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What elements of the gothic and the romantic are evident in "Wuthering Heights"?

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goodpokemonlive | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 1, 2008 at 11:47 PM via web

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What elements of the gothic and the romantic are evident in "Wuthering Heights"?

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lit24 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted September 2, 2008 at 12:47 AM (Answer #1)

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Emily Bronte's "Wuthering Heights" is a fine instance of a Victorian  'female gothic' novel which features women entrapped within the confines of their domestic space and victimised by patriarchal bullying. Some important features of the gothic are:

1.The architecture: ancient dilapidated houses, "before passing the threshold...the date 1500." Ch1. These houses are usually haunted by ghosts. In Ch3 Lockwood encounters the ghost of Catherine.

2. Ghosts: In Ch.34 "a little boy with a sheep and two lambs" sees the ghosts of Catherine and Heathcliff.

3. Death and decay: In Ch29 Heathcliff disturbs the grave of Catherine and in Ch34 he is buried alongside Catherine so that their decaying bodies can become one.

4. Madness: Both Catherine and Heathcliff are hysterical and almost insane before their deaths, Chs15 and 33 and 34.

5. Hereditary curses: Heathcliff's adoption is referred to as, "so from the very beginning he bred bad feeling in the house."

6. Tyrants:  First Hindley and then Heathcliff exercise their authority over the household of Wuthering Heights.

7. Persecuted maidens: Both the Catherines and Isabella are treated cruelly.

By way of contrast, the elements of romance are:

1. Love for Nature: The novel is full of the beauty  of moors of Yorkshire.

2. Egoistical: All the characters are egoistical and fiercely independent.

3. Love and its concurrent dilemmas: Catherine in love with two men at the same time.

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