(please check file attachment then read the following description please) The idea here is to figure on what she wants to say about the Romantic movement and how she relates to the other Romantic thinkers we have looked at. Her argument is more complex and confusing than Austen’s was, so pay attention to the contradictions and the ambiguities. In particular, she gives us two possible versions of Romantic subjectivity: the Catherine-Heathcliff model and the Cathy-Hareton one. Does she favor one over the other? How can both be representative of Romanticism? Is the latter an answer to the problems raised by the former? Also, be attentive to how the readings for this week can help you make sense of Bronte’s position. In these readings, we see the Romantic fascination with the non-European, how they admire it and are excited by it; yet, we can also see how they tend to exoticize the non-European, turn it into a sublime Other (which is thus fear inducing), and thereby stereotype it. How can this help us to understand the character of Heathcliff? Is he the exotic, sublime Other who disrupts the closed community of the Grange and the Heights?
Some additional thoughts on this: Be attentive to the fact that the novel has shifting narrators. At the beginning and the end, Lockwood is giving us his understanding of events; however, for most of the novel Ellen (Nellie) Dean is relating the history of events. You need to be careful not to confuse either of these voices with Bronte’s voice, particularly Dean. It is clear that Dean prefers the Cathy 2.0/Hareton couple over the Catherine/Heathcliff one. It would be easy to think that this is also true of Bronte. But is it? In some respects, Dean is an Enlightenment proxy in the novel, always representing reason, common sense, the general good and moral behavior – so, of course, she frowns on the Catherine/Heathcliff couple. But from a Romantic perspective, such values are of much less importance than individual fulfillment, personal authenticity and the sublimity of a love that overwhelms and consumes one. Afterall, with whom does the novel actually end?
For the paper, remember you’ll want a clear descriptive and interpretive thesis (that is, it indicates what you will argue and why this is significant for an understanding of Romanticism); sufficient evidentiary support from the novel; clear connections to the other Romantic thinkers we have looked at; and a logical argument that moves clearly from your introduction to your conclusion. Your goal here is simply to explain Bronte’s take on Romanticism. How does she contribute to our understanding of the movement? What wouldn’t we understand about Romanticism if we didn’t have her novel? Be attentive to the ambiguities and contradictions of the novel, as they are key to understanding the position that Bronte is articulating. I will also draw your attention to the last set of readings we are doing on the Romantic attitude toward nature. It should have struck you that the novel is set entirely in the countryside, that those who leave the areas of the Grange or the Heights simply disappear from the story and that nature itself is a character in the novel. Depending on what you are arguing this could be critical for your analysis.
Also, don’t forget to attach the grading criteria sheet to the end of your paper.
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