Wuthering Heights

Heathcliff as a Reflection of the Age in Bronte's Wuthering Heights

Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights is a perfect parallel to the time in which it was composed. Heathcliff, her protagonist turned antagonist, was brought into a world in which he did not belong, in both a social and economic sense. As he joined the life of two wealthy families who did not appreciate the presence of this undesired "gipsy", Heathcliff finds himself alone and struggling to be recognized. The only two people in his new life who show him any consideration are Mr. Earnshaw, the proprietor who adopted him, and Mr. Earnshaw's daughter Catherine, who immediately falls in love with him. When Catherine rejects him to marry the wealthy Edgar Linton, who can provide her with a life that Heathcliff could not, Heathcliff's self-worth declines until he realizes that his only choice is to turn in the direction of his other ally, Mr. Earnshaw, and become a proprietor as well. Heathcliff's struggle for a place of value mirrors the societal struggle of the time. As the Industrial Revolution peaked, the working masses struggled for a place, and amidst their cruel treatment searched for a better tomorrow. In her criticism of the context in which she lived, Bronte utilizes Heathcliff's circuitous rise and...

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