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Wuthering heights, Jane Eyre & Pride and Prejudice

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Introduction

WUTHERING HEIGHTS, JANE EYRE & PRIDE AND PREJUDICE Essay written by Melinda Pantazi Wuthering Heights presents the theme of love within and outside of marriage. This book has a major female character whose marriage conflicts in some way with her ideal of love. Catherine's first love is Heathcliff. She falls in love with him as both grow up together. Yet she finds a different kind of love with Edgar Linton. Catherine decides to marry Edgar, who can satisfy her civilized side. When Heathcliff returns to her life, she is torn between marriage and ideal love. Catherine serves as a symbol of Bronte's Romanticism. She is a character who tries unsuccessfully to reconcile her wild nature with her civilized side. In Wuthering Heights, Catherine's love for Heathcliff begins while both are children. Heathcliff, though an orphan, is raised as an equal to Hindley and Catherine while their father is alive to control the Heights. Young Hindley is even jealous of the preferential treatment his father gives to the outsider. Even at this time, Catherine's feelings for Heathcliff are obvious. "She was much too fond of Heathcliff", Nelly tells Mr. Lockwood, "The greatest punishment we could invent for her was to keep her separate from him." They are best friends throughout childhood, but are separated for the first time when Catherine must stay at Thrushcross Grange while her leg heals. ...read more.

Middle

She has beauty, charm, manners, a little intelligence (but not too much), and is very loving and supportive. All of these qualities are said to show the men around her that she would make a good wife. As many discussions about this story have already said, this shows a sexist ideal of the time, that women are only good to be wives. However, along the same standards we find a character such as Charles Bingley, who is thought to be the perfect gentlemen of the time. Bingley is remarkably handsome, affable, rich, and extraordinarily mannerly. All of these characteristics throw the Bennet house of women into a frenzy over who will be fortunate enough to marry Bingley. While this may show a certain dominance-subordinance relationship due to the women clamoring for the hand of a "good man", it also simplifies a man's place: he has to be rich, handsome, and strong. Thereby, all men who are not these things are judged according to what they do have to offer in terms of these three or so categories. In the very beginning of the novel, the Bennet girls' mother says, when asked if Bingley is married, "Oh! Single, my dear, to be sure! A single man of large fortune; four or five thousand a year. What a fine thing for our girls!" (p3, Austen). This shows a simplicity of role for a female, but also an undermining of any personality a man may have. ...read more.

Conclusion

However, if a poll were taken of the people of today's culture at this period of time, almost assuredly it would say that people believe women should get equal pay for equal work. Thus, the danger in judging an entire culture by one or two examples. In this idea, we cannot judge fairly the sexism of Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre, though we can agree that it contains sexist material by today's standards. All three novels show a distinct preference for certain traits in romantic partners. Wealth, appealing looks, and social status are three major points. In connection, the idea of romantic love in the novels presented seems to be a sort of cohabitation between people, instead of a true loving bond. People married for wealth, for higher status, for land, for a comfortable life, but rarely for true love and fulfillment. In choosing partners, both sexes are warned of those who are lazy, poor, lower class socially, or are unmannerly. Men are warned against women who do not obey and who are not pretty. Women are warned against men who are irresponsible, poor, or not handsome. In both novels, the male lover is revered for his wealth and powerful personality. Edgar Linton, Bingley, Darcy, Heathcliff and Rochester are all at least fairly wealthy, and all three have powerful, strong personalities. Rochester and Heathcliff are the only characters who are not seen as very handsome. Jane Bennet, Elizabeth Bennet, Jane Eyre and Catherine Earnshaw all remain celebrated characters for their beauty, grace, strength and strong nature. 5 1 ...read more.

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