Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte and Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte and Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

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The novels Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte and Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
each present a story in which the precariousness of social class and the perniciousness of love constitute a central conflict. Both the protagonist from Wuthering Heights, Heathcliff, and the protagonist from Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth Bennet, share a confident, yet stubborn demeanor; however, there are many characteristics and events that distinguish each of them as strong central characters in their own right.
This is evident in the way each character progresses throughout each of the novels. Elizabeth Bennet, an intelligent and cheerful young lady belonging to the middle class, is extremely offended by Fitzwilliam Darcy’s (a well off gentleman) snobbish comment at a ball when he says that Elizabeth is “…tolerable; but not handsome enough to tempt me,” (Austen 13) because she believes that he is very pompous and aloof. Overall, Elizabeth is a character who has “…a lively, playful disposition, which delighted in anything ridiculous,” (Austen 14) and this comes through in the way she views life as a whole. In addition to being very fun loving, Elizabeth states her opinion very boldly and does not care to follow what was considered the proper etiquette at the time. For example, when Darcy is speaking of the “perfect” woman and says that he knows only a handful because “a woman must have a thorough knowledge of music, singing, drawing, dancing, all the modern languages…” (Austen 44) in order for him to marry her, Elizabeth curtly replies “I am no longer surprised at your knowing only six accomplished women. I rather wonder now at your knowing any.” (Austen 44) Because Elizabeth prides herself as being a good judge of character, as the novel cont...

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...whereas Heathcliff is cruel, coldhearted, and incapable of showing any affection after having is heart broken. Although they both started off as despising the people they end up loving, the outcome of each situation is very different due to the unique circumstances each character is in. Two highly important novels in the realm of English literature, Wuthering Height and Pride and Prejudice provide distinct outlooks on the issue of marriage, the topic of romance, and the substantiality of class differences in the form of Heathcliff and Elizabeth. Both characters defy class expectations, are fearless in their actions, have very bold personalities, and are portrayed as strong and independent figures.

Works Cited

Austen, Jane. Pride and Prejudice. Boston: McDougal Littell, 1998. Print.
Brontë, Emily. Wuthering Heights. New York, NY: Barnes & Noble, 2004. Print.

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