Female Gothic Elements In Victorian Literature

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The term ‘Gothic’ often brings up certain images into one’s mind namely the supernatural, darkness, castles, love and mystery. Gothic elements are very common in the writings of many writers so far as the 18th and 19th century literature is concerned. However, Gothic genre has been divided in two different types by the recent study on the same. These are two gender-based groups: the male and the female gothic with their respective features and thematic concerns. Wuthering Heights is notable for its settings and its features such as ghosts, violation of graves, revenge motifs, sadism, trapped heroine, villain which rightly place the novel into the genre of Female Gothic. However there are some innovations that the novelists brings up in the…show more content…
A Victorian writer, Bronte has contributed immensely to the genre of Female Gothic fiction by her single but most popular novel Wuthering Heights (1847). Though hardly appreciated by her contemporaries, Emily Bronte has wedged her way towards the front rank Victorian novelists through her extraordinary piece of work. And now she is admired by all as a genius, revealing flashes of extraordinary imagination which are however at a distant from the central interests of human being. Intrinsically different from her contemporaries, Bronte’s work is devoid of the bustling, progressive urban world of the nineteenth century England which were the settings of many fictions of her contemporary writers. Her fictional world is quite different, inhabited by different characters, and she created it from a different point of view. Thus, Emily Bronte stands outside the realm of Victorian world as well as the main current of the nineteenth century fictions. However, this aloofness in her writings can be because of her short aloof life in her father’s parsonage in Yorkshire. Yorkshire during those days stood at the periphery of the urban world and the influences that shaped the literary society at that period of time. Life in this somewhat isolated land was very much like that the Queen Elizabeth’s days. A simple and unchanged life similar to the moors and storms of that region, a life of confined interest,…show more content…
There is a castle, in the form of the Wuthering Heights, oppressed heroines in the forms of Isabella and younger Catherine, villains in the forms of Heathcliff as well as Hindley in case of oppressing Heathcliff, and ghost of Catherine, Heathcliff’s beloved, which appears right at the beginning of the novel. Although the novel has multiple narrator, it is the first narrator Lockwood, who establishes a distance between the world of Wuthering Heights and the rest of the world of the nineteenth century and also brings in the gothic element that is inherent in the novel. A man from London, Lockwood has come there as a tenant of The Thrushcross Grange, which has been occupied by Heathcliff after his comeback accompanied by wealth and mannerisms and after the death of Edgar Linton. Caught in the storms and unable to return home, Lockwood decides to spend his night in Wuthering Heights. It is there, on that night that Lockwood encounters the ghost of Catherine or Cathy as a child ghost at the window, begging to be let in. “The intense horror of nightmare came over me; I tried to draw back my arm, but , the hand clung to it, and a most melancholy voice sobbed , Let me in!”(Bronte: p.p. 25).It is noteworthy that Catherine too prayed for a child and wanted to return as a

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