Wuthering Heights Analysis
‘Wuthering Heights’ was Emily Bronte’s first published novel written between the years 1845 and 1846, it was published in 1847. Emily was born on July 30, 1818, in Thornton, England and died in 1848 at the age of 30, a year after publishing her book. It was her sister Charlotte who contributed to the success of her book when she published the second edition in 1850. The book’s main themes are based on jealousy and vengeance and their effects on the individuals and the community as a whole (Alexander, 12). The story unfolds on a farmhouse by the name Wuthering Heights situated on the Yorkshire moors. The book has been controversial since its publication and has received several mixed reviews from different other writers and poets who consider it a classic of English literature. The book has been difficult to classify due to its non-specification of the direct genre used. Delia Correa in the book Romantics and Victorians views it as a hybrid that cannot be classified into a single genre but covers several genres. This document will discuss the hybridity of the book and how the different genres covered.
M Bakhtin in his document has explained the hybridity of novels in their different literary forms. He explains the flexibility of novels referring them as like clay which can be remodeled to re-conceptualize an individual character to depict subjectivity and redefine the image in a perfectly unique way (Bakhtin 5). A poetry work can have a past plot but in a modern or present setting. A man can have a continuation of the past in a new heroic beginning. Bakhtin also outlines the freedom of using numerous or several genres in one novel. Emily’s book seems to be depicting Bakhtan’s explanation of hybridity in many ways which has given many poetic critics headache in the classification of the book. The lack of defined generic boundaries has made it hard in novel distinction. Wuthering Heights was written in a Victorian age when the trend seemed to be insinuating an urban and improved life but the themes depicted all show out-of-date situations. It also discusses literary circles which means it does not show any romantic traditions. This shows the uniqueness of the novel, insinuating a down-to-earth nature which gives it its hybrid and unclassifiable masterpiece (Bakhtin 11).
The implausible plot of the novel has used both psychological and cultural notions to show the hidden rejected part of our day to day existence. The story concentrates on the life of Mr. Lockwood who becomes a tenant at Thrushcross Grange, owned by Heathcliff a loving but very provocative landlord. Lockwood is recording his life events in a diary, which the story is all about, depicting the lack of time boundary for the novel (Bronte 12). He starts on his childhood days to the present time. The genre of romance is shown between him and Catherine who has been haunting him in his sleep; he had failed in the romance life. Conflict is also considered in this novel when we are taken back on the early life of Heathcliff, he had been brought home by Mr. Earnshaw to be part of his family. His two children Cathy and Hindley seem to hate him and even call him all sorts of names. The state changed as Cathy starts liking him, which contradicts the conflict hence a problem to its direction of the genre. The romance fails when the two had visited Linton’s family and Cathy finally falls in love with Edgar and rejecting Heathcliff, another twist in the genre. The climax of the story continues as Edgar and Heathcliff continue arguing and a tragic situation occurs where she gets a brain fever due to the stress and that he never married Heathcliff, the one she really loved. This shows a tragic genre as she dies after giving birth to Catherine Linton. The situation hits Heathcliff and seeks revenge, forcing his son to marry Catherine Linton. The reality is that he wanted to be the owner of the two houses, which he achieved before he died.
The main themes discussed in this novel are love and revenge. These themes have been used to show the different genres in the novel. The love theme seems to be both romantic and brotherly and has been applied to all characters be it major or minor (Alexander, 39). The relationships in this novel seem to be facing challenges in different ways, they all have a final target which may be either good or evil. The major characters in the theme of love are Heathcliff and Catherine who cannot be understood because they start by a total rejection of each other (Bronte 94). As time goes by, they fall for each other and their love becomes an unbreakable one but they finally betray each other, each marrying different persons whom they know very well they never loved. This stirs the hatred situations in the novel, which contrasts the love theme (Hillis, 50).
The theme of revenge then starts taking the lead as Heathcliff without any other choice after losing Catherine turns his revenge on the drunken Hindley. The next victim was Edgar who had taken Catherine from him and even Catherine also received some part of his vengeance (Bronte 184). This vengeance seems to be for the selfish interests he has which becomes the reality out of all his actions. His ambition to be the owner of both houses surpasses the love he first had depicting the conflicting emotions in the whole story which has affected almost all the characters used in the novel. This is also a reality as Emily uses real people with the common emotions of natural people, giving each character a trait a reader can recognize them with, which goes well with the Victorian era where people could bear similar traits (Hillis, 45).
Characterization also surpasses different genres in the novel. Characterization has been done in different categories in the book which depicts criticism of the social interactions between the societies. Characterization in terms of family life shows some kind of neglect in the novel, where one has to be part of or an outcast (Watson, 358). At first, Hindley and Catherine want to show Heathcliff that he is not part of their family. They abused him with all kinds of names humiliating him. Although this eventually leads to the creation of a love theme in the whole story, the reality was that Heathcliff was never welcomed to be part of the Earnshaw family. This makes him resent to revenge, deciding to destroy the family (Bronte, 203). Catherine also chooses Edgar over Heathcliff because of his family, the Linton. She sees the pleasures in being part of the family and marries Edgar over the one she loved. Eventually, the two families are fused but in a destroyed manner.
Another characterization method is by use of names. The names have been used to bring out the family ties, Earnshaw and Linton families, disregarding those who are not part of them, Heathcliff (Watson, 365). Heathcliff’s name shows his association with the land, not the house while Lockwood’s name shows his rejected state. Being a Linton shows a higher social status, that is why Catherine married Edgar and being Earnshaw depicts being part of the group or family. Characters have also been classified according to their social status, the Linton being the top of the classification. Catherine has a target in marrying Edgar to be among the top ladies in the community, Hindley also has a great desire for the two families to be linked up. The two families are the better side of society while Heathcliff shows the lowest of the families, without any property, family member or even being educated. He struggles to be accepted but ends up ruining everything (Bronte, 216).
The novel perfectly describes our present society. The different genres used shows the constant and frequent changes in the situations we face from those we associate with. Although most literary works have a main genre followed, different genres will eventually give the reality of human life. The family ties have been higher given the center stage in the whole novel, depicting its sanctity and the need to be up kept. To me, I consider this a total failure in the society we live in. We never choose the family to be born but we can choose the family to live with. We should accept those who come into our lives and give them a chance to be part of us.
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