What are the elements of Romanticism in Wuthering Heights?im writing a essay on wuthering heights and the romantic elements but im not sure how to about it.

Expert Answers
amymc eNotes educator| Certified Educator

First, you need to make sure that you fully understand the characteristics of romantic literature in 19th Century England.

Basically, the Romantics believed that man, as an individual, is superior, so romantic novels really probe deeply inside characters.  You can see this most obviously with Heathcliffe and his rage and jealous, and also in Catherine, with her need to conform to social standards and her willful stubborness. 

The Romantics played up emotion before logic.  Therefore many of the characters' actions are unexplicable, such as Heathcliff's treatment of Hareton and his own son Linton, or Catherine's outburst at Heathcliff on her deathbed. 

The Romantics also had a suspicion of previous versions of organized religion.  We can see this in the novel through the scenes which depict the Earnshaw children being taught their Bible lessons.  The teacher is frustrated at how the children are not listening, even Hindley is not interested.  '

Beyond, many people feel that this novel contains characteristics of a Gothic Romance.  In addition to the romantic characteristics, gothicism includes "ruin, decay, death, terror, and chaos, and privileged irrationality and passion over rationality and reason".  Certainly we can see these elements in the novel in addition to the gothic elements of nightmare, supernatural elements and mysticism.

The heath is a desolate place, and Wuthering Heights itself is a dark and dreary place.  Death certainly occurs in abundance, leaving only three characters alive at the end.  Nearly all the characters react and act irrationally, especially Heathcliffe and Catherine as it concerns their own relationship.  The ghost of Catherine that "greets" Lockwood is an example of a supernatural occurrence.

Search for passages that meet these characteristics, and you will have a terrific paper!


Read the study guide:
Wuthering Heights

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question