What Conclusions Do You Draw About BrontS

What Conclusions Do You Draw About Bront?S Essay, Research Paper

Bront?s novel seems to contain all the typical,

traditional Victorian social values and divisions such

as the master of the house with servants below him and

so on. Social distinctions were very much more marked

and rigidly respected. We first glimpse what Bront?

might think of social stereotypes and divisions, right

at the start of the book through Lockwood, and later

through other narrators such as Nelly Dean.

Lockwood is seen as the epitome of Victorian social

values and ideals, he is a normal Victorian gentleman

an agreeable but shallow character. He is perhaps a

sketchy attempt to portray a sophisticated townie. He

is a well meaning but rather confused and superficial

person, who is naive but also shows signs of maturity

and intelligence inspite of moments of conceit.

Lockwood is an honest narrator with no hidden agenda,

his ordinariness, like Nelly contributes to the

credibility of the events he is caught up in and hears

of. Lockwood is used by Bront? to show what Victorians

would think of what they saw or heard, using their

social values. Right from the beginning of the book

Lockwood tries to place Wuthering Heights into his own

conceptions of what society should be, he tries to put

people in boxes, to label them, to socially stereotype

them. Bront? makes a fool of Lockwood, perhaps showing

that she disagrees with the idea of placing people in


Lockwood views Wuthering Heights as a fairly

unfriendly place, and his narrative of the place and

the people in it suggests strangeness, conflict and

perhaps the abuse of physical and social power. This

is clear from Heathcliff?s obvious suspicion of


?He evidently wished no repetition of my intrusion..

It is astonishing how sociable I feel myself compared

with him.?

It is also made clear from Joseph?s sour aloofness

and in the aggressive manner of the dogs. The

description of the whole place makes it seem a very

unfriendly and cold dwelling. However Lockwood also

sees a parallel to this strangeness in seeing what is

ordinary, familiar and friendly such as the unseen

kitchen and the carefully described dresser. Lockwood

has various Victorian, preconceptions of social class,

and places Wuthering Heights within these conceptions,

which are shattered as the plot unfolds, the social

stereotypes that he has are turned on their head.

Bront? writes in such a way that we are not meant to

sympathise with Lockwood, he is made out to be

foolish, and his ideas with them. This could be seen

as Bront? saying that you cannot socially stereotype

people, however she herself stereotypes in the book

with the Lintons a ?typical? Victorian family, the

epitome of Victorian social values.

The Lintons of Thrushcross Grange it seems are almost

complete opposites to the Earnshaws of Wuthering

Heights. The Earnshaws are seen as social outcasts,

?children of the storm? whereas the Lintons are the

cream of Victorian society, ?children of calm?. The

Lintons are portrayed as very wealthy, respectable and

morally conventional, they are a products of their

class. Thrushcross Grange itself takes the stereotype

of the family further.

?..ah! it was beautiful – a splendid place carpeted

with crimson, and crimson-covered chairs and

tables,and a pure white ceiling bordered by gold, a

shower of glass-dropshanging in silver chains from the

centre, and shimmering with little soft tapers.?

This description of the place, lavishly furnished

with lots of very rich colours like crimson gives the

impression of great wealth but the place is too

perfect, it is too well furnished so that it has a

claustrophobic nature, almost smothering the people in

it. Edgar and Isabella are made to seem foolish by

Bront?, they are seen as petty and snobbish and weak -

?He lacked spirit in general.? The way that the

Lintons relate and interact with the other characters

also makes them seem weak. Edgar is physically

inferior to Heathcliff, just as Isabella is both

physically and emotionally inferior to Catherine.

Isabella is made out to be quite pathetic, fainting,

whining and weeping with her infatuation for

Heathcliff. She is seen to be degrading herself by

loving Heathcliff. The Lintons are the extreme version

of the Victorian values of the time, and these values

through the Lintons are perhaps undermined my Bront?.

However Bront? does evoke some sympathy for the

Lintons because of the harsh way they are treated, and

the Lintons are no different from the Earnshaws in

that they are both extremes of society. Bront? uses

both ?people put in boxes? and individuals, the

Lintons are ?Victorians? but characters like

Heathcliff are completely individual.

Heathcliff is a character would the reader could

either sympathise with, or who can be seen as evil. In

Heathcliff there is almost a Satanic hero, an idea

which may have come to Bront? from Byron, in such

verse tales as Lara and The Giaour. The Satan figure

develops other characteristics: He is defiant, anti

social, and his origins are hidden and he is

associated with fatal love. These traits are

applicable to Heathcliff as a tragic hero, ?the fallen

angel?. It could be said that Heathcliff is the

non-human element of man, natural but detached and

impersonal. Bront? could also have made Heathcliff a

political statement in that he is a poor child

transformed to a wealthy landlord, or a symbol of the

working class degraded by an uncaring Victorian

society. In my view Bront? views Heathcliff as

worthwhile. As the (depressingly boring) poet William

Wordsworth wrote; ?The child is the father of the man?

, and I think this paradox applies to Heathcliff in

that his boyhood experiences, i.e. neglect and ill

treatment determine his character when mature, and

this is why I think Bront? thinks him worthwhile and

why the reader has a degree of sympathy for him.

Lockwood views Heathcliff as having ?A genuine bad

nature? and by Nelly (when a landowner) as ?rough as a

saw-edge and hard as whinstone?. The way Heathcliff

acts is such that it seems that he has no regard for

social conventions, as with Catherine when a child

until her stay at Thrushcross Grange where she picks

up the Lintons social values and is ?Socially

seduced.? As an adult she regards Heathcliff as

inferior to her, something beneath her social status.

Throughout book one Bront? undermines the social

values of her time. She does this in many ways, right

from the start with the narration of Lockwood who we

as readers are obviously not meant to sympathise with.

He is the ?model Victorian? along with the Lintons who

also do not gain much sympathy. These characters with

?correct? social values and high status are the

weakest characters, whereas the Earnshaws who are

social outcasts are the stronger set of characters. In

my view Bront? criticises socially labelling people,

with people like Heathcliff who cannot possibly be

placed in a social mould, he is an individual. The

stark contrast between the Lintons and the Earnshaws

is obvious, they are two ends of the spectrum of

society, and perhaps Bront? is saying through the

novel that neither ?works?, and that something

in-between the two is needed.


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