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How effective is Bront's use of gothic conventions in the opening sections of Wuthering Heights?

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Introduction

How effective is Bront�'s use of gothic conventions in the opening sections of Wuthering Heights? Emily Bront� uses many effective and powerful gothic devices in the opening chapters of Wuthering Heights. She exploits tones of mystery and discomfort to create unease with the reader, as well as many different themes of the gothic such as unknown identity, unexplained past, cruelty and nature. She also uses pathetic fallacy in combination with isolationism to show the reader of Lockwood's predicament in the opening chapters. The names created by the author also contain an aspect of the gothic and foreshadow events. Her powerful descriptions of Wuthering Heights and its backdrop using gothic conventions give the reader an excellent idea of sinister atmosphere surrounding the house. She utilises the archetypal techniques of gothic writing in describing Wuthering Heights as a castle and Lockwood's dream in which he sees ghosts. All of these thing show how her opening resonates with the gothic style and creates a daunting scene for the reader. The book was first published in 1847, although it was probably written slightly earlier as Bront� had trouble getting it published as female authors were not appreciated at that time, in a time that is described as the post-romantic era as it was after the time that most romantic novels were written. ...read more.

Middle

We are told of Cathy removing a "long dark book" from the shelve, which is suggesting that it is a book that contains evil things, although it may be harmless. Cathy then tells Joseph that she has "progressed in the Black Art" and that his "rheumatism can hardly be reckoned by providential visitations." Here she is suggesting that it is perhaps due to her doings that Joseph has rheumatism and that only she can cure it, whether this is true or not is left unknown, which adds to the mystery of the book, although it is very likely that Cathy is just trying to scare him and this uncertainty is a powerful gothic device. She is then described by Bront� as a "Little witch", again suggesting she is evil and adding to the gothic uncertainty. Another early point that Bront� uses in this book is her description of Wuthering Heights itself. In the first few pages of the book she describes Wuthering Heights as a castle through the narrator at the time, Lockwood. The word "wuthering" used in the name of the house tells us that the house is subject to strong winds and stormy weather. This is use of pathetic fallacy in the description of the house by Bront�, which tells the reader that it is an unwelcoming place, and it even foreshadows the snow storm in the later chapters. ...read more.

Conclusion

The name Heathcliff, while it does not foreshadow any events, it still gives an insight into the character. The name created by Bront� informs us that he is a man that is very close to nature and has a contrasted personality as the two parts of his name contrast, A heath being a flat, horizontal area of land, where a cliff is vertical and therefore completely the opposite. I believe that Emily Bront� uses many different and powerful gothic devices and conventions in the opening chapters of Wuthering Heights. She develops tones of mystery and anxiety to produce discomfort with the reader, as well as many different topics of the gothic such as unknown identity, unexplained past, cruelty and nature. She also uses pathetic fallacy in combination with isolationism to show the reader of Lockwood's quandary in the opening chapters. Her description of Wuthering Heights in the opening chapter sets the scene for the rest of the book and her intelligent use of names foreshadows events in the book. She makes use of the supernatural to create nervousness amongst the characters which is an excellent use of the gothic. Finally I consider that Emily Bront�'s use of gothic conventions and devices in the opening chapters is particularly powerful and sets the scene excellently for the rest of the book. ?? ?? ?? ?? Harry Chamberlain English Coursework Page 1 of 3 ...read more.

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