Englis L+L A2 - Wuthering Heights: Context

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Historical Background

Social and Economic Context:

- Orphans, foundlings and child beggars were a common social problem during the 19th Century

- When families weren't able to feed or protect their children, they left them in workhouses or churches hoping that Christian charity or social justice would take care of them

- The industrial revolution meant the population shifted from rural areas to to towns and cities

Property Laws in the 18th Century

- Catherine Linton can't inherit TG when her father dies and the property goes to Linton Heathcliff as their is a male dominance -> If Linton dies then the property would return to Catherine Linton and this is why Heathcliff is so forceful on getting her to marry Linton because the property would then become his (daughter-in-law)

Men and Women

- Women writers had been prohibited from writing social or political criticism

- Rural setting symbolises position of women being isolated from culture and modern industry

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Historical Background Continued...

Revolution

- American Revolution where thirteen colonies separated themselves from the British Empire to form the USA

- French Revolution had a huge impact on the whole of Europe

- Heathcliff can be seen as a revolutionary character who is born into social rank but is determined to bring down the two households

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Literary Background

General Information

- Heathcliff can be seen as a Byronic hero

- Gothic romance as ghosts and dreams are a key part of the novel

Family Influences

- Brought up by her Auntie in the parsonage at Haworth and lived separate to her community

- Enjoyed looking at literary compositions, especially the sagas of the mythical islands of Gondal which inspired her poetry later on in life -> Poetic quality of her writing in WH is seen as one of the novel's biggest strengths

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