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In January 1848 a critic described 'Wuthering Heights' as a "strange sort of book - baffling all regular criticism". To what extent does Emily Bronte challenge and intrigue her readers in the opening chapters of the novel.

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Introduction

In January 1848 a critic described 'Wuthering Heights' as a "strange sort of book - baffling all regular criticism". To what extent does Emily Bronte challenge and intrigue her readers in the opening chapters of the novel. The novel was written in a very traditional time. It was the time that we in the 21st century would think of as very restricted. Women were considered as property. Men had to be honourable. And peasants were just that, Peasants. In the time that this novel was written, people had to read to be able to enjoy themselves. People wanted to be shocked. They wanted the new and exciting. But most of all, they wanted to experience the unorthodox. This novel provided that unorthodox. The start of the 19th century provided the conditions for a gothic revival, which meant people wanted to enjoy the melodramatic, over the top kinds of stories. When Mary Shelly's 'Frankenstein' came out it quenched peoples thirst into the things that should not be. Emily herself was born in Thornton, Yorkshire, in the north of England. Her father was a rector so she got her religious influence of the novel from her father and was forced to spend much time reading the bible, as Joseph made Cathy and Heathcliff do in the novel. ...read more.

Middle

Once Cathy accepts Edgar's proposal, it is a turning point in the storyline because you can see some tension between her and Heathcliff. From the line 'it would degrade me to marry Heathcliff now' you can see that she can't marry him because of the class divide. Even from the word 'degrade' you can see that she isn't happy about that divide and that she really wants to be with him but can't. At this point in the story the modern reader would know that they would get together in the end because that is the way that stories of this type end. I would also think that the normal reader would also think the same. However Emily does challenge convention in that way too because the story ends with Heathcliff's death. None of the story tries to fit in with the rest of the world and I think that is the way that Emily Bronte wanted the story to unfold. At the start I said that she couldn't even write under her own name because she would not have been accepted. That is the way that the story was written. ...read more.

Conclusion

It allows for Emily Bronte to try showing us the way she wants the world to be, by showing us the opposite and using real life elements, and in this method lets us emphasise with the characters in it and what they are going through. The novel would almost certainly have had a huge impact on literature at the time. For example some critics hated the book, while others thought that it would change the face of literature for years to come. I think that the novel did change the face of literature in the time because of the way that it is very frank and tells things like they were. Emily Bronte was not afraid of the class system and showed all of the disadvantages in it in one novel. The novel also had an influence in culture because of the way that soon after the novel was published changes started to happen in the class system and the novel also laid the path for women to try to write stories. Because of that fact, more women did write stories and it started to change the way that women were viewed in society. Matthew Abraham English - Wuthering Heights 28/04/2007 Coursework - 1 - ...read more.

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