Gothic Elements in Wuthering Heights

  • Created by: SarahE96
  • Created on: 08-05-16 12:45
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  • Gothics Elements
    • The title
      • By giving the text the name of the house Bronte is highlighting the significance of this setting, of the two houses Wuthering Heights is intrinsically more Gothic in sound and subsequent description.
      • 'Wuthering' is associated with decay, gloom and threat, capturing the dark mood of the text.
      • 'Heights' can be interpreted to mean the heights of passion (seen in the novel). it also reminds the reader of the heights from which a family can fall.
      • Typically Gothic in setting the story in a large isolated and gloomy house (usually castle). This isolation highlights further the extreme nature of the characters and the acts that unfold are away from society and its norms.
    • Revenge
      • Heathcliff has a fascination with revenge throughout the novel, blaming the world for losing Cathy, Hindley for limiting him in his youth, Edgar for marrying Cathy and destroying their relationship.
      • Heathcliff raises Hareton in the same conditions he suffered from by Hindley (deprived of an education)
      • Heathcliff marries Edgar's sister Isabella to spite him for marrying Cathy.
      • Heathcliff's revenge is a destructive and consuming force. Yet, it provides him with the energy and purpose to go on without Cathy
    • Horror and Terror
      • Images and elements of horror are used throughout the text. One of the most horrific images created is that of Lockwood grinding the child of Cathy's arm on the broken glass, also Heathcliff's interference with her grave.
      • The character of Heathcliff strikes terror into the reader, with his unpredictable, horrific and transgressive behaviour. His unclear origins and the use of only one name also strike terror into the reader.
    • Blood
      • Lockwood grating Cathy's arm onto the broken glass is the only instance images of blood are used in. There is however, the time when Heathcliff smashes his head on a tree after learning of Cathy's death.
      • This lack of blood makes the scenes with blood in them more memorable and troubling. There are of course acts of violence mainly done by Heathcliff. Ironically the only real blood spilled comes from a ghost.
    • Knowledge and Concealment
      • Wuthering Heights is essentially a novel based upon the revelation of secrets. The reader, like Lockwood the outsider, learns more of the events that unfolded at the Heights as the novel goes on.
      • Some secrets remain so, such as how Heathcliff came into his money. This sense of other stories remaining untold adds to the brooding atmosphere of the text.
    • Transgressive Females
      • Childhood friendship between Cathy and Heathcliff was seen as socially transgressive. Some critics believe Heathcliff to be Mr Earnshaw's illegitimate son, making their relationship incestuous.
      • Isabella disobeys her brother and is ultimately socially ostracised. Cathy also becomes more transgressive over time as she descends into madness.
    • Supernatural
      • Cathy's ghost appearing is one of the main supernatural events in the novel. It is also Heathcliff's inability to let go of Cathy after her death that highlights the cross over between this world and the next. As seen when he digs up her grave.
      • In this text however the more potent force at work is perhaps the natural, rather than the supernatural: The sublime, the sense of awe engendered by and in both the beauty and danger of nature pervades the text, and links closely to the characters of Cathy and Heathcliff, both of whom are depicted as forces of natur.


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