The careful, exacting scrutiny of the text characteristic of New Criticism, which was popular in the conservative era of the mid-twentieth century, certainly mitigates readers' emotional responses and their reactions to the tone and mood of Bronte's novel.Since New Criticism is a conservative approach to interpretation, isolating the text and blocking any interpretations based upon race, class, and gender, such interpretation discounts the dark intensity of the moors, the moods of Heathcliff, and the tumultuous interaction of characters. For, there is no emotional reaction with the New Criticism approach.
New Criticism affects the reader's perspective of the narrative of Wuthering Heights in the following ways:
- It divorces Bronte's text from the genre of Gothic and its place in literary history. Thus, the moods and tones set by the "wuthering heights," the winds and the fog on the heather, which does much to create the Gothic atmosphere is mitigated. This pervading tone underscores the tumultuous relatioship of Heathcliff and Catherine and creates much of the ambiguity.
- It is disinterested in the human meaning, the societal function, and the effects of the narrative upon readers. The metaphysical passion of Heathcliff and Catherine, a passion stronger than death. if addressed, are isolated from other considerations, such as the impact upon the reader. In Chapter 3 Lockwood is placed in a room to sleep when he experiences the appearance of Catherine's spirit, an experience that causes Heathcliff to cry wildly,
"Come in! come in" he sobbed. "Cathy, do come. Oh do--once more! Oh, my heart's darling! hear me this time, Catherine; at last!"
- It places no emphasis upon Emily Bronte as the writer.
- It puts little emphasis upon reader response and seeks only for the total meaning of the work based upon the qualities that the novel itself possesses.