton for the first years of his life. Nelly doesn¶t always do as she is told. When Lockwood becomes ill and wishes to learn about the history of his landlord. Similarly. Having grown up with Heathcliff. Nelly¶s Errors of Judgement Nelly is not infallible. Nelly¶s Bias As someone closely involved in the story. At the start of the novel she is working as the housekeeper at Thrushcross Grange. Nelly¶s account is inevitably coloured by her own opinions about the characters. so that the child is able to sneak away and visit Wuthering Heights. deceived into allowing the two of them to enter the house where they are then kept prisoner until Cathy has been forced to marry Linton. This would seem to make her an ideal narrator. and has therefore witnessed first-hand much of the story she tells. and hides information from other characters. how ill his wife Catherine has become. How far can we trust her version of events? The Character of Nelly Nelly Dean. and also neglects to inform him about Cathy and Linton¶s growing relationship until it is well advanced. her residual feelings of fondness and of family duty cause her to be more lenient towards them than their behaviour sometimes deserves. and eventually telling Edgar of their relationship. and allows him to visit her against Edgar¶s wishes. She is prone to interference. carrying letters between Linton and Cathy. Catherine and Hindley. it is Nelly who relates the tale. also known as Ellen. but has spent much of her life living and working at Wuthering Heights.The Character of Nelly Emily Bronte chose Nelly Dean as the main narrator of her novel Wuthering Heights. and frequently refers to Cathy. She is also tricked by Heathcliff when she and Cathy travel to Wuthering Heights together.
suite101. an outsider who rents Thrushcross Grange from Heathcliff. Read more at Suite101: Wuthering Heights: Nelly Dean: How Reliable is Nelly¶s Narration? http://www. giving the reader a personal yet flawed account of the Earnshaws and the Lintons. Read on y y y Wuthering Heights: Nelly Dean Carlisle Floyd Opera Wuthering Heights Bernard Herrmann Opera Wuthering Heights Nelly Dean is Lockwood's housekeeper. they would perhaps be best advised to take it with a pinch of salt. as her ³angel´ ± although her behaviour often suggests she is anything but! Read on y y y Characters in Wuthering Heights Bronte's Wuthering Heights Revision Guide to Wuthering Heights Nelly is just as quick to show her disapproval of those characters she dislikes: Linton Heathcliff merits particular scorn ± ³the worst-tempered bit of a sickly slip that ever struggled into his teens´ (chapter 23). this abruptness can be seen in a new light when juxtaposed with the cruelty he has . the novel's second narrator. Whilst the reader may find Heathcliff rude and ill-mannered. his reactions to Heathcliff's rudeness and Hareton's surliness provides the reader with a more objective viewpoint than that provided by Ellen Dean. The main narrator is Lockwood. So while readers may enjoy Nelly¶s lively and gossipy narrative style.com/content/wuthering-heights-nelly-dean-a58698#ixzz16SaADkIa Narrative Structure Much of the dramatic power of the novel lies in the use of a dual narrative. Nelly is heavily involved in events she describes. This framework not only provides the reader with two differing perspectives on events. as she finds herself locked up safely out the way while it is taking place. but also allows Bronte to contrast the past and the present. and is entreated by him to relate the histories of the individuals he has just encountered at Wuthering Heights. Nelly is unable to tell us of his marriage to Cathy.whom she has acted as a mother towards for all of the child¶s life.
Read more at Suite101: Revision Guide to Wuthering Heights: How to Study Emily Bronte's Tale of Cathy and Heathcliff http://www.suite101. Similarly.com/content/revision-guide-to-wutheringheights-a115763#ixzz16SakllXT . Hareton's ignorance is gradually explained by his role in Heathcliff's plan to exact revenge on Hindley.undergone as a child.
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