The female writer Emily Bronte wrote the novel ‘Wuthering Heights’ in 1847. Bronte’s father had influenced Emily with his well-known poetry and imagination. Bronte’s childhood could have also played a part in writing her novel as she used to live in the moors herself before her mother died.
The North Yorkshire moors where ‘Wuthering Heights’ is set is a bleak, desolate and solitary place. The area was very inaccessible and it would have taken days to get to neighbouring small towns as the only method of transport was by horseback or by horse and cart. As the moor was so remote there was a limited social life and close friendships were only usually between other family members.
The women of those times were expected to be married at an early age and also bear children soon after marriage. However, many women died during or soon after childbirth as the medical knowledge was very poor. Death at an early age was also not uncommon. If a mother died then it was normal for an unmarried female relative to look after the children and take the late mother’s place in the home.
The social classes were separate at the time the novel was set and marriage was usually within a social class. It would have been considered degrading for a rich person to marry someone with little or no inheritance and of a lower class. This class distinction meant servants were treated badly and often had to live separate to the family they worked for, sometimes out with the animals.
This class separation was also in place in Santiago, Chile, at the time James Watson wrote ‘Talking in Whispers’. Watson’s novel was based on real events and some of the characters were meant to reflect real people. The military dictator, General Zuckerman was based on Pinochet the leader of the Chile government, whilst Miguel Alberti, the people’s choice for president was based on Allende.
The classes in Chile were kept separate by the fact that the wealthy did not appose the military. This is because the military allowed the rich to keep their riches and status. Because the upper classes supported the military, they were spared any torture and public brutality.
The novel focuses on youth and resistance. It shows how individuals are prepared to risk their lives to resist. They want to broadcast to the rest of the world how Chile presents a civilised front but the reality is how brutality and viciousness reign.
At the time of ‘Talking in Whispers’, the military in Chile created fear by people just disappearing. Pinochet enforced his power through fear and terror. Civilians were made to keep to a curfew and public assemblies and trade unions were forbidden. A state of repression was in place by the CNI limiting and controlling the rights and freedoms of individuals in society.
People feared the consequences of breaking the curfews and restrictions so much that there was little resistance. However, in the novel youths resisted and this helps reflect hope for the country. It shows how people in Chile if they have the survival of spirit and courage can help bring normal life back to society and overcome unfair ruling.
For this piece of coursework I am going to compare both novel, ‘Talking in Whispers’ and ‘Wuthering Heights’. Both contain brutality and I will be writing about how the different characters on each react to the situations in various ways.
Watson uses various incidents of brutality throughout the novel ‘Talking in Whispers’. He emphasises the brutality by using various devices and a varied use of language and imagery.
The opening paragraphs show celebration that the people of Chile are ‘Winning the argument for democracy’. The people are confident that the Silver Lion, their choice for president, will win the election and bring freedom and justice to their country.
This scene of hope is followed immediately by a contrasting incident of brutality, where Juan Laretta is arrested and Horacio is shot dead. The author uses many devices such as personification to emphasise this brutality. This is used when the soldiers, sprayed the ditch with machine gun fire then the ‘trees spat bark’. This makes it seem as if the trees are alive and are spitting back in defence. Also negative words are used to describe the incident.
‘The shots pierced the side of the window.’
The word “pierced” suggests a sharp pain. Watson uses ‘scrabbled’ and ‘lunged’ to describe how Andres moved in a frantic and desperate way, which also emphasises his fear.
A variety of tenses are used such as the past tense when relating what has happened. To build tension sometimes the first person is used. This makes the reader feel they are witnessing what Andres is, as the present tense brings a sense of immediacy. The first person is also used for Andres’s thoughts when he asks himself:
“Who are they? A Death Squad? More probably, Security.
Our friends the CNI”
The device of using the first person makes the reader feel as though they are there with Andres witnessing the events as he does.
Another device used to emphasise incidents or points is to put one sentence in a paragraph of it’s own, for example,
“Four of them with guns”
This could be isolated because Andres would indeed be feeling isolated as he is only one against the four-armed men. The sentence being on its own as a paragraph highlights this factor. Also it creates a sense of danger and the reader pauses before he reads on, as it is a new paragraph to follow.
Alliteration and repetition is also a device used during the incident. The word ‘He’ is used to begin a lot of short sentences. It helps to portray a tense, dangerous atmosphere as the reader reads the events exactly as they happen. The short sentences make the events more immediate.
Metaphors are used to give the reader a description of what is happening and creates an image of the event. In this incident, Watson writes:
‘Earth burst up into clouds’
The image created is that the earth rose and formed clouds as it was sprayed with machine gun fire. This shows the sheer power of the machine gun and how dangerous the situation is for Andres.
It is also evident that four armed men unnecessarily beat Juan, it was uncalled for, as Juan was unarmed. He was punched and kicked into the security car. Watson uses words like ‘accelerate away in a wild sweep’ and ‘tyres howling’ to emphasise the movement of the car and create images for the reader. Watson also mentions ‘dust shooting from the rear wheels’ this helps enhance the speed and power exerted in the situation.
Another important incident of brutality is when Andres is being interrogated and tortured in the ‘House of Laughter’
Watson starts the paragraph where Andres has been trust into the interrogation room and gives a description of the room around him. The images creates by the reader are destroyed as the sentence that follows shuts the images off.
‘Before a hood was dropped over his head’
Watson continuous to add how Andres’s wrists were handcuffed behind his back. These actions enable the reader to know Andres is helpless and unable to even see what is happening to him so he cannot defend himself. Also these actions help create an image of Andres’s isolation because he is in darkness.
