Wuthering Heights

Wuthering Heights: Gender Does Not Corroborate Behavior 12th Grade

Emily Bronte, author of Wuthering Heights, grew up during a time of very concrete gender expectations. In the mid 1800s, English women and men understood that their genders appropriated distinct behavioral notions that they should inherit. For example, women were expected to grow and aspire to marry established men whom they would serve and take care of. Women had very little room for opinion, and would often be physically or emotionally punished if they “misbehaved” in any way. Men were the workers; they made the money that allowed for property and food. Thus, they had automatic dominance over their spouses. Throughout the novel, Bronte presents examples of these stereotypes, but also includes characters who break the premises of the stereotypes as well. She demonstrates that behavior is not an effect of a person’s genetics; it is a direct repercussion of their environment. Bronte uses gender stereotypes from the 1800s, setting, and characterization in order to argue that gender does not define a person’s behavior or characteristics; instead, environment does.

Certain characters in the novel do not settle into the mold of their stereotypes, and these characters allow the reader to experience different behaviors from a male and...

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