In every author’s life, there is an event or sequence of childhood/ early adulthood events that have shaped the author’s life and general point of view. These events often color or influence the author’s outlook and filter their way into the author’s work. In Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte, this is clearly shown.
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The reader sees an extraordinary inwardness in Emily Bronte’s book Wuthering Heights. Emily has a gloomy and isolated childhood. . Says Charlotte Bronte, “ my sister’s disposition was not naturally gregarious; circumstances favored and fostered her tendency to seclusion; except to go to church, or to take a walk on the hills, she rarely crossed the threshold of home.”(Everit,24) That inwardness, that remarkable sense of the privacy of human experience, is clearly the essential vision of Wuthering Heights.
Emily Bronte saw the principal human conflict as one between the individual and the dark, questioning universe, a universe symbolized, in her novel, both by man’s threatening and hardly-to-be-controlled inner nature, and by nature in its more impersonal sense, the wild lonesome mystery of the moors. The love of Heathcliff and Catherine, in its purest form, expresses itself absolutely in its own terms. These terms may seem to a typical mind, violent, and even disgusting. But having been generated by that particular love, they are the proper expressions of it. The passionately private relationship of Heathcliff and Catherine makes no reference to any social convention or situation. Only when Cathy begins to be attracted to the well-mannered ways of Thrushcross Grange, she is led, through them, to abandon her true nature.
Inwardness is also the key to the structure of the novel. The book begins in the year 1801, on the very rim of the tale, long after the principal incidents of the story have taken place. Mr. Lockwood, our guide, is very far removed from the central experiences of the narrative. Under Lockwood’s sadly unperceptive direction, the reader slowly begins to understand what is happening at Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange. Gradually we move toward the center of the novel. In a few chapters, Nelly Dean, takes over from Lockwood, and the reader is a little closer to the truth. Still Nelly is herself unperceptive and the reader must struggle hard till reaching the center of the novel; the passionate last meeting of Heathcliff and Cathy in Chapter 15.
The reader is permitted for a moment to stare into the heart of both of them. Such inwardness, both of content and of structure, is particularly characteristic of writers of the Romantic Period. These writers mainly concentrate their works on man’s inner nature and how there is a hard core of violence in every man. In the early nineteenth century, a new kind of hero appeared. The Satanic hero is a figure of strength and creativity, like older heroes, but now a creature of darkness and rebellious passion as well. For example, during the early nineteenth century, there first began to appear the idea that Satan, and not god, might be the true hero of Milton’s Paradise Lost. Milton describes Satan in terms that would surely seem a good description of Heathcliff. The Romantic writers during Emily bronte’s time period greatly influenced her work, Wuthering Heights. For a period estimated from eight month to two years, Emily was a teacher at Miss Patchett’s school at Law Hill. There is a story with the house, in which Emily is living in. Summarized briefly, the story is as follows.
John Walker, has adopted his nephew, Jack Sharp. Jack “ abused his uncle’s kindness, developed an overbearing and unscrupulous character, and gradually possessed himself of the main interests in the business” of his uncle. Walker’s oldest son took no part in the business, so when the second son died and walker retired and left the district sharp remained in possession of the business and the hall. In 1771 the oldest son married and gave his cousin notice to quit the hall. The son arrived with a charming wife, but his estate was mortgaged and the hall badly in despair, only two rooms being suitably furnished. Her charter triumphed, nevertheless, over all difficulties, and they managed to retain their place in local society. Jack sharp took his ill-gotten gains and built law hill, the house in which Miss Patchett’s school was later located. This story has a strong resemblance to the relations of Heathcliff to the Earnshaw family, so strong that it is almost impossible to deny that it must have been in part at least the source of that element of the plot of Wuthering Heights. The close association of the story with the house in which Emily was living makes it equally probable that she could not have escaped hearing it.
The years 1837-1838 were, as shown by her poetry, years during which her imagination was very much aroused and the fact that it was during this period that she heard of the events connected with Jack Sharp would have aided in etching them powerfully on her memory. (Everitt,27) In conclusion, Emily Bronte’s early childhood influences and events have taken a great affect on her literary work, Wuthering Heights. Emily’s novel is said to be one of the finest novel in the English language.
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