When I address the cultural context of a text I refer to the worlds of the texts, the circumstances which face the plots and the characters of the texts. Some elements of the cultural context of each and every text are the world’s attitudes, social rituals, and structures. Coming to grips with the general norm of the society with in each texts and how the characters behave enables me to enjoy each text all the more. Understanding the world in which each text is set in and thus being able to compare the aspects of their society and what is involved in their material and spiritual lives ostentatiously influences the resolution of the narratives which gave a better impact and added to my enjoyment. I greatly enjoyed seeing the connections between the texts and how their worlds were intertwined in their similarities and differences. Particularly these connections were more vivid to me in the areas of Role of Women in Society, Setting, and Class Structure, within the Cultural context of each text.
All three texts revolve around a patriarchal system where the men were the primary authority figure and were central to society. They hold the central roles of political leadership, moral authority, and control of property. The entailment of female subordination is most apparent in Wuthering Heights where only through marriage is a woman able to gain recognition, position, and a place in society. Being compelled by this, Catherine Earnshaw betrays Heathcliff and really herself as well due to her love for him. Unable to cope with marrying a slave and an outcast in her patriarchal world she accepts Edgar Linton’s proposal for marriage. Edgar’s family were the most elite family in the novel thus giving Catherine a better future than what circumstance she might be in if she marries Heathcliff. Catherine: “It would degrade me to marry Heathcliff now.”
In the same way, Maire doesn’t marry Manus in Translations due to his lack of position, property and his inability to provide for a family. Maire sees that the man that she marries will dictate her position in society and so decides that marriage with Manus was not the foremost option. Maire: “You talk to me about getting married – with neither a roof over your head nor a sod of ground under your foot.” In both circumstances, a society where men hold prestige constrains women to be only able to aspire to be a wife. Marriage, in their patriarchal world, seems to be the only possible way to be able to make a living. The subservient role of women is further illustrated by Wuthering Heights’ patrilineal system which inhibits the property and title of a family to be inherited by the female lineage. Heathcliff effectively utilises this system for his benefit. Knowing that the wealth of a family can only be inherited by the male lineage, he arranges the marriage of young Cathy and his son Linton. Since Edgar died with no son to carry on his family name, his family’s inheritance would therefore be handed to whoever young Cathy marries. The male is dominant and is clearly seen as the head of the family. Similarly to I’m not scared, we see a macho world where power and strength are valued and power rest with the males. Pino tells his son to do his press-ups and they arm-wrestle. Anna, Michele’s mother, is physically assaulted by Felice, one of the gang. In his household, Pino is very much in charge and his wife is obedient to him. Even though in each text, women were inferior to men we also see in some cases where the text subverts the traditional or stereotypical idea of women and their place in society. In translations Bridget shows control when she directs Doalty to hide the animals when the army threatens to kill them. Maire is described as: “…a strong minded, strong bodied woman…”
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