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Trace the theme of madness and supernatural in Emily Bront->'s "Wuthering Heights".

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Introduction

Trace the theme of madness and supernatural in Emily Bront?'s "Wuthering Heights". Set in the desolate Yorkshire moors, "Wuthering Heights" is the story of Catherine and Heathcliff. It is a story of passion and violence, a story of madness and supernatural. It starts off when a Victorian gentleman by the name of Lockwood wants to rent the house called Thrushcross Grange. He goes to his landlord's home a few miles away. Ancient and unwelcoming, the house is a perfect reflection of Heathcliff, the landlord. Unperturbed by the unfriendliness of the inhabitants, Lockwood proceeds to rent Thrushcross Grange. Later, during the harsh winter of the moors, Lockwood falls ill and while he is recuperating, he asks his housekeeper, Nelly, to tell him about Heathcliff and explain the strange behaviour of the inhabitants of Wuthering Heights. While Nelly tells her tales, Lockwood writes them in his diary. These writings form the main basis of "Wuthering Heights". Nelly starts the story with her childhood, where she was a servant at Wuthering Heights. At the time, the Earnshaw family lived there. Mr and Mrs Earnshaw and their children Hindley and Catherine. One day, Mr Earnshaw went away and came back with a dark skinned boy who he named Heathcliff. Though she hated him at first, Catherine and Heathcliff soon became best of friends. Hindley, however, is still very cruel to Heathcliff who is not much bothered by it because he is Mr Earnshaw's favourite. When Mrs Earnshaw dies, this becomes even more so and Hindley's cruelty worsens. Due to this, Mr Earnshaw sends Hindley away to college, keeping Heathcliff nearby. Three years later, Mr Earnshaw dies and Hindley inherits Wuthering Heights. He comes back with a wife, Frances and proceeds to take his revenge on Heathcliff. Once a pampered son, Heathcliff is now a common labourer, forced to work in the fields. However, his relationship with Catherine is as strong as ever. ...read more.

Middle

Women also couldn't inherit property and this is what allows Heathcliff to get ownership of Thrushcross Grange when he marries Isabella and to control it completely when he forces Cathy to marry Linton. There is also the idea of women as being helpless creatures who must always be protected and rescued. This is shown through Edgar and Isabella when Edgar prohibits her to meet Heathcliff. He obviously thinks he is protecting her but he is also taking away Isabella's freedom of choice. The most important Gothic element of the novel is its setting, Wuthering Heights. A big, old house set at the top a lonely hill, with no other houses nearby. It has "narrow windows", "grotesque carvings" and unfriendly inhabitants. The interior is just as unwelcoming with fierce animals, little light and cold rooms. The weather and elements around the house are similar. The wind is fierce and storms are common. This is in complete contrast to Thrushcross Grange, which is described as "opulent", "carpeted with crimson", "beautiful". The inhabitants of the two houses are complte opposites too. At the Heights, everyone is tougher and harder while the inhabitants of the Grange are softened and more civilised by all the luxury. It is a parallel that runs through the whole novel. The passionate Earnshaws versus the civilised Lintons. Incidents in the novel also suggest that either of the two families would never fit in at the other's house. E.g. Before her death Catherine realises that the heights is the oly place that she wants to be at, Isabella goes "mad" at the Heights etc. The Yorkshire moors that the novel is set in are also very Gothic. They are wild, untamed; almost with a life of their own and the role they play is crucial in the story as they are a metaphor for all that Catherine and Heathcliff represent; passion, violence and a love that transcends even death. ...read more.

Conclusion

She can also hear him mumbling in low tones, talking to someone who isn't there. He believes Catherine has been haunting him for years, and now that he is near death, he acts as though Catherine's spirit is closer than ever. The next morning, Nelly was alone with Heathcliff during breakfast. He asked Nelly if they were alone, as his eyes fix on a person whom Nelly can't see. He is looking outside the house, and seemed troubled by what the ghost told him. Nelly saw nothing and tried again to get him to eat. After a late-night walk on the moors, Nelly hears Heathcliff come inside. He is addressing Catherine, and speaking to her as though she were alive and present. The closer Heathcliff grows to death, the more contact he seems to have with Catherine's ghost. Heathcliff gives another clue of Catherine's haunting when he tells Cathy that even if everyone else hated him, there was still one who would want his company, chasing him always. When Nelly enters Heathcliff's room, his eyes seem to look intensely at her, and his lips to smile. But he is dead, and the window to the moors is wide open. His face looks so strangely happy that Nelly tries to close his eyes, but they will not. His expression of joy seems frozen for all eternity. In the last chapter, we have the final incident of supernatural. Many townspeople believe Heathcliff is a ghost, and some claim to have met him along the moors, by the church, or in Wuthering Heights. Joseph also believes he has seen Heathcliff and Catherine looking out her window on rainy nights. One day, Nelly met a terrified shepherd, who was only a young boy. He claimed to have seen Heathcliff and a woman, who would not let him pass on the road. Nelly tries not to believe, but she still does not go out alone at night, or stay alone in the house if she can avoid it. ?? ?? ?? ?? Aarohi Shah Wuthering Heights 04/05/2007 ...read more.

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