Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1946/11613
Elements of the Gothic: Falling from nature in Wuthering Heights
The purpose of this thesis is to explore the elements of the Gothic and the way these were employed to create one of the most controversial stories of the English language, Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights (1857). Taking a brief look at the origins of the Gothic genre and exploring the notion of the sublime as being a central factor for the Gothic endeavour, the thesis explores some of the elements by which a story can be categorized as a Gothic narrative.
While the purpose of Gothic stories has frequently been to shock and sensitize the reader, the form of the Gothic has also been the means through which authors have addressed their concerns regarding all factors of life, be they cultural or individual.
At the time of Emily Brontë’s publication of Wuthering Heights, societal changes in Britain were tremendous: with the industrial revolution, the population was increasingly abandoning the rural life of agriculture for the urban life of the cities. As regards Emily Brontë’s character, it is clear that she was one of few who held nature and what she believed to be man’s essential nature in the highest regard, caring little for the so-called “society” of man. As a fierce naturalist who found her liberty on the ruggedness of her childhood moors, Emily Brontë wrote her story of the opposing forces of nature versus culture portrayed in the houses of Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange.
While the thesis elaborates on the elements of the Gothic that characterize Wuthering Heights as a Gothic story, it argues that through a more careful analysis, Emily Brontë’s hidden agenda is revealed. It thus becomes evident that through the gloom of Gothic fiction, the darkness of Brontë’s vision stems from the conviction that in a society that will see nature tamed, man’s essential nature would inevitably be lost.