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Intro to Wuthering Heights
Transcript of Intro to Wuthering Heights
1. Imagination and emotion are more important than reason and formal rules; imagination is a gateway to transcendent experience and truth.
2. Along the same lines, intuition and a reliance on “natural” feelings as a guide to conduct are valued over controlled, rationality.
3. Romantic literature tends to emphasize a love of nature, a respect for primitivism (belief in the superiority of a simple way of life close to nature), and a valuing of the common, "natural" man; Romantics idealize country life and believe that many of the ills of society are a result of urbanization.
Elements of Romanticism
Characteristics of the Byronic hero
A distaste for social institutions and norms
An exile, an outcast, or an outlaw
Cunning and ability to adapt
“Dark” attributes not normally associated with a hero
Disrespectful of rank and privilege
Emotionally conflicted, bipolar tendencies, or moodiness
High level of intelligence and perception
Mysterious, magnetic, and charismatic
Power of seduction and attraction
Self-critical and introspective
Social and sexual dominance
Sophisticated and well-educated
Struggles with integrity
Elements of the Gothic novel
4. Romantics were interested in the past, the supernatural, the mystical, the “gothic,” and the exotic;
5. Romantics were attracted to rebellion and revolution, especially concerned with human rights, individualism, freedom from oppression
6. There was emphasis on introspection, psychology, melancholy, and sadness. The art often dealt with death, transience (temporary things) and mankind’s feelings about these things. The artist was an extremely individualistic creator whose creative spirit was more important than strict adherence to formal rules and traditional procedures.
a. The Byronic hero
b. Emphasis on the individual and subjectivity (a person's own experience with things).
by Emily Bronte
Introduction to Wuthering Heights
1. Setting in a castle, old house or mansion. The action takes place in and around an old castle, sometimes seemingly abandoned, sometimes occupied. The castle often contains secret passages, trap doors, secret rooms,trick panels with hidden levers, dark or hidden staircases, and possibly ruined sections.
2. An atmosphere of mystery and suspense.The work is pervaded by a threatening feeling, a fear enhanced by the unknown. This atmosphere is sometimes advanced with inexplicable events (see something, noises of unknown origin, murder). Often the plot itself is built around a mystery, such as unknown parentage, a disappearance, or some other inexplicable event.
3. An ancient prophecy is connected with the castle or its inhabitants (either former or present).
4. Omens, portents, visions. A character may have a disturbing dream vision, or some phenomenon may be seen as a portent of coming events.
5. Supernatural or otherwise inexplicable events. Dramatic, amazing events occur, such as ghosts or giants walking, or inanimate objects (such as a suit of armor or painting) coming to life. In some works, the events are ultimately given a natural explanation, while in others the events are truly supernatural.
6. High, even overwrought emotion. The narration may be highly sentimental, and the characters are often overcome by anger, sorrow, surprise, and especially, terror. Characters suffer from raw nerves and a feeling of impending doom. Crying and emotional speeches are frequent. Breathlessness and panic are common.
7. Women in distress. As an appeal to the pathos and sympathy of the reader, the female characters often face events that leave them fainting, terrified, screaming, and/or sobbing. A lonely, pensive, and oppressed heroine is often the central figure of the novel, so her sufferings are even more pronounced and the focus of attention. The women suffer all the more because they are often abandoned, left alone (either on purpose or by accident), and have no protector at times.
8. Women threatened by a powerful, impulsive, tyrannical male. One or more male characters has the power, as king, lord of the manor, father, or guardian, to demand that one or more of the female characters do something intolerable. The woman may be commanded to marry someone she does not love (it may even be the powerful male himself), or commit a crime.
9. The metonymy of gloom and horror. Metonymy is a subtype of metaphor, in which something (like rain) is used to stand for something else (like sorrow). Note that the following metonymies for "doom and gloom" all suggest some element of mystery, danger, or the supernatural.
Examples include - blowing wind (especially howling rain), doors grating on rusty hinges sighs, moans, howls, eerie sounds, footsteps approaching clanking chains, lights in abandoned rooms, gusts of wind blowing out lights, characters trapped in a room, doors suddenly slamming shut, ruins of buildings baying of distant dogs (or wolves?), thunder and lightning, and crazed laughter.