Extremes Versus the Norms in Wuthering Heights

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Extremes of behaviours traditionally are characterised as going against the normalities of society. However, in Wuthering Heights these extremes are the ways in which normality is restored, and this paradoxical view allows the ambiguity surrounding the novel to truly become prevalent. These extremes also reflect gothic elements in the novel such as the sublime and moral decay. This is because through the absence of morality extreme emotions such as jealousy, violence, or revenge are allowed to stir. This is particularly the case because extremities allow for social transgression, which the gothic represents. This illustrates how the structure of society can be changed to allow for a modern view that freedom should not be diluted by social boundaries, and if this freedom is allowed to happen then normality will be restored. This can be seen to be how Heathcliff is more of a modern but violent hero of the novel, because it is only through his subversion of traditional social norms that normality is eventually restored when he dies. The violent love of Heathcliff and Catherine reflects how extremes of emotion can heavily affect both of these character’s behaviours. This is because Catherine faces a battle against her body or nature in going with Heathcliff particularly when ‘Skulker has bitten her’ suggesting that at their union, only violence will ever come from it and the natural order is in disarray. The symbolism of the dog ‘Skulker’ is also important because the ‘Skull’ symbolises the hard durable part of the body, and that much like the skull, they will have to endure a hard struggle in order for their love to survive. Conversely, it could also suggest that Catherine is going against her brain in loving Heathcliff, and in doing so goes against social norms, which for her is normality. Moreover, Heathcliff’s name can be deconstructed into ‘Heath’ and ‘cliff’ both symbolising nature and the ‘cliff’ in particular represent a barrier to the destructive power of...
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