Many times writing is based off of feeling or what’s going on around the author. It is often influenced by society and norms. Emily Bronte, author of Wuthering Heights, writes with great contrast to what is going on in her time period. She lays out how society is supposed to be, yet creates the character, Catherine, who defies all the norms. During the Victorian age women were very oppressed, it was also the rein of Queen Victoria and the patriarchal society, which is why Catherine is seen as such a rebel in the story, creating the thought that Wuthering Heights is an extension of how Bronte really feels about the her society.
It was not an intentional for feminism to be such a big part of the story, however because of the historical background and the authors background it seen a lot throughout the story. Catherine is seen through a feminist view because she is coming out of the norms of her time and doing what makes her happy. During the Victorian age women were very oppressed. The setting of the story was in this time where women were supposed to depend on a male and seek nothing to satisfy them. Marriage was an economic necessity for women, and a wife was looked on only as her husband’s house-keeper and her children’s nurse and teacher. ”(Wu). This is an example of the typical thought towards women of that time, which is shown in Wuthering Height when Catherine’s father passes and his brother assumes authority. Hadley, Catherine’s brother, cannot understand why Catherine refuses to conform to society and be normal. She rebelled against the religion oppression, patriarchal society and the moral system.
Wuthering Heights was written and published ten years after Victoria’s accession and almost at the end of a decade in which fiction for the first time in its history had largely troubled itself with social problems. “It was a product of its time” (Wu). The story creates a historical scene and allows modern day criticism to take place. Bronte allows you to look into what was really happening in society of that age and past the perfect picture that was created. She creates another character, Heathcliff, which represents rebellion. Heathcliff is considered a peasant of his era.
Nevertheless he never gave up on Catherine and even became her lover. “The society was filled with unrest, alarm and misery, which contrast with the growing prosperity and general good feeling of the succeeding. ”(Wu). Heathcliff is a prime example of the mixed feeling and emotions towards his time. He was constantly filled with unrest and misery because of his social status, but good feeling because of the fact that he is able to be with Catherine. This leads to more misery because Hindley tried all his efforts to separate him and Catherine and even forbad the conversations between them.
Heathcliff was never discouraged or desperate because he knew that Catherine understood and loved him. Even though they had inseparable love, society still rejected the idea of the two and they could never have the happiness they wanted. This soon leads to Catherine being seen as a rebel to the community and her family. Catherine is seen has a rebel because of the role created for women during that era was not a role she was willing to play. Queen Victoria was coming into power and the role of women was slowly but surely changing, as demonstrated in the book. Catherine resists being a badge of the men’s masculinity: in her youth she disdained femininity, and in her maturity she bitterly protested being an object in the sexual power struggle…” (Catherine is constantly resisting the oppression being put on her by men). When Catherine is dying and Heathcliff comes back, she embraces her love for him and no longer cares about society’s opinion of the relationship. She rebelled against the religion oppression, patriarchal society and the moral system. In a sense women had a social “status” that they were to uphold.
Emily Bronte clearly knows the ins and outs of this concept, because she represents it in the story. She uses the setting of the book as a demonstration of the separation of people and the statuses they carried during that time. Catherine, embodied the rebellion spirit against the religion oppression in that age vividly, she couldn’t bear anybody’s control. “I (Catherine) had just fastened our pinafores together and hung them up for a curtain, when in comes Joseph in an errand from the stables.
He tears down my handiwork, boxes my ears and croaks:” ‘T’maister nobbut just buried, and sabbth no o’ered, und t’sound o’t’ gospel dtill I’ yer lugs, and ye darr be laiking! Shame in ye! Sit ye down, ill childer! There are good books enough if ye’ll read’em! ” (Wuthering Heights 19). From Catherine’s behavior, we get the idea that she was deeply rebellion against Joseph, in other words, the religious oppression. As the young generation of the time, due to the development of the science and technology, Catherine had disillusioned.
She loved freedom. She needed religious emancipation. Catherine’s need to rebel can be seen as an extension of Emily Bronte’s feelings and thoughts. She has a strong sense of feminism in the book coming from the rebellion of women characters. This comes as no surprise being that she grew up with only sisters and went to a girls academy. All of these factors probably contributed to her outlook on life and her views on how society should be for women. Bronte does not only tell the life of the characters in the story, but she tells about herself.
Emily Bronte reveals facts about her own personal life in the story. There are several instances where the characters in the book starve themselves or revert to not eating because they are upset. “The supposed anorexia of Catherine, who stops eating after Edgar’s ultimatum, and of Heathcliff, who stops eating at the end, is used as proof of Emily’s anorexia; support for this interpretation is found in the tendency of all four Bronte siblings not to eat when upset. ”(Emily Bronte Overview). The previous quote is a prime example of Bronte expressing her personal life through the text.