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Criticle Study Of Texts: "Wuthering Heights" By Emily Bronte

1328 words - 5 pages

Question: Why do different groups over time value this text differently?Each group extracts meaning from texts according to the values that are prevalent in their society. As the values of society are constantly changing, so to are the ways that a group interprets or values a text. As such "Wuthering Heights" has been and will be perceived in a different way by each group that reads the text. To examine why a group perceives a text in a particular way one must look at the values that the particular group holds to be true. The values of a group are the principles, standards or qualities considered worthwhile or desirable by the group that holds them. A Marxist values the social, economical and political context that may have resulted in such themes as are present in the text. A person of Romantic values elevates the individual, emotion, imagination, freedom and passion. Wuthering Heights can also be viewed as an expression of how people feel obliged to live up to the expectations that are placed on them or the expectations that they place upon themselves. Through these interpretations one can examine why each group values Wuthering Heights differently.The interplay between the different social classes in "Wuthering Heights" can be examined to determine how different groups may view the text. During the period of time that Wuthering Heights was being composed major changes were occurring in the class structure of society. Emily Bronte's narrative imitates these changes. This period of time saw the emergence of a working middle class which changed what defined a gentleman. A Marxist would value this interplay between the different social classes and link the social concerns expressed in Wuthering Heights to the concerns prevalent in Bronte's own society.The elevation of Heathcliff, a poor orphaned "gypsy" into a higher social level by Mr Earnshaw disrupts and ultimately destroys the lives of everyone around him. Mr Earnshaw even favours Heathcliff over his own son, Hindley. Upon Mr Earnshaw's death Hindley his blood son, as opposed to Heathcliff his adopted son, inherits Mr Earnshaw's wealth. With this new power Hindley violently and mercilessly returns Heathcliff to his "proper" place in society. As a result of the position that Heathcliff is lowered to Cathy realises that it would "degrade" her "to marry Heathcliff." Heathcliff, faced with the rejection of all because of his social standing runs away.Bronte's society was rapidly changing due to the emergence of a working middle class. Instead of a man being defined as a gentle man by his family or breeding, a gentleman now came to be defined by money and property. These values as present in Bronte's society are also present in her narrative. As such when Heathcliff returns "The Heights" having mysteriously gained money he also gains the social position of being a gentleman despite the fact that he was once as low, sociably, as a slave.A Marxist, because of their valuing of the social, economical...

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