Education in Wuthering Heights

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Education of the 18th and 19th century connects closely to the gender association of this period. Men from wealthy families were the only persons provided the opportunity to be educated at the university level. Just as many men use golf to prove their status and superiority today, these gentlemen pursued cricket and rugby. Another similarity with society today involves the importance of personal connections to further your education possibilities and business opportunities. Social standing was extremely important during this time. "Manners, money, birth, occupation and leisure time were crucial indicators of social standing, determining not only one's place in society but one's freedom to act, speak, learn, and earn" (Longman p. 1886). (alternate view on Victorian society)

In the Victorian Era, social class was not solely dependent upon the amount of money a person had; rather, the source of income, birth, and family connections played a major role in determining one's position in society. And, significantly, most people accepted their place in the hierarchy. In addition to money, manners, speech, clothing, education, and values revealed a person's class. The three main classes were the elite class, the middle class, and the working class. Further divisions existed within these three class distinctions. The struggle between social classes roughly resembles a real-life conflict during this time. The book was published during the Industrial Revolution, a time of great economic change in which laborers fought for fair conditions in the workplace, and employers fought to defend themselves. People formed groups to work for their own benefit, thus, causing the separation of classes THE GENERAL EFFECT THAT STRESS ON EDUCATION AND THUS SOCIAL CLASS BRINGS OUT IN THE NOVEL: Education is the one of the central themes in Wuthering Heights, it brings about social status and class distinction in the novel, one of the major differences that we witness between Class struggle is a central theme found in wuthering heights. Class determines hatred, marriage, financial situation and occupation in Wuthering heights. The strict guidelines of class structure break hearts, bring about marriages without love and affect the physical and emotional wellbeing of every character. Even the two main houses in Emily Bronte’s novel reflects the difference education imparts on the character’s dispositions and behaviour. The setting of the story at Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange provides a clear example of social contrast. While the Heights is depicted as simply typical and "domestic" and associated with uneducated characters: (Nelly, Heathcliff, Hareton, Zillah and Joseph) the Grange is described as a "scene of unprecedented richness" (80). Each house is associated with behaviour fitting the description. For example, when Catherine is taken into the Grange, she experiences drastic changes, thus going from a "savage" to a "lady" (80). While at this house, she rises in status, learns manners, and receives great privileges such as not having to work due to being acquaintances with the educated Isabella and Linton. Heathcliff, on the other hand, learns to classify himself as a member of the lower class, as he does not possess the education of those at the Grange. THE EFFECT OF EDUCATION (OR LACK OF EDUCATION) ON THE CHARACTERS IN WUTHERING HEIGHTS: *MY IDEA IS THAT THE THEME OF CLASS AND EDUCATION ARE INTERLINKED. EDUCATION BREEDS CLASS AS SEEN IN THE CHARACTERS OF EDGAR LINTON, ISABELLA, CATHERING EARNSHAW (TO SOME EXTENT) AND CATHERINE LINTON HEATHCLIFF:

Education in Wuthering Heights leads to a better understanding of class and society. The fact that Heathcliff is deprived of an education, immediately lowers his class and ranks him among the servants of Wuthering Heights, emphasized when Catherine Earnshaw returns to Wuthering Heights after her stay at the Lintons. (chapter 7) :” why how very black and...
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