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Briefly outline the main features of the Gothic genre and compare how effectively they are used in ‘Wuthering Heights’ and ‘The Woman in Black’

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Introduction

25th February 2001 Briefly outline the main features of the Gothic genre and compare how effectively they are used in 'Wuthering Heights' and 'The Woman in Black' The Gothic genre became popular in the mid-eighteeth centuary when 'The Castle of Otranto' by Horace Warpole was written. Emily Bronte was influence by 'The Bridegroom of Barna', published in the nineteenth centuary when writing 'Wuthering Heights'. Today, the equivalent of the Gothic novel a horror novel by writers such as Steven King. "The Woman in Black' is a modern novel with Gothic influences. The main features of the Gothic novels were the main character, usually an anti hero: dark, demonic and motivated by inhuman cruelty. This man usually had mysterious origins and did not value many of society's morals. Later, in the nineteenth centuary when the Romantic movement developed, the Gothic anti-hero became the Byronic hero in many novels. Like the Gothic protagonist, the Byronic hero usually had a mysterious past, as well as dark, good looks and a hatred for society's moral laws. Heathcliff, in Emily Bronte's novel 'Wuthering Heights', is a good example of a Byronic hero. Another important feature of many Gothic novels is the setting. ...read more.

Middle

This description not only describes Heathcliff's looks but also his charater, bleak suggesting his personality and "hilly" describing the mood swings he has. Heathcliff's desire for revenge against Edgar Linton, Hindley Earnshaw and, to a certain extent, Cathy, is shown by his actions during the novel. He abuses Hindley's son Hareton, as well as Edgar's sister Isabella and his daughter Catherine. In contrast to 'Wuthering Heights', 'The Woman in Black' does not have a clear anti hero. Instead there are two characters who share this role. They are Arthur Kipps and the woman in black, Jennet Humfrye. Kipps is not the traditional Gothic hero because he does not have dark, good looks or a mysterious past. Instead, he is more like Lockwood or Edgar Linton in 'Wuthering Heights'. The other main character shares some of the traits of the revenger and the victim in many Gothic novels. Jennet Humfrye is a ghost who had lost a child she had out of wedlock and died of a wasting disease. She is now revenging herself on innocent victims. Whilst the idea of revenge is similar to the Gothic hero, Humfrye is a very different character because she is dead and also a woman. ...read more.

Conclusion

In 'The Woman in Black', Arthur Kipps is very sceptical about the existence of the woman in black to begin with and does not recognise the ghost when he first encounters her, describing her as "another mourner, a woman". There are, however, clues that the woman is a ghost, just like in Wuthering Heights. She is dressed in a very old fashioned dress and disappears very suddenly. I think elements of the Gothic genre are used very effectively in both 'The Woman in Black' and 'Wuthering Heights', especially since neither novel is specifically a Gothic novel. I think that the theme of revenge is most prominent in 'Wuthering Heights' because it is the driving force behind the passion of Heathcliff's character. I think the setting of the story is used to great effect in 'The Woman in Black' because the adverse weather and desolate marsh add a lot of atmosphere and tension to the plot. I personally prefer 'Wuthering Heights' because I feel that Emily Bronte has managed to create characters with great depth and has managed to effectively portray the passion between Heathcliff and Cathy. Also, whilst 'Wuthering Heights' does have Gothic features to it, Bronte does not let them compromise the storyline in any way. ?? ?? ?? ?? Jess Crawford ...read more.

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