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Wuthering Heights About the Author & Essential Background.

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1 Wuthering Heights About the Author & Essential Background

2 Emily Bronte ( ) Came from a “family of poets” Family lived in solitude on the gloomy northern moors One of six children View from Carlton Moors, North York

3 Patrick Bronte – Emily’s father Ordained clergyman in the Established Church of England Helped crush the Irish Rebellion of 1789 as a young man and helped stifle the labor rebellion as an adult. He always carried a loaded pistol. He was a tyrant at home and always acted cold toward his children; may have been inspiration for Hindley As a result, Emily was taught to be the protector of the house; she was excellent with a gun

4 Bronte’s Upbringing Mother died of cancer in 1821 Children were raised by their Aunt Branwell in Haworth Isolated location surrounded by moors Top Withens, near Haworth, believed to be inspiration for Wuthering Heights The four Bronte sisters attended the Clergy Daughters school because it was all the family could afford Conditions were deplorable Maria and Elizabeth died of TB Charlotte and Emily returned home shortly thereafter

5 A product of her environment Emily was isolated and had no close friends Her father influenced her love of mysticism, religion, and the outdoors Writing became a means of amusement for the children

6 A product of her environment She began to take care of her drug- and alcohol-addicted brother. The last time Emily left her home was to attend Branwell’s funeral Here she caught TB and refused to leave her home or call a doctor. Emily died 2 months later at the age of 30.

7 Not outwardly expressive… Emily was quite tall and had an intense, striking gaze—one that seldom met the eyes of a stranger. She felt more liberated and free around her family, but especially on the moors. Emily kept her feelings mysterious, even to Charlotte, who admitted that she was never quite sure how Emily was feeling. Her intensity of feeling is clearly evident in her poetry and in Wuthering Heights. This novel is also known for its lyric and poetic influence (rhythm, description, sound and meter).

8 Life with Charlotte Made first attempt to live away from home with sister Charlotte, who was asked to teach at Roe Head Charlotte noted that Emily suffered from “acute homesickness and a love of the moorland vastness” Returned home as a result Siblings publish a book of poetry using pseudonyms Charlotte wrote, “we did not declare ourselves women because… we had a vague impression that authoresses are liable to be looked on with prejudice.”

9 Writing Wuthering Heights Emily began writing WH in late 1845, finished in 1846, published in “Wuthering Heights puzzled and offended many of its readers, who found it excessively morbid, violent, and indelicate, and later disapproved still more when it became known that the book was written by a woman.” WH was not critically accepted when it was first published; Victorian society considered it rude and insulting.

10 Writing Wuthering Heights After Emily’s death, her sister Charlotte defended her sister. She acknowledged some errors but argued that the novel was not all dark. She emphasized the morally grounded characters and the novel’s ultimate conclusion. Emily saw the main human conflict as one between the individual and the dark, questioning universe, a universe symbolized by man’s threatening and hard-to-control inner nature. Victorians saw men and women as ones to be raised respectably. Women ere also considered frail and useless they could, however, teach or do social work.

11 Gothic Novels and Satanic Heroes Victorian society existed with tension (think about all the changes we discussed). While society was becoming more industrialized, it was also deeply- rooted in religious morals. During this time, Gothic novels were popular; these novels included tortured “satanic” heroes. Heathcliff is such a character: dark, angry, and tortured. Heathcliff also resembles the setting of the Heights He is dark-skinned, morose, and slovenly. Heathcliff, like the growth of the trees on the moors, has been twisted and stunted because of the storms he has had to endure—Brutal strength has made him survive. Contrasts are also forefront in the Victorian Era and are clearly established in WH—good vs. evil, calm vs. chaos, stability vs. passion

12 Notes on the Novel The Novel Many critics read the characters as allegorical personifications of natural forces The novel’s effectiveness “stems from its careful marriage of howling melodrama to matter-of-fact every day life” The Society Emily Knew Emily grew up in a poor village where many were newly unemployed by the machines of the industrial revolution Mobs and violent protests filled the streets, striking against the factories Charlotte Bronte’s book Shirley revolves around the riots at a textile mill


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