Class and Gender in Wuthering Heights

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Conflict as a result of class and gender division is a common theme seen throughout Emily Brontë's novel Wuthering Heights. Social contrasts and gender boundaries create oppression and tension amongst the characters, affecting their composure and behaviour throughout the novel. The most obvious distinction between upper and lower classes is with the two settings; Thrushcross Grange and Wuthering Heights. Both places differ significantly in both disposition and appearance. The society in Wuthering Heights is that of the working class. Wuthering Heights is a worn out farm that represents difficulty; ruthlessness, and hard work. Life at Wuthering Heights is more domestic yet spiteful revenge and personal struggles envelop the characters that live there. Thrushcross Grange is located in the valley and represents refinement, comfort and wealth. The society of Thrushcross Grange is of higher nobility; such as the Linton's were, those who lived here were well mannered individuals. "A splendid place carpeted with crimson--covered chairs and tables, and a pure white ceiling bordered by gold, a shower of glass-drops hanging in silver chains from the center, and shimmering with little soft tapers" (Brontë, 140). The interior decorations at the Grange are much more elaborate in comparison with those found at Wuthering Heights. The weather also plays a comparable role to both Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange, it was always much calmer at Thrushcross Grange and it was always windy or storming at Wuthering Heights. Heathcliff's character parallels with the qualities possessed by The Heights; he is depicted as a member of lower class and does not have the qualities necessary to live at Thrushcross Grange. Cold, dark, and... ... middle of paper ... ...cation as she does. "Those books, both prose and verse, were consecrated to me by other associations, and I hate to have them debased and profaned in his mouth!" (Brontë, 395). Catherine goes on to ridicule Hareton further by imitating aloud how a beginner would read. Eventually Catherine and Hareton become friends and she helps with his education, only then does Hareton become a gentleman and finally overcomes his rough behaviour. Wuthering Heights shows the repression between social classes and gender subjection. The settings in the novel provide insight to the characters social interactions and positions from either Wuthering Heights or Thrushcross Grange, the contrasts between these places are what truly make the overall presentation of the story so enticing. Works Cited Brontë, Emily. Wuthering Heights. Toronto: Broadview Press Ltd, 2002.
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