When Andres vocally resists by mentioning the Constitution,
‘A fist from nowhere hurled him over, dark to dark, head
and shoulder on to the cold stone.’
It is the first act of physical brutality inflicted as a result of not accepting the situation. Watson describes he first interrogator’s voice as monotone with no emotion, which is difficult to locate. This emphasises the fact Andres cannot see him.
The sentence, ‘There are no human rights here’, allow the reader to understand how inhuman the ‘House of Laughter’ really is. The reader realises that as a prisoner, you are only kept alive until you have given all necessary information over and as long as you suit the interrogator’s purposes and needs.
Watson uses the device of having a good/bad interrogator and Andres gives them appropriate names. Snake is clever, sly and calm and the controlling one of the two, with Hog being the more impatient and aggressive. By giving them names it brings their characters to life, allowing the reader to experience the events and live the situation in their mind, feeling and hearing what Andres hears.
By Watson using a script like layout it quickens the reader’s pace, which allows the reader to feel the immediacy of the situation. Watson describes in detail the brutality and ‘treatment’ given to Andres. Rather than just saying, Andres was slapped in the face which made his nose bleed, Watson states:
‘He was slapped full in the face and his nose spilled out
The descriptive words help emphasise the brutality and also help the situation come to life in the reader’s imagination. Another use of descriptive words is used when Andres was beaten for giving the answer, ‘No-no message’, which they do not want,
‘A kick from behind the knees scattered him onto the ground.’
The writer also describes Snake’s voice as calm, which “relentlessly pierced” the confusion. The word ‘Pierced’ emphasises the pain Andres is feeling. This device is again used later for,
‘Snake’s voice smoothed as it spiked’,
giving off the effect of sharpness. Watson then uses a simile to describe his voice,
‘Cold, like dry ice’.
This stresses how no emotions are brought out at all by Snake; he is calm all the time and in control.
Watson uses a metaphor to describe the situation of Andres on the Pendura,
‘I am a slice of beef’
This brings the reader’s attention to the fact that Andres is no longer a person because of the inhuman act he is going through. He is treated as nothing more than a dead animal.
The pain Andres is feeling is describes as ‘Excruciating’ ‘Blazed’ and ‘Burning’ revealing the intense pain he suffers. Andres’s voice is a ‘Whimper’, showing how this type of torture has reduced him from being in control of himself to a small helpless boy.
The writer ends the sixth chapter with the reader knowing that a more sever type of torture is about to come, leaving the reader in suspense, similar to what Andres would be feeling as he would not know what his outcome would be.
During the incident where Andres is being electrocuted, Watson uses many brutal words to describe what is happening to Andres. Some examples of these harsh words are,
‘Thrown’, ‘Stabbed’, ‘Violently’ and ‘Shake’.
All of these movements are uncontrolled by Andres and help express how Andres has lost control of his body. Yet, Watson mentions the small black box in Andres’s brain. The box is describes like a mouse in a hole, as a mouse is considered safe while in a hole and it shows the information Andres is keeping from Snake and Hog is safely contained away from all the questions and pain.
Stream of Consciousness
Three long years……three years of torture since seeing her……Cathy……how I loved her……we wanted the same from life……we enjoyed the wild Moors……we shared so much……until Linton……he changed her……destroyed what we had……she changed……insulted me and laughed at me……but I forgave her……she is my soul……Hindley….that pathetic ……Ignorant …… man…… how he hated me……from the time father brought me home……Mr. Earnshaw……he was good to me……treated me fairly……unlike Hindley……put me out……live a slave……like an animal……no longer equal……he ruined me…
I will ruin him……I will out wit him……Edgar too……I have new wealth……I will use it……to own what I deserve……Wuthering Heights……and Thrushcross Grange too……I have plans to take what is his……his sister is one key to my plan……a gullible fool……Isabelle……weak……easily fooled…… humiliate Edgar……and Hindley……as they did me……how dare they……a Gypsy!……and turn my love against me……steal my heart……I will have my Cathy back……she will once more love me……as when we were young……before Hindley beat me……took my life……my soul away from me……now I will take his……and all he owns……I will obtain all I deserve……be master of my life……back with Cathy……how I miss her……I will go back and……she will change…… I will no longer degrade her…..she will respect me…..see what she has been missing…..see my new wealth…..she shall want me……and we will be together once more…..together….
Both “Talking in Whispers” and “Wuthering Heights” include brutality. However, “Talking in Whispers” contains more physical brutality. This was more apparent due to the control of the military and the torture incidents when Andres is being interrogated. The killings and shootings emphasise the power that General Zuckerman has. As a result of this power and disrespect for human rights that psychological brutality is also inflicted. The restrictions, curfews and disappearances all create an element of fear, fear of being the next one to be killed and the risk of losing your family.
The type of psychological brutality in “Wuthering Heights” is different. The brutality in this novel is more to do with social status than fear. It is apparent when Heathcliff’s “father” dies and Hindley makes Heathcliff live as a servant. Hindley could not accept him as an equal he was seen as a “gypsy”. This type of verbal insult, a long with when Cathy said, “It would degrade me to marry him”, hurts people’s minds rather than their body. Yet, “Wuthering Heights” also shows physical brutality such as when Hindley fought with Heathcliff when they were young and when Heathcliff beats his wife. Also, his treatment of Hareton is not very kind.
In conclusion, both novels contain brutality but both concentrate on different aspects, and because of the setting, the reasons and effects are different.