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Wuthering Heights - Essay Example

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Although the Victorian Age is typically identified as a time of sweeping social change as the effects of the Industrial Revolution developed a healthy middle class and made it possible for even those born very low on the social scale to find a means of attaining a suitably high…
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Wuthering Heights
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Download file to see previous pages As women began to question their social and personal roles in life as well as their increasing ability to take control of their own destinies, the question of romantic love as compared to marriage for position began to take center stage in the literature produced in that time. An example of this debate can be found in the novel Wuthering Heights, written by Emily Bronte in 1847, as it is expressed in the character of Catherine Earnshaw. In the novel, Catherine is seen as a willful, independent, half-wild girl raised without the benefit of polite society or traditional feminine influences. Despite this strong nature and independent lifestyle, however, she nevertheless finds herself wrestling with the traditional idea of marriage for position and the concept of marriage for love.
During the Victorian period, women were beginning, for the first time in history, to make choices for themselves as opposed to merely following their father’s or eldest male relative’s directives as new options became available to them through the growth of the cities. While changes were slow to come to the higher social classes, change was evident in the reasons by which they selected their marriage partner. Even as far in the country as Catherine lives, there existed a struggle between the traditional idea of marriage for family positioning, the emerging concept of marriage for personal gain and the also newly emerging concept of marriage for love. This struggle is most succinctly outlined in a speech Catherine makes to her maid in chapter nine:
This is nothing, cried she: I was only going to say that heaven did not seem to be my home; and I broke my heart with weeping to come back to earth; and the angels were so angry that they flung me out into the middle of the heath on the top of Wuthering Heights; where I woke sobbing for joy. That will do to explain my secret, as well as the other. Ive no more business to marry Edgar Linton than ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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