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How does Wuthering Heights combine Romanticism with Literary Realism?

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shewa55 | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted November 23, 2012 at 9:07 AM via web

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How does Wuthering Heights combine Romanticism with Literary Realism?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted November 24, 2012 at 7:15 AM (Answer #1)

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The Romantic elements of this novel are easy to identify: the windswept moors where passions blow just as strong as the elements, the brooding characters and the close connection to nature experienced by some of them. Yet it is also possible to argue that this novel features realism in the way that Bronte seeks to narrate her tale in a very matter-of-fact manner, including such information as the interactions between the servants and descriptions of life whilst focusing on the central characters. This is also achieved through the framing narrative, with the overall narrator, Lockwood, apparently writing a diary entry about his experiences in Yorkshire. Note the reference he makes to very practical aspects of life at the house of his landlord when he visits for the first time:

...at Wuthering Heights the kitchen is forced to retreat altogether into another quarter, at least I distinguished a chatter of tongues, and a clatter of culinary utensils, deep within; and I observed no signs of roasting, boiling, or baking, about the huge fire-place; nor any glitter of copper saucepans and tin cullenders on the walls.

Such matter-of-fact descriptions that are not related to the central plot of the trials and tribulations of the main characters point towards the realism that Bronte is trying to attain, which is highlighted through the descriptions of Lockwood, a definite outsider who is curious to see how life occurs in a very different culture and setting to his own background. Other aspects would include the mention that is made of the differences between the classes and other aspects of the life and running of houses.

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