Discuss the Gothic tradition according to the novel Wuthering Heights.Charlotte Bronte's Wuthering Heights

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Perhaps the most prevalent of the Gothic traits in Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights is the preternatural relationship of Catherine and Heathcliff, a brooding one of both passion and revenge that dominates the entire novel. In Chapter Nine, Catherine tells Nelly,

My love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath:  a source of little visible life, but necessary.  Nelly I am Heathcliff!  He's always, always in my mind: not as a pleasure, any more than I am always a pleasure to myself, but as my own being....

Later, in Chapter 16, Heathcliff states that he cannot live without Catherine, asking her to haunt him:

Catherine Earnshaw, may you not rest as long as I living; you said I killed you--haunt me then!  The murdered do haunt their murderers, I believe.  I know that ghosts have wandered on earth.  Be with me always--take any form--drive me mad! only do not leave me in this abyss where I cannot find you!  Oh, God!  It is unutterable!   I cannot live without my life!  i cannot leave without my soul!

Certainly, the relationship between Heathcliff and Catherine is obssessive and bizarre, almost metaphysical as the two lovers characters are closely associated with natural and preternatural forces.  Often, Heathcliff is referred to in bestial terms, a "fierce, pitiless, wolfish man."



M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Gothic literature gave its name to a fashion, a meme, a trend, and embodies specific elements that are very present in the novel Wuthering Heights.  In a traditional Gothic novel, there will always be its main character: A castle or a former estate now ruined, as if time had passed it by.

The feeling of melancholy

The spooky possibility of the supernatural taking place

The use of the flickering candle as the only source of light. Everything else is very dark.

Curses from the past, omens, and the atmosphere ever present (such as fog, constant rain, coldness, darkness)

Events that are horrible or are about to become ugly.

A protagonist willing to unveil a mystery

The fight of life versus the inevitability of fate.

In this, Wurthering Heights possess all the characteristics that could land it the label of Gothic novel, although it is much more than just that.


lola21 | Student

Thanks for helping me my sweet teachers.

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Wuthering Heights

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