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How do any one or two works present the relation of individualism and guidance?

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Introduction

P2/T2 (PRINCIPAL COURSE) ENGLISH - MODULE 220 VICTORIAN LITERATURE Dr. D.Wynne I'll walk where my own nature would be leading: It vexes me to choose another guide: (Emily Bronte, 'Often Rebuked') How do any ONE OR TWO works present the relation of individualism and guidance? Both Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights and Charlotte Bronte's Villette explore individuals who attempt to "walk where [their] own nature would be leading". To guide these highly spirited and independent characters is at once difficult and exhilarating. What sort of guides are they offered? What sort of guides do they avoid? Starting from the female protagonists, such as Catherine Earnshaw and Lucy Snowe, who find themselves trapped in the realm of womanhood and their society's expectations of it, (especially within the domestic/family sphere); to the likes of Heathcliff, the obvious outsider, who at once seems beyond what society can offer him; these characters bring to the fore the difficult relation between guidance and what it means to be an individual. Like George Eliot's critical essay of Sophocles' Greek play: 'Antigone and It's Morals', (Eliot 1992) the protagonists struggle and search for their own guidance, which provokes intense consequences - consequences that eventually, like Antigone (her life) end in paying (in part) with their individuality. In fact, as women, individualism and guidance were key factors in the lives of the two authors. ...read more.

Middle

Yet they are not the same people. The younger Cathy is stronger, and is able to pass through the (teenage) romantic delusion, that her mother could not, by recognising and deciding to distance herself from Edgar Linton. Hareton, the embodiment of the younger Heathcliff, is able to read, so that he can interpret and understand his surrounding clearly, (rather than missing any part of 'the conversation'). What remains to be answered, however is whether these individuals can avoid being haunted and ultimately guided by the "unquiet slumbers" of their predecessors, that Lockwood found so hard to imagine. "Unquiet slumbers" is an apt description for the passions of the protagonists in each of the two novels. Lucy Snowe, in fact experiences an opium induced walk through the night, instead of sleeping. Yet because Charlotte Bronte centred 'on the individual attempting to survive in [a hostile] world', (Green, 1974) Lucy Snowe distances herself from such feminine sensibilities. She will not allow herself to be guided by her imagination, and ultimately her heart. She cannot afford to, hence "instead of presenting characters as the unimpeded flowering of individual, simple, passionate essences, Charlotte sees life as a long struggle for existence between the individual and her or his [like Heathcliff] environment", (Green, 1974). ...read more.

Conclusion

and unwelcoming world the characters of the two novels, in particular Lucy and Heathcliff, the two outsiders, are the exceptions to the conventional guiding forces of birth names, religion, the heart, and human justice. Lucy almost shows that she feels safer alone. She has an immense amount of courage, indispensable to her in a foreign country without any close relations, and then to find her only true love presumably swept out to sea. The metaphor of her past life - the shipwreck, shows in some cases that her life, without any family is without any real compass or direction, but she takes hold of her destiny (or repressed individuality) with a firm hand, like the nun, she realises 'approach I must - courage one step'. Heathcliff, alternatively, finds his courage or individuality in his own hurt. The bitter man that he evolves to be cannot find another guide because the one that he felt himself to be - Cathy, in his eyes has forsaken him. Both learn to take care of themselves, yet in some ways, superficially. Lucy uses her clandestine tradition as a safe haven, retreating the minute she is hurt into her own bosom, concentrating on what the reader assumes rather than on her own feelings, and Heathcliff eventual allows himself to be guided to the ultimate void, or in his case salvation- united with his Other - Cathy (both part of his individuality and his guide) in death. ...read more.

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