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A Critical Analysis of an extract from Emily Bronte(TM)s Wuthering Heights

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Introduction

A Critical Analysis of an extract from Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights The extract in focus is typically gothic, with the protagonist, Lockwood, finding himself alone at night for the first time in Heathcliff's sinister home, Wuthering Heights. The central tensions of the novel are evident from the passage: the contrast between freedom and confinement; the line between being awake and asleep; and finally, fear evoking madness. These tensions allude to the boundary between fantasy and reality which is obscured in the extract, making it both terrifying and simultaneously, exciting to read. The first tension that will be analysed is that between freedom and confinement. The passage begins with references to nature, 'the gusty wind', juxtaposed with Lockwood who was 'lying in the oak closet', the monosyllabic, consonant, words implying a claustrophobic sense. The novel's setting is based on the moors, barren fields, and contrary to the situation in the extract, where Lockwood is trapped inside his room, with the fear of the 'child's face' motivating his prison like state. ...read more.

Middle

The breaking of glass happens on numerous occasions in the extract, 'I pulled its wrist on to the broken pane.' The act is foreboding for the mythical bad luck reasons, yet it also shows a complete loss of sanity and breakdown of emotions. Furthermore, glass also relates to mirrors, which too have providence in the novel as they have the underlying connotations of a divided self, a paramount theme in Wuthering Heights and immediately linking to the theme of madness. This idea of a divided self is also used in Frankenstein through both Frankenstein himself and the monster he created. More obviously however, it is shown that the relationship between male and female is divided. Whereas in Wuthering Heights, Cathy and Heathcliff need one another to survive as a whole, Frankenstein's relationship with Elizabeth cannot survive as the monster will not allow it due to Frankenstein's refusal to 'create a female' for the monster. Just as Frankenstein hoped for happiness with his marriage to Elizabeth, the monster also wishes for a companion equal to him that will, in turn, 'perfectionate' as Elizabeth would do with Frankenstein, in his 'weak and faulty natures.' ...read more.

Conclusion

This central tension is very similar to that in Dracula, as Lucy also fears sleep as when she is sleeping she is bitten causing her to become weak. The idea of being semi-unconscious and therefore unprotected and vulnerable is the reason why sleep is so feared in Wuthering Heights and is described as 'the intense horror of nightmare.' Lockwood notes that he 'observed...when awake' and Heathcliff states no one will thank you for a doze in such a den!', implying that, in Gothic fashion, the supernatural terror that occurs only does at night when the victim is asleep and oblivious. This idea of being oblivious is comparable to Lockwood distorting the truth, 'I had the misfortune to scream in my sleep, owing to a frightful nightmare', which further leads to madness as already mentioned. Therefore, in conclusion, the extract analysed has many typical gothic traits as well as being enigmatic as the passion the characters demonstrate gives the novel and extract a human twist, making the supernatural elements more realistic and thus more terrifying. ?? ?? ?? ?? Emma Williams ...read more.

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