As Wuthering heights was written in 1914, the time period, as it portrays in the novel is very different to the life style we lead today. Emily Bronte the author of this highly criticised novel in this era was born in 1818 she had two older sisters Charlotte and Anne who were also writers at this time.
In my own opinion the pre-19 century was more formal and moralised than today’s society we all live in, it may have something to do with the hierarchy or status of men and women today, which was totally different than the late 18th century.
Emily Bronte expresses all her thoughts, feelings and emotions in this novel but as women and children were to be seen and not heard a woman expressing her viewpoint and especially in a novel containing such violence emotions and anger it was classed as degrading.
Although today Wuthering heights is a classical and highly acclaimed novel, which also helps us to understand the differences between today’s society and historical times!
Emily Bronte lived her live in the solitude of the bleak and uncolourful Yorkshire moorlands. Emily was always thought of as a young child to have a creative and vivid imagination, which developed into Emily along with her two older sisters to have the confidence to publish their much worked on novels. The sisters though had much difficulty publishing their texts so they had to publish them under a male pseudonym. Publishing under a male pseudonym didn’t help the sisters and their reputation, as people were appalled with what they were reading whether written by a male or female they thought it was savage they didn’t admit adultery, violence, alcoholism and vengeful revenge really happened! Emily Bronte was published under the male pseudonym of Ellis Bell.
Pre 1914 was a peak time for the gothic period and gothic genre to be written. The gothic context of the genre is associated with this novel because in an overview Wuthering Heights contains some gothic portrayal, such as bleak and desolate locations -Moor lands. Black mists and secrets, which can be associated with Cathy and Heathcliff’s relationship.
Prophecy- Nelly Dean the narrator and us as the reader our predictions and opinions of our expectations towards the characters and happenings in the novelâ€¦ Nelly is portrayed as being able to predict the future and help people in need to find a solution and resolution to their problems. Also evidence of women being threatened by a powerful, impulsive and tyrannical maleâ€¦Edgar Linton overpowering Cathy and luring her in a way to love him because of his status, riches and wealth. Although Heathcliff does act an overpowering and coveted male.
Emily Bronte I feel achieved the differences between all of the characters well, as she has in a way I suppose by adding a unpredictable personality for each of the characters, shows how ones characteristics can vary from the other, in a way it is much more realistic as peoples personalities and characteristics do vary even in today’s society depending on there frame of mind and emotion.
The gothic genre- ‘European romantic pseudomevial fiction having atmosphere of mystery, suspense and often terror.’ The gothic genre also incorporated things for instance- romance, imaginative innovations, horror and as well as violence.
In the time period in which this novel Wuthering Heights was written Emily fulfilled all of the expectations of a gothic novelâ€¦
Romance- Hindley & his wife, after his fathers death. Cathy & Heathcliff, from childhood. Edgar Linton Cathy sees his riches, status and wealth.
Heathcliff & Sarah Linton as part of revenge and to win back Cathy. Cathy & Heathcliff, Cathy is dying and realises her true love.
Atmosphere- Wuthering Heights usually contains a certain unexplainable atmosphere, which us as the reader can sense. In some of the sections of narrative the atmosphere makes us tense, inquisitive along with occasionally scared.
Mixed emotions- mixed emotions all around it seems in this novel with so much going on Emily Bronte couldn’t help but get the reader all mixed up in the emotions as well, confusion, constant love, wondering we endure it all!
The language in Wuthering Heights is so very different to our modern day language in the 21st century. As we tend to often use slang when we communicate in the form of speech whereas in the time period of Emily Bronte pre-1914 language was much more formal and you could understand the true meaning of each single syllable in each word. That is very different from today however. People of higher status used true formal Standard English; people of lower class spoke more formal than we would today, but less formal than people with higher status and higher up in the hierarchy than themselves.
Issues of gender- Males stereotypically were in control unlike today where we are all classed as equal. Cathy didn’t want to be so dull, she wanted adventure and excitement in her life before, during and after her marriage to Edgar Linton. I feel Emily Bronte portrays herself to have something in common with Cathy because she had the nerve to write such a novel I feel expressing her own thoughts and emotions and then saying I will say a man wrote this to get known, then say see we women can achieve things for themselves!
In the novel we encounter two different peoples perspectives, Nelly Dean who is the main narrator Mr. Lockwood who also helps to narrate. Whilst Nelly Dean is narrating we understand what going upon her word actually happened, she helps the reader put forth their own opinion and generally come to terms with all of the past events which are in the present in the novel. With the two narrators it does seem confusing although without the narrators there wouldn’t be much point because the two narrators introduce us as the reader to the story.
M y overview of the novel Wuthering Heights- as a contemporary reader I found the novel an interesting read, it enables us to come to terms with the differences of life in pre 19th century and the 21st century. The gothic genre is a very different type of read I would generally go for but I found that style of novel different and unique. One thing I really enjoyed about this novel is seeing how people were and reacted to situations in them days, overall I can understand why this novel wasn’t very highly rated in the specific time period of the gothic genre and as to why it is a highly acclaimed novel in today’s society