Wuthering Heights is one of the most famous works of English literature. When the book was published, it generated a great deal of controversy. One reason for such harsh criticism is the novel’s nontraditional subject matter. They made it difficult for the book to be classified into one genre. It has been called a gothic and romantic tragedy by modern researchers.
Gothic fiction is a kind of literature in which the typical hero, like Edward Hyde, suffers horribly at the hands of an evil force. Only Wuthering Heights has all of the components of a Gothic novel, but the characters are considerably more nuanced than those found in most Gothic novels. Heathcliff’s reasons and reactions go beyond the simple bad guy stereotype seen in most Gothics.
Catherine is far from the helpless female in need of rescuing. Wuthering Heights, rather than a ruined or crumbling castle, appears on the scene. The book also invites more moral reflection than a typical action-oriented Gothic novel.
Despite the fact that there are no ghosts, Wuthering Heights is filled with scary Gothic elements, such as imprisonment, dark staircases, stormy weather, night terrors, dread landscapes, sad people, moonlight, and candles.
Brontë is another name for the “Gothic” literary style that emerged in Great Britain during the early part of the 1800s. Brontë’s fiction features tyrannical fathers and a troubled family line, as it does in Gothic literature. The danger comes from Heathcliff, who usurps the family line and takes all of its possessions, as it does in Gothic novels.
The Gothic style is frequently linked to broader concerns. Some critics have suggested that the “gypsy” in Wuthering Heights symbolizes issues such as an outsider entering the home, patrimony threats, or immigration (through cities like Liverpool, England) influx.
It’s worth noting that while Wuthering Heights was published after the Gothic fiction craze had passed, it was written at a time when there were several other causes for it to be labeled as such.
The trend in the plot is for people to “endlessly betray, mistreat, perform violence and seek vengeance on one another.” The book is one of the first gothic tragedies because it highlights depraved choices and sinister situations.
It challenges moral ideas, love, and family by presenting them in a terrible light. Many readers found the book startling yet realistic due to its portrayal of unethical behavior. As a result, we must also discuss the part that other genres played in the story.
Romance. Wuthering Heights is unquestionably a love story. The connection between Heathcliff and Catherine goes beyond the boundaries of life and death, which is both macabre and aww-inspiring. While several marriages and sub-romances occur throughout the novel, the one between the two protagonists is by far the most dramatic and enduring.
The characters in Wuthering Heights are all motivated by their appetite, particularly covetousness, passion, desire, and ambition. When Catherine dies midway through the novel, you want to know how things will turn out for them.
Heathcliff is frequently mentioned in top-ten lists of fantastic romantic heroes; he’s typically number one. Despite his unredeemable evilness, Heathcliff is a major hunk (for more details see “Trivia”).
The gloomy atmosphere, cruelty, and discussions of class are just a few of the novel’s prominent traits. It is also part of the Romantic genre. This example depicts Catherine Earnshaw, Edgar Linton, and Heathcliff’s love triangle.
The natural world is characterized in the narrative as a strong, deadly, and mystical power. This is a Romantic device that appears frequently. Escape from industrialization was a Romantic notion of escaping. The book also reflects an anxiety about escaping from industrialization, such as in Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights.
Psychological Thriller. Wuthering Heights may not be readily labeled as a psychological thriller (there are far too many Gothic elements), yet it does have plenty of Heathcliff’s personality complexities.
In line with the tradition of this sort, Brontë depicts Heathcliff’s motives, ploys and machinations, and revenge and manipulation in great depth. By leaving us to wonder how Heathcliff would calm his riled spirit and resolve his vengeance concerns, Brontë builds up an intense sense of suspense.
Domestic fiction is a kind of Wuthering Heights that exists. It’s the consequence of the novel’s romantic and gothic features coming together. It’s an example of Victorian literature’s representation of a woman-led Romantic plot.
This is also a new genre at the time, with characters that are typically practical or perfect females. They are usually about a social or interpersonal problem. Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women and Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice are examples of such novels.