Trapped In The Body Of Society

1892 words - 8 pages

Born in the beautiful, wet and green country of England in 1818, Emily Jane Brontë would grow up and write one of the literary world’s most acclaimed work of literature. Before she wrote Wuthering Heights in 1847, Emily Brontë came from a very creative household as both of her sisters, Charlotte and Anne Brontë, were also writers with whom Emily would enjoy spending time with writing prose and poetry. Because the Brontë sisters lived a strongly patriarchal society where the ideal Victorian woman only dealt with domestic matters and left everything else to men, they wrote their novels and poems under the male pseudonyms of Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell. Emily Brontë, like her sisters, wrote under a male pen name because she wanted to limit the bias readers might have on her novel and she did not want readers to reject her book only because a woman wrote it. Since Emily Brontë lived a strong patriarchal society, her novel also portrays a society very similar to the one she lives in because throughout her life she has lived in and been constantly affected by a world dominated by men. While Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights portrays a headstrong young woman with the potential for heroism in Catherine Earnshaw, the novel proves that destruction and chaos emerge when patriarchal society tries to tame women and bring them out of their natural, free state.
At Wuthering Heights, Catherine finds herself in her freest state unaware of the patriarchal society she lives in. Living in a male dominated home after her mother had passed away, Catherine Earnshaw lives most of her childhood unaware of her duties assigned to her by society. Society’s use for a woman “was to bear a large family and maintain a smooth family atmosphere where a man need not bother himself about domestic matters” (Zhao). Unaware of the way she should behave in accordance to society’s expectations, Catherine Earnshaw would not be submissive to her father’s authority and would test her father’s authority when he asks her to be a good daughter as she replies, “Why cannot you always be a good man, father?”(Brontë 34) Catherine’s fiery spirit refuses to accept her father’s reprobation which shows how Catherine unknowingly rebels not just against her father but she rebels against the patriarchal society and its ideas that women must be submissive to men. With the aid of Heathcliff and a lack of understanding of societal expectation for her, Catherine and Heathcliff “are wild and rebellious as children” (Hagan 66). Throughout the novel, Cathy does not behave in the way women and girls “should” behave according to society but rather she considers herself equal to Heathcliff when she says, “Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same” (Brontë 63). By truly believing that she lives in a society equal to Heathcliff, Catherine proves that society’s values do not directly apply to Wuthering Heights and women like Catherine who grew up in Wuthering Heights also grew up...

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