Comparison of "The Thirteenth Tale" and "Wuthering Heights" Essay

Comparison of "The Thirteenth Tale" and "Wuthering Heights" Essay

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“All children mythologize their birth. It is a universal trait. You want to know someone? Heart, mind, and soul? Ask him to tell you about when he was born. What you get won’t be the truth; it will be a story. And nothing is more telling than a story.” – Vida Winter, Tales of Change and Desperation (Setterfield). The two novels The Thirteenth Tale, by Diane Setterfield, and Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte were written decades apart, yet they have similar elements. Wuthering Heights is a work of gothic fiction with some Victorian elements as well. Being that the two novels are so similar is it plausible that The Thirteenth Tale could be considered gothic fiction. It seems to fall under that category. They both use techniques such as the supernatural, family curses, mystery, madness, secrets, confused identities, lies, and half-truths (Ryan). The techniques of narration and establishing setting are similar in The Thirteenth Tale and Wuthering Heights.


The tone in Wuthering Heights is dreary and melancholy. This style provides the dark atmosphere to the story. Most of the story is conveyed through the narration of Ellen Dean. Setterfield uses a similar style in her story. Most of the story in her book is told by Vida Winter. The technique of flashbacks is used in both books. In both novels the two characters Lockwood and Margaret start out the story from their perspective, later the narrator changes. Wuthering Heights’s Mr. Lockwood hears the story from Ellen Dean (Nelly) much like Margaret hears the story from Vida Winter in The Thirteenth Tale. The two stories are broken up into sections due to interruptions made by the storyteller and situations that arise. The story of Wuthering Heights is told through flashbacks recorde...


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...t runs into Aurelius on the moors. Soon after she tells him of a secret of which she discovered, that has to do with him. The moors bring people together.
Both novels end on a more cheerful note. There is hope for the future. Aurelius has found the family he always dreamed of having. Hareton and Cathy will live a life together; they will be married on New Years, which symbolizes a new beginning. Hareton and Cathy represent an improved version of Heathcliff and Catherine, showing what they could have become if their situations were different. Love triumphs over revenge. Miss Winter tried to leave her past behind her, but it had caught up with her and she felt compelled to share it. She can now be free from the ghosts of her past. Margaret conquers her own personal problems and comes to terms with herself. Mysteries are revealed, plots unwound, and ghosts released.

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