Does the modern reader share this view of Heathcliff?
Author of Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë, was born in Thornton,
Yorkshire on 30 July 1818. She was born the fifth of six children and
died at the age of thirty from consumption. The Brontë children had a
love for creating stories and small books, but it was sisters
Charlotte, Emily and Anne who embarked on writing their own novels.
They published their work under the names of Currer, Ellis and Acton
Bell, not willing to declare themselves as female authors because of
the sheer intensity of passion contained in their novels, which would
not have been considered at all feminine at the time. It was beyond
the thoughts of a woman.
Wuthering Heights was first published in 1847. Emily's deep attachment
and love for the North Yorkshire Moors gave her the inspiration she
needed to write this novel. She spent her days sitting out on the
moors as a child and believed that the only way to experience God was
through nature, this is reflected in the novel in the characters of
Heathcliff and Cathy.
All the action of Wuthering Heights takes place in or around two
neighbouring houses on the moors - Thrushcross Grange and Wuthering
Heights, representing opposing worlds and values. Although the
Lintons, occupants of The Grange, held no official titles of their
own, they were wealthy and Edgar may been seen as the conventional
Victorian gentleman. Whether or not a man was a gentleman or not would
involve asking questions such as how much land he owned or how many
servants he had. The situation at Wuthering Heights was however quite
different. The Earnshaws rested upon much shakier ground socially.
... middle of paper ...
...would be appalled by.
Heathcliff is referred to in satanic and demonic ways throughout the
book. He is termed wicked and unruly, cruel and spiteful. Emily Brontë
continues to shock the reader with scenes of violence and malevolence
throughout the novel, however we sometimes expect that perhaps
Heathcliff's character could contain a much softer side and that it is
his frustrated love for Cathy which brings out he fieriness. Either
way conservative modern or Victorian readers would be both outraged by
his demonic character. Those who live quiet and introverted lives will
be overwhelm by the violence that one man may cause. In today's
society we are much more exposed to cruelty on television and radio,
even in the streets. We are made aware from a young age and perhaps
would be not find Heathcliff's violent attitude as hard to accept as
the Victorians did.
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