"Wuthering Heights" by Emily Bronte: To what extent do you see differing approaches to the analysis of your text useful in understanding the author's intention?

Essay by sugarnspice1000High School, 11th grade February 2007

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In "Wuthering Heights", Emily Bronte both represents and criticizes the ways in which class structure, education and gender shapes and defines social relationships. Emily Bronte's novel Wuthering Heights can be approached as a social criticism in which Bronte is not only questioning the values and attitudes of her society but is also commenting on the oppressive nature of society. When interpreting a novel like Wuthering Heights one must realise that despite our differing contexts, the textual integrity of Wuthering Heights still remains applicable to a contemporary audience. The relevance of Wuthering Heights can be seen through the exploration of universal themes that makes it a timeless literary masterpiece. Nineteenth century England was a time of great social and economic change and because of this, the idea of the 'angel in the house' emerged as the Victorian icon which played and important role in influencing and shaping the conventions of society.

This ideal of the 'angel in the house' is important when examining the novel in terms of gender as one is able to gain a greater insight into the role of women in Victorian society. By examining Wuthering Heights from an educational approach, one is able to understand and realise the real extent and power that education has in separating and maintaining this separation between the different classes. Class structure, as an approach shows the many inequalities that exist between the different classes.

Bronte shows how the control over education allows the upper class power over the working class. It is in this way that education is used as a form of social and class oppression. This can be especially seen through the relationship between Hindley and Heathcliff. Hindley, as a member of the upper class is able to deny Heathcliff an education merely as he is the...