Wuthering Heights Characterisation

A mindmap of the characters in Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte, published in 1847. 

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  • Created by: Zoe
  • Created on: 30-05-13 16:27
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  • Characterisation in Wuthering Heights
    • Narration
      • Frederick Jameson: the aim of the classical narrator is to 'restore the coordinates of a face to face story telling institution'
      • The presence of a narrator is comforting
        • They must be a 'survivor'
      • Narrator has authority
        • The presence of a narrator is comforting
          • They must be a 'survivor'
        • Most narrators = male
        • Interesting that Bronte chooses 1 male and 1 female narrator
          • Most narrators = male
        • Nelly Dean's narration outranks and dispossesses Lockwood's
          • Interesting that Bronte chooses 1 male and 1 female narrator
        • Neither narrator is entirely impartial
          • Pierre Macherey: formulates a means of reading the 'not said'
          • Reader is able to read between the lines
          • Catherine Belsey: 'inadequacies...do not prevent the reader from seeming to apprehend the real nature of the relationship'
      • Bronte plays with our expectations of characters
        • Extend their influence beyond the grave
        • Share each other's names
        • Exemplify contradictions
      • Cathy
        • First intro is a signature of a ghost
        • As elusive and forbidden to Heathcliff as she is incomprehensible to Lockwood
        • Starts and ends as an enigma
        • 'Catherine Earnshaw - Catherine Linton - Cathering Heathcliff''
          • Fractured social identity
        • Tries to combine passion with social convention
        • 'I am Heathcliff'
          • Fractured social identity
          • Cannot stabilise her identity because Heathcliff is enigmatic too
        • Capable of ruthless destruction
      • Heathcliff
        • Mysterious capacity for self invention
          • Defies conventional categories of characterisation in the novel
          • 'Heathcliff...both for Christian and surname'
            • Radically outside social patterns and conventions
        • Byronic Hero
          • Melancholic and brutal
        • Romantic Hero
          • Intrusion into an transformation of a conventional and socially limited world
        • Encompasses vast philosophical opposites
          • Love and death
          • Culture and nature
          • Evil and heroism
        • Clifton Snider: Heathcliff as a vampire
          • Evidence for his bloodthirstiness
        • Disturbs conventional structure of the novel
        • Lack of formal education places him in an inferior 'degraded' social position
      • Edgar
        • Represents world of conventional morality
        • Feminist critics Gilbert and Gubar: Edgar's masculinity roots from his social power
          • Possible to read him as effeminate
        • Can be read as lacking spirit
          • Conventionally, lacks the vigour that characterises C&H
          • Lacks C&H's ghostliness
            • No internal contradiction
            • He remains in his place during the novel
      • Isabella
        • Only ever seen in relation to other characters
        • Infatuation with Heathcliff is a direct result of her cultural life
          • Can only read him as a Romantic hero
        • Gynocriticism: brutal realities of Isabella's position as the battered wife
      • Linton
        • Signifies the unnatural union between Heathcliff and Isabella
        • Signifies unnatural union between passion and convention
          • 'Ailing, peevish creature' shows the impossibility of such a reunion
            • Signifies the unnatural union between Heathcliff and Isabella
        • Love and convention emerge as corrupted by each other
        • Singular view of the world (like both his parents)
        • Makes himself available for manipulation because of his inability to see anything in any but his own terms
      • Hareton
        • Structurally repeats Heathcliff's 'degradation'
        • Relationship with Cathy mirrors c&H's
          • 'he wanted to be presentable' Hareton
          • 'Nelly, make me decent' Heathcliff
        • Unwavering love for Heathcliff
          • '...how she would like him to speak ill of her father?'
        • Fails to inherit rightful property
          • Inability to read coupled with repetitious doubling of names
          • Inheritance requires a stable system of patriarchal legitimacy and uncontested identity
        • Surrogate/symbolic Heathcliff
        • Development of character relies on education
      • Cathy 2
        • Achieves her identity at the price of her mother's
        • Union with Hareton is a Romantic conclusion that transcends central conflicts in the novel
          • Restores a traditional novelistic plot of courtship and marriage
          • Restores the Victorian ideal
            • Domestic bliss
            • Note: Cathy has the upperhand in the relationship
      • Nelly
        • Gives the story substance and credence
        • Partial
        • Moves effortlessly from Grange to Height
        • Dual roles
          • Housekeeper at Grange - house of culture
          • Housekeeper at the Heights - house of nature
          • Dual names
            • Ellen/Nelly
        • Q.D Leavis: 'the normal woman, whose truly feminine nature satisfies itself in nurturing all the children'
          • Ideology for Victorian readings



    This is so beautiful it makes me what to cry :') <3


    This is really useful and interesting - has given me different perspectives on the characters: thank you!


    A useful reminder of the characters in the novel; could be used as a starting point to make links between characters, looking at similarities, differences and relationships.


    Cracking bit of work

    Love this **** its like parsley to me PARSLEY




    Wot a piece* sorry autocorect

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