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In your opinion, how does this quotation represent Bronte's exploration of the Gothic Tradition through the central characters Heathcliff and Catherine, and their struggle to adapt to conventional society in her novel Wuthering Heights?

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Introduction

Wuthering Heights Essay In chapter Twenty nine of Wuthering Heights, Heathcliff informs Nelly Dean:- 'I got the sexton who was digging Linton's grave, to remove the earth off her coffin-lid, and I opened it.' In your opinion, how does this quotation represent Bronte's exploration of the Gothic Tradition through the central characters Heathcliff and Catherine, and their struggle to adapt to conventional society in her novel Wuthering Heights? Wuthering Heights is a classic example of the Gothic romance, a type of novel that flourished in the later 18th and 19th century. Gothic romances were traditionally mysteries, often involving the supernatural and heavily tinged with horror. They were usually set against dark backgrounds such as haunted buildings and barren, threatening, country sides. Gothic romance dealt with cultural and social issues in conventional society. The gothic setting in Wuthering Heights suggests a wild and primitive landscape unconstrained by conventional ideas. We are first introduced to Wuthering Heights as it appears to the middle class Mr Lockward. Wild stormy and primitive, the house represents everything unacceptable, unconventional and unorthodox. ...read more.

Middle

She is blinded by prejudice towards people who are beneath her, which is how she now sees Heathcliff. She says to Nelly: "It would degrade me to marry Heathcliff now; so he shall never know how I love him; and that, not because he's handsome Nelly, but because he's more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, His and mine are the same, and Linton's is as different as a moon beam from lightening, or frost from fire". It is the loss of Catherine that turns Heathcliff into a monstrous villain, shunned by, and shunning society. In rejecting Heathcliff, and choosing to marry Edgar Linton, Catherine has chosen a status that is acceptable in conventional society. This leaves her soul mate Heathcliff alone. Eventually, Heathcliff leaves Wuthering Heights in despair. When he returns, having made a fortune, the spirit of revenge drives him. He torments the lives of Catherine, her new husband Linton, Hindley, and the generations that follow. He wants them to suffer for the pain and suffering that he has experienced. ...read more.

Conclusion

His wanting to rejoin Catherine helps to explain most of his actions including his attempts to seize power over everyone associated with Catherine. He says "When I'm laid there...I'll have made it so and then by the time Linton gets to us he'll not know which is which". It seems that in this extreme scene when he opens the coffin, he realises that her corpse is a thing that refers to her but not the woman herself. He realises at last that he will never get through to her real presence, to the woman herself, by acquiring and ruining the people and possessions associated with her. This understanding brings Heathcliff a new tranquillity, and from this point on he begins to lose his interest in destruction. When Heathcliff dies, his death is presented as the ultimate fulfilment of his wish not to be alone but to become one with Catherine. It is also a return to innocence which he had known with Catherine as a child. He is happy now because he is united with Catherine, the soul -mate he once had. The two still haunt the moors where they once played endlessly. A fitting end to a Gothic tale. ...read more.

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