Hindley the Steam King

Certain parts of the poem “The Steam King” by Edwin Mead remind me of Hindley Earnshaw from Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights. While I am not claiming that Hindley is comparable to the Industrial Revolution itself, there are certain parallels that can be drawn from the poem and bits and pieces of Hindley’s character.

In the poem, the Steam King is considered a tyrant, much like Hindley has become, especially after the death of his wife. The line “his bowels are of living fire, and children are his food” (11-12) reminds me of Hindley’s abuse towards Catherine, Heathcliff, and especially his own son whom he throws over a bannister in his drunken rage.

Finally, “the sighs and groans of Labour’s sons are music in their ear…” (21-22) reminds me of how poorly Hindley treats those he deems underneath him including his servants and especially Heathcliff.

However, the ending of the poem calls for “right” to prevail and ultimately the downfall of the Steam King. At this point in the book I’m not sure if there is hope for Hindley to change or mend his ways, but I’m rooting for him!

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