Is Catherine the Ideal Victorian Woman?

The idea of the place of women in society that has come up in readings by George Eliot, Martineau, Ada Lovelace, Margaret Fuller, etc. Through these readings we see the societal expectations of women during the Victorian era in England. Also though, we hear the viewpoints of women who want more than the lives that their society allows them to have. These women are interested in giving women the vote, allowing them to explore their interests and passions and more autonomy for women in general. I enjoyed seeing a Victorian woman up close through the Wuthering Heights character, Catherine. In many ways Catherine seems to defy the expectations for women during this time. She often does what she wants; she rarely follows her fathers’ discipline. She seems free-spirited, self-serving, aggressive and sometimes maybe even rude. In these ways Catherine breaks free from control that is placed on her. Interestingly, in other ways though, Catherine definitely sticks to society’s idea of a woman’s role. We see this in Catherine’s pursuit of Edgar Linton. When she talks to Ms. Dean about marrying Edgar, her reasoning is essentially that she wants to be a rich wife and join an influential family. In this way we see her acceptance of her role as a wife and her disinterest in further exploration of passions/interests or other personal pursuits. It will be interesting to see how Catherine’s character unfolds as the novel goes on. 

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