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Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights: Mental Illness And Feminism

2154 words - 9 pages

Novels are often taken by the reader at face value, and are never looked into on a deeper level. It is important to search for more than what is seen in a literary work. Wuthering Heights is a great example of a book with its own hidden secrets that can surface with a little research. Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights depicts the oppression of women from mentally unstable individuals.
Overview of Author
Emily Bronte was born in Yorkshire, England on July 30, 1818 (“Emily Jane Bronte 1), to a family dedicated to literature (“Emily Jane Bronte” 2). Education was also important to the Bronte family, but it always seemed to take a pause for Emily due to family illnesses and the stress of being away from home. Emily by her peers as a shy young women who would much rather be in a corner reading a good book, than socializing (“Emily Jane Bronte” 3). Shy little Emily was pushed into the literary field by her two sisters Charlotte and Anne Bronte, who were both authors (“Emily Jane Bronte 1). Anne was a creative influence for Emily, the two created a fictional world called “Gondal” which served as poetic inspiration for Emily. These poems served as preparation for Emily as she began to write her first novel, Wuthering Heights (“Emily Jane Bronte” 3).
Writing was Emily’s true passion, but unfortunately she was only able to publish one novel in her lifetime, Wuthering Heights (“Emily Jane Bronte” 1). Emily’s older sister Charlotte, a successful author herself, was the consistent in encouraging her shy sister Emily to publish Wuthering Heights (“Emily Jane Bronte” 4). Wuthering Heights was published for the first time in 1846 (“Emily Jane Bronte” 4), under the false name of Ellis Belle (“Emily Jane Bronte” 1). The first publication of the novel was very unsuccessful, but was published again in 1847 with very different results. While Wuthering Heights was better received after the second publishing, the novel really took off after Emily’s death from Tuberculosis in 1848 (“Emily Jane Bronte” 4). It is odd to think that a cherished novel had that much trouble in its early years of publication, but society was not quite ready for a novel of this caliber.
Setting and Publication of Wuthering Heights
Wuthering Heights was written during the Victorian Era, which was the time period ruled by Queen Victoria. This time period was seen as very “prudish, hypocritical, stuffy, and narrow- minded” (Kirschen 1). While this time period did carry some harsh and negative characteristics, they are not completely accurate. The Victorian Era was very socially strict, but there was also a strong artistic movement. Writers and artists had a lot of creative freedom during this time period and most of their works were highly sought after (Kirschen 1). Literature in this era was very connected to the Romantic period and played upon imagination, emotion, and self-reflection, but also played upon a Neo-Classical or traditional approach of what was publically acceptable (Roth 1)....

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