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Discussions and prep tasks

The Role of Social Class

May 19, 2007 by msbarnsley · 1 Comment · Wuthering Heights

Discuss the The Role of Social Class in Wuthering Heights using quotations from the text as evidence.

  • Describe the social class of the Earnshaws, the Lintons, and Heathcliff. Which are of a higher social class? Why is this significant?
  • How does social class motivate Catherine’s actions? How does she try to change her class?
  • How does Heathcliff’s social class influence the way he is treated and his own actions? How does Heathcliff’s class change?
  • What is the role of class in the novel? How do tensions in the book result from class struggles?
  • What role do the servants Nelly, Joseph, and Zillah play in the novel?

One Comment so far ↓

  • davo

    -The Earnshaws and lintons are middle to upper class, wealthy yorkshire farmers. Although as recognised by Lockwood, have, due to their isolation created their own customs in their social structure, they remain middle class. The Lintons are perhaps of a higher social class, as they have more property and mr and mrs lintn survived longer than the earnshaws. Heathcliffe is brought up in a middle class environment with the earnshaws and then into a working class when hindley takes over custody of heathcliff. Heathcliff originally was of low working class, being a gypsy (a poor nomadic race of people) and had dark skin. His ethnic disposition worked against him when being judged by the earnshaws an lintons. This constant beliitling of Heathcliff by the hindley and the lintons ultimately resulted in his loss of Catherine and his motivation in bring about the downfalls of the earnshaws and lintons

    - Catherines actions are motivated by social class when she recognises due to her upper class background she can not marry down in class to Heathcliff. She tries to change her class by living with the lintons and learning class from them and then by rejecting Heathcliff

    - Heathcliffs origins as a working class, dark skinned gypsy determined ultimately alot of the illtreatment he recieved in later life. Because of the discrimination Heathcliff recieves due to his social class, he develops the “underdog attitude” and ultimately becomes a defensive man. Heathcliffes class changes from a working class homeless gypsy to a middle class yorkshire farmers son, to a domestic servant and farm hand, and then again to a middle class yorkshire landowner.

    - Class struggle is a central theme found in wuthering heights. Class determines hatred, marriage, financial situation and occupation in Wuthering heights. The strict guidlines of class structure break hearts, bring about marriages without love and affect the physical and emotional wellbeing of every character.

    - nelly, Joseph and Zillah play the role of domestic servants, employed by their middle class families. They play the role of symbolic working class society

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