Novel “Wuthering Heights” by Emily Bronte

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Updated: Mar 28, 2022
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Wuthering Heights takes place in the early 19th century. During this time, women were considered second-class citizens. They had the responsibility for the care of their family, as a wife and a mother, and the household. Outside of the home setting, women had no real significance as they were only expected to have a minimum education and were not encouraged to pursue a professional career. Men were highly relied on by women to be the “”power force.”” Women did not have the right to own property and rarely ever were allowed to own their own land, as the family tried to marry them off before then. Women were simply expected to become a wife in their society. Throughout the book Wuthering Heights women are forced into a role by their aggressive power hungry male counter parts. Strong personalities such as Heathcliff and Edgar overshadow fragile women such as Catherine and Isabella. Women have no power in the book, for example when the younger Catherine is forced to confine herself to the Grange by Heathcliff. Women are regarded more as property and objectified into being dependent on social status as a basis for a relationship or in the context of Catherine’s marriage to Edgar and not Heathcliff. The author uses these facts to show just how ridiculous the degradation of women was and how it called for drastic, radical, and immediate change.

Isabella illustrates the proper lady like behavior. However, her life is completely dominated by a male presence. As a young girl, Isabella is taken care of by her father. After his death, she highly relies on her brother, Edgar Linton, as she stays at Thrushcross Grange. Isabella only leaves Thrushcross Grange to move to Wuthering Heights when she marries Heathcliff. Isabella intended to shift her reliance from her brother to her husband after she was married. She was stubborn in her decision to marry Heathcliff despite countless warnings. Throughout her life, she is submissive as she is treated like a child and accepts it. This demonstrated how she is insecure and not in control due to her lack of independence. However, she quickly learns that life at the Heights is neither what she expected nor what she wanted. Isabella is an example of impact male dominance in a women’s life. everything that Heathcliff did to her was perfectly legal. He even states that “I keep strictly within the limits of the law. I have avoided, up to this period, giving her the slightest right to claim a separation”. Divorce was illegal then and Heathcliff was well within his rights to go and get her when she ran away and do whatever he deemed fit, including keeping her child from her. She would have been criticized as a single mother in that time, even by the lower class, and she must have worked hard to support herself and her son until she died of a physical illness.

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Novel "Wuthering Heights" by Emily Bronte. (2019, Jan 25). Retrieved from