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Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte and Maurice by E.M. Forster

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Derrick Matthews December 13, 2002 ENGL 211 Different in more ways than one An interesting plot isn't always enough to make a novel a good piece of literature. It's the believability of the characters that ensnares the reader into the world that the author has created. As characters develop, so do their interactions with one another. In Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte and Maurice by E.M. Forster, each novel's main characters have relationships which shape the story with their uniquely definable characteristics. The relationships between Catherine and Heathcliff, as well as Maurice and Alec both say different things about the fundamental nature of a relationship, the validity of union between different classes, and the idea that "love conquers all." Whether we consider the relationship between Catherine and Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights to be successful is not the focus of this discussion, instead it is the nature of their relationship. Ever since childhood the two were best of friends and shared a very close bond. Illustrating this, in Chapter 9 Catherine says, "It would degrade me to marry Heathcliff, now; so he shall never know how I love him...because he's more myself than I am. ...read more.


A major initial setback for Maurice to develop his relationship with Alec was surprisingly not about society's view on homosexuality (although it certainly was a significant component); even then countries such as France and Italy did not view it as a crime. Instead he found himself viewing Alex inferior to himself because he was a servant at Penge; Alec was a member of a lower class. Considering how much hardship Maurice had to deal with over his inner conflict of wanting to be heterosexual, it seems fairly infantile that he could ultimately deal with that but not the difference in class. One possible explanation is because since sexual activity of any sort was such a taboo topic, it was easier for Maurice to develop his own ideas independent from societal influence. The only person who told him explicitly how to sexually behave was Mr. Ducie, whose lack of credibility and lack of advice about emotional relationships resulted in Maurice's dismissal of his conversation. Despite a rather rocky start consisting of self-denial and blackmail, Maurice and Alec get together, overcoming their class differences. Interestingly enough, however, Maurice is forced to give up his job to be with Alec, and Alec is forced to relinquish his chance of elevating himself in class, putting them in the same social stratum. ...read more.


Forster clearly wants to fulfill the classic idea of love conquering all, and it's made apparent by the plot. For one, instead of having only one relationship like Heathcliff, Maurice has two main relationships throughout the novel. This way, Maurice has a sort of second chance to attain that happy ending that Heathcliff never had because of his obsession over the same person his entire life. The ending also reflects Forster's desire; even with no seemingly logical reason for Alec and Maurice to come together, they do anyway. Forster's want for this ending is almost too apparent as it makes the ending to Maurice seem rushed, unrealistic, and leaves the development of their relationship left to be desired. Without exception, characters and their interactions are what make the story. Not only do these interactions drive plot, but the way these relationships are constructed govern so much more. In Bronte's Wuthering Heights and Forster's Maurice, the main couples are used by the author to comment on relationship fundamentals, the effect of class differences on couples, and the classic idea that "love conquers all." One would be hard-pressed to find two couples that differed in more ways than Catherine and Heathcliff do from Maurice and Alec. 1 ...read more.

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