“I am Heathcliff!” : Paradoxical Love in Brontë’s Wuthering Heights

University essay from Stockholms universitet/Avdelningen för litteraturvetenskap

Abstract:

This essay is an analysis of Emily Brontë’s novel “Wuthering Heights” and revolves mainly around the love between the two main characters, Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff, and how they express this love, either through words or through actions. Paradoxes concerning their love and paradoxes concerning the narration of the novel are of interest as well. The analysis employs Genette’s theories and terminology in the narrative analysis.

The essay first discusses the effect of the narrative levels and paradoxes that can be found concerning these narratives and then investigates some events in “Wuthering Heights” that are linked to the two main characters’ love for one another. The events are analyzed in chronological order and discuss the paradoxes found in those events.

The essay concludes by giving a short summary of the way Catherine and Heathcliff expresses their love for one another and the paradoxes found concerning this love. The narration is of importance since its complex structure allows for the entire novel to be read as one paradox. Disregarding the narration, the paradoxes found are many. The paradoxical love of Catherine and Heathcliff concern their love for one another in the sense that Catherine chooses to marry Edgar instead of Heathcliff and that she claims that Heathcliff killed her. They concern the way the act upon their love for one another in the sense that Catherine was double natured. The most prominent paradox, however, is the one concerning Catherine’s statement that she is Heathcliff. It is the most prominent because it is referred to throughout the novel in different ways.

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