A Critical Analysis of an extract from Emily Bronte(TM)s Wuthering Heights

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A Critical Analysis of an extract from Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights

        The extract in focus is typically gothic, with the protagonist, Lockwood, finding himself alone at night for the first time in Heathcliff’s sinister home, Wuthering Heights. The central tensions of the novel are evident from the passage: the contrast between freedom and confinement; the line between being awake and asleep; and finally, fear evoking madness. These tensions allude to the boundary between fantasy and reality which is obscured in the extract, making it both terrifying and simultaneously, exciting to read.

        The first tension that will be analysed is that between freedom and confinement. The passage begins with references to nature, ‘the gusty wind’, juxtaposed with Lockwood who was ‘lying in the oak closet’, the monosyllabic, consonant, words implying a claustrophobic sense. The novel’s setting is based on the moors, barren fields, and contrary to the situation in the extract, where Lockwood is trapped inside his room, with the fear of the ‘child’s face’ motivating his prison like state.

        The ‘hook…soldered into the staple:’ symbolises Lockwood’s entrapment physically, and even the ellipsis after the words underlines his lack of freedom. Yet ironically, although Lockwood at first wanted to ‘unhasp the casement’, later in the extract he emphasises his state of imprisonment, by ‘pil(ing) the books up in a pyramid’ against the window, showing how his fear is controlling his actions.

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        Moreover, the fact the main action takes place at the window is significant as a window acts as a barrier, blocking freedom, yet also alludes to the mirage of freedom, a metaphor of the central tension. Furthermore, as the glass is monotonously referenced to and glass makes up a window; its transparent quality could suggest the emptiness and falseness of the characters illusion of reality, linking to the fantasy, reality tension and even the theme of madness within the extract.

        Hence the theme of madness is also prominent in the extract. Lockwood states the child was ‘maddening (him) with ...

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