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Psychoanalytic Theory + Wuthering Heights

Disecting Emily Bonte's Wuthering Heights through Freud's psychoanalytic theory

Valerie Larocque

on 30 July 2013

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Transcript of Psychoanalytic Theory + Wuthering Heights

Seen Through: Psychoanalytic Theory
Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights
Who was Sigmund Freud?
Austrian Psychologist
6 May 1856 - 23 September 1939
Anal Stage
Oral Stage
Topigraphical Model
ID Personality
Example 1:
Example 2:
"Edgar thoughtlessly laid hold of her hands to deliver him. In an instant one was wrung free, and the astonished young man felt it applied over his own ear in a way that could not be mistaken for jest." (Brontë 64)
Consequence: Edgar sees the true Catherine and throughout their relationship she is not afraid to show her true emotions
ID trait: Emotional
Example 3:
"I gave a few sentences of commendation to Heathcliff, and he, [Edgar] either for a head-ache, or a pang of envy, began to cry: so I got up and left him." (Brontë 89)
Consequence: Distant from Edgar and more affectionate towards Heathcliff. Due to Edgar's desire to have a happy marriage this makes him truely unhappy
ID trait: "Pleasure Principal" and impulsiveness
"He would have risen and unfixed her fingers by the act- she clung fast, grasping: there was mad resolution in her face. "No!' she shrieked. 'Oh , don't go. It is the last time! Edgar will not hurt us. Heathcliff, I shall die! I shall die!'" (Brontë 149)
ID Trait: Pleasures and Inconsiderate
Consequence: Edar comes home, is enraged and is ready to fight Heathcliff. Catherine becomes so vexed that she faints.
Ego Personality
Catherine tells Nelly that, “it would degrade me to marry Heathcliff now; so he shall never know how I love him” (Brontë 73)
Super Ego Personality
Example 1:
“...Edgar insists that she [Catherine] give up one or the other.” [Heathcliff or himself] (Brontë)
Super Ego trait: Social norm of one spouse
Reaction: Anger and unhappiness with Catherine and her desire to be with both Edgar and Heathcliff
Example 3:
"...anguish and humiliation overcame him [Edgar] completely." (Brontë 105)
Reaction: Catherine accuses Edgar of being a coward for not fighting Heathcliff
Super Ego trait: Fighting is improper and frowned upon
Example 2:
“...break their [Heathcliff's and Edgar's] hearts by breaking my [Catherine] own” (Brontë 115)
Reaction: Catherine breaks Edgar's heart from being in a dual relationship
Super Ego trait: Need to follow norm. Catherine breaks her heart in two relationships; so is Edgar's from her actions.
Conscious Mind
Unconscious Mind
"He [Edgar] is now; and I have only to do with the present"(Brontë 71)
Conscious Mind: Catherine chooses to marry Edgar instead of Heathcliff.
Why: Because of what Catherine's idea of how her life should be and her ID's desires for the future she chooses Edgar because he is cheerful, handsome, and weatlthy.
"...his health and well being sacrificed to preserve a mere ruin of humanity..." (Brontë 122)
Conscious Mind: Catherine causes much greif and pain for Edgar, yet he is still kind to her.
Why: His Super Ego personality is geared towards what is morally right and sacrifices himself for others.
His Ego oriented mind stops him from being impulsive and going after the one he loves: Catherine
Why: His memory of being rejected by Catherine is the reason behind his vengeful and gloomy existence.
“I've dreamt in my life dreams that have stayed with me ever after, and changed my ideas: they’ve gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the colour of my mind.” (Brontë 72)
The Dream: “Heaven did not seem to be my home; and I broke my heart with weeping to come back to the earth; and the angels were so angry that they flung me out into the middle of the heath on the top of Wuthering Heights; where I woke sobbing for joy.” (Brontë 73)
Analysis: Catherine acknowledges that this is a sign of her eternal love for Heathcliff, and still refuses to be with him.
Unconscious: Catherine realizes“[she has] no more business to marry Edgar Linton than [she has] to be in Heaven.” (Brontë 73)
“She told me she had been walking the earth these twenty years; a just punishment for her mortal transgressions, I’ve no doubt!” (Brontë 23)
The Dream: Lockwood dreams of a child Catherine attempting to come through the window of the room he is staying in. He is very afraid of her and does not allow her to come in; rather he harms and hurts her.
Example 1:
Cause: Hindley keeps Heathcliff and Catherine appart by treating him like a servant
Result: Heathcliff blames Hindley for not marrying Catherine. Vows revenge and puts Hindley into debt through gambling
“Earnshaw had mortgaged every yard of land he owned, for cash to supply his mania for gaming; and he, Heathcliff, was the mortgagee” (Brontë 172).
Example 2:
“I’d not care for one moment for Linton being Heathcliff’s son; nor for his taking her from me, if he could console her for my loss. I’d not care that Heathcliff gained his ends, and triumphed in robbing me of my last blessing” (Brontë 236)
Cause: Heathcliff plots revenge against Edgar who married his beloved.
Result: Marries Edgar's sister, Isabella. They have a son, Linton. Isabella dies, taking Heathcliff's chances of inheriting Thruscross Grange out of his grasp. To obtain revenge, he then plots to have Linton marry Edgar's daughter, Cathy.
Example 3:
“You [Catherine] are welcome to torture me to death for your amusement, only allow me to amuse myself a little in the same style, and refrain from insult as much as you are able” (Brontë 103)
Cause: Unconciously, Heathcliff wants to spite Catherine for choosing Edgar.
Result: tortures the people who hold close ties to Catherine as a distraction from his frustrated love for Catherine and her choice to be with Edgar.
Example 4:
“Your [Heathcliff’s] cheeks are hollow, and your eyes bloodshot, like a person starving with hunger, and going blind with loss of sleep” (Brontë 304). She [Nelly] also notices that, during a meal where he does not touch any food, “he gazed at something within two yards distance. And whatever it was, it communicated, apparently, both pleasure and pain, in exquisite extremes...” (Brontë 302)
Cause: Overpowering ego is how, after he has quenched his revenge, he forsakes his bodily needs.
Result: Ignores ID, basic needs completely, to engage in his percieved reality
Analysis: Lockwood tells Heathcliff this. This dream represents Catherine's desire to be with Heathcliff
Catherine's ID is the most dominate of her personality, resulting in her having affections for both Heathcliff and Edgar. Catherine, Heathcliff and Edgar are all negatively affected by this.
Heathcliff's actions are meaningful and all revolve around a purpose: Catherine. His evil deeds are for her love, which in turn, makes everyone miserable.
Edgar strives for perfection. He never persues his ID, and is overwhelmed by his Super Ego, which revolves around social restraints. Edgar never gets what he wants, and leaves many others dissapointed and unhappy.
Edgar, Catherine, and Heathcliff all act on their conscious ideas, memories, and morals; denying their unconscious thoughts and desires which leads to their unhappiness.
The unconscious wishes of Catherine and Heathcliff can be seen through the analysis of dreams. It is here that the true desires are revealed.
Catherine, Heathcliff and Edgar are all connected through love and lust.
Actions and Reactions
Cause and Effect
Because they only possess 1 aspect of Freud's personality theory, they are unbalanced in their actions and therefore are unhappy
is what we act on a every day.
Conscious Mind
reveals our hidden feelings, thoughts, urges, memories. Revealed through dreams and Freudian slips.
Unconscious Mind
What makes us happy?
A balance in your
leads to happiness.
By: Marc, Val, Jon, Kathleen and Jen
Full transcript