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Explore the presentation of Heathcliffs journey in Wuthering Heights, in the light of the Marxist Perspective.

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Introduction

Explore the presentation of Heathcliff's journey in Wuthering Heights, in the light of the Marxist Perspective. In Wuthering Heights, Bront� show's Marxist view's that 'it is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but their social existence that determines their consciousness'. Bront? first published her text in the form of a novel in 1847. During this time England was influenced by Marx's ideas, socialists in England held a conference in London where they formed a new organisation called the Communist League, the aims of the organisation being to overthrow the old bourgeois society based on class antagonisms and to the establish a new society without classes and without private property. Despite England being influenced by Marx ideas at the time, Bront? created Wuthering Heights: a mix genre novel with themes such as domestic realism, tragedy and gothic love, which were very much open to critic and discussion at the time. This shows the extent to how she was much stipulated in her ideas and therefore Wuthering Heights might not have been influenced by the Marxist ideas at the time. When Heathcliff enters in chapter four with no social or domestic status, emphasised by his 'gibberish that nobody could understand' suggesting his lack of social skills and ability to communicate; his lingual acquisition depends on his surroundings. ...read more.

Middle

Heathcliff is a gypsy and by 'putting up the shutters', 'curtains half closed' while Heathcliff's looking through the window panes shows how the barriers symbolise Bront� presenting the strict Victorian Society which denies Heathcliff's access to culture and education. Trushcross Grange becomes somewhat of a Victorian society's ideal, a materialistic ideal. Catherine's awareness of her social existence results in her new perception that she cannot marry Heathcliff because: 'if Heathcliff and I married, we should be beggars' Even though he is her authentic love and she hints at Heathcliff and her being inseparable she does not follow through. She has already chosen to marry Edgar; and so the novel can be read from a Marxist perspective as Catherine's outlook in marrying Edgar is materialist as she thinks about social reasons and survival, as opposed to the idealistic perspective. Bront� shows how Catherine is affected my material circumstances reflected when she says she will be "queen of the neighbourhood" and does not chose Heathcliff, who can be seen as a symbol of her freedom. However, it can be argued that she never has a choice between the two as the way she is set to think is largely conditioned by the way the economy is organised. Bront? presents through the novel how this economy determines the superstructure and therefore even though Heathcliff stands for Catherine's freedom it is Victorian society's ...read more.

Conclusion

Bronte had suggested Heathcliff's 'good' characteristics when he was silent as a lamb (connotations) and the other children were ill. We realise that the behaviour is cyclical: Heathcliff's poor treatment of Hareton is an outcome of his own poor treatment. Heathcliff does eventually gain power over Thrushcross Grange and Wuthering Heights by rebelling against Victorian Society's system; this could be seen as Heathcliff having freewill despite his social existence. However, even after gaining power, it becomes something destructive and ultimately leads to a tragic end. This is a result of his rejection from Victorian Society, making him suppressed. His rejection is a reflection of Victorian Societies rejection of him as a character, because at the time people were unable to understand Heathcliff because his cruelty and ungoverned love was thought of as inappropriate and the novel was perceived as unreligious. Unlike then, now the gothic love and exploration of class in Wuthering Heights and its passionate characters (mainly Heathcliff) are much more accepted and understood. It can be argued that Heathcliff is never given the opportunity, again due to the base structure, making him almost the antithesis to the Victorian superstructure. So, even after gaining economic power, due to his social existence he remains unhappy and the repercussions are tragic. This suggests that his past is still determining his actions; Heathcliff therefore does not have 'freewill' because his consciousness is determined by his social existence. ...read more.

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