Romanticism in Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights
Wuthering Heights, written by Emily Brontë, can be classified as a
Romantic novel, because it contains many tenets of Romanticism.
Romanticism was the initial literary reaction to changes in society caused
by the industrial revolution: it was an attempt to organize the chaos of
the clash between the agrarian and the industrial ways of life.
Romanticism was developing in a time in which all of society's rules,
limits, and restraints on how each person should act where being questioned,
tried, and twisted. Wuthering Heights is a Romantic novel which uses a
tale of hopeless love to describe the clash of two cultures-Neo-Classicism
One of the most significant tenets of Romanticism is the love of
the past. The first instance in which the reader finds an intimate love of
the past is when Nelly remarks how she wished Heathcliff had never been
introduced to the family, because his presence at Wuthering Heights upsets
the established order: "he bred dad feeling" (42). Another instance is
when Heathcliff realizes that his one love, Catherine, has fallen in love
with Edgar. He shows love of the past by pointing out to her how little
time she has spent with him compared to the time she spends with Edgar.
After Catherine's death, both Heathcliff and Edgar wish her back even if
they must return to fighting each other for her love. The Romantics had a
love of the past, because it is stable and predictable: all possible
scenarios have already happened.
Mr. Earnshaw's act of taking care of Heathcliff contains many
aspects of Romanticism. A key tenet in this act is Mr. Earnshaw's will to
enter into the mind of a child. Mr. Earnshaw tries to do this when he
takes Heathcliff home. Mr. Earnshaw sees a humble child in need of help.
He is not concerned with the constrains of society, which is another tenet
of Romanticism, but rather the welfare of the child. Brontë gives Mr.
Earnshaw's benevolence relatively high moral value, also a trait common to
Romantic works. Mr. Earnshaw cares for the child despite its dark
appearance, because he believes in the instinctive goodness of humanity,
which is also a characteristic of Romanticism. Mr. Earnshaw's act of
caring for Heathcliff is very Romantic, in that he throws aside all
constraints to help the humility he loves and the child that holds it.
The accurate observation of nature is another tenet of Romanticism,
which is present in Wuthering Heights. Brontë describes nature with great
detail and full of life. She depicts the "excessive slant of a few stunted
firs" (10). She pictures the "range of gaunt thorns" which stretch for
nourishment from the sun (10). Emily Brontë sees "the power of the north