Dreams are an important key to knowledge in the novel ‘Wuthering Heights’, and the dreamwork and hallucinatory elements of the text have anticipated twentieth century psychoanalytic criticism (the theories of Sigmund Freud). Lockwood’s dream of the child Cathy begging to be let in is disturbing