Contrasting Stereotypes of the 18th Century

Catherine Earnshaw is one character who I am so intrigued by. She has this independence quality to her which defies certain aspects of Victorian stereotypes during the 18th century. Interestingly enough, Wuthering Heights provides a great contrast between gender roles and stereotypes.  As my group had to do the research for this weeks discussion, we found a great article that touches on feminist and marxist theories in the novel. One of these aspects we researched is how women were forced into a role to transform themselves and fit other roles that may not be themselves, all for a man. She transitions from a rebellious daughter to a delirious wife character all to fill identities that are basically assigned to her. This touches on a theme we have talked about in class. Women are forced into these submissive roles in order to fulfill an ideal of their gender. Catherine specifically, shows this dynamic character. It is just clear gender roles is a great theme that seems growing in our discussions. In relation to other texts we touched on, specifically the connection to gender equality, it made me think of Carlyles Democracy, as Carlyle takes a superior role over women. This male dominance is conveyed in Wuthering Heights, however, it has kind of a conflicting comparison. At some points the roles seem reversed in a way. Regardless, Wuthering Heights brings up great analytical aspects to masculine and feminine characteristics during the victorian era. Martineau’s Society in America brings up great contrasting points to the same aspects. Specifically, how Martineau expressed her views on women rights. We spoke about how it was uncommon for women to express their grievances in general during this time period, so Martineau challenging that norm is a great connection here. I see the same connection with Catherine as she seems to challenge her role at times. Lastly, Mary Wollstonecraft compares women and their relationships with men to a “doll-Madonna” which further sheds light on women acting as a doll, transforming into a role solely for others. 

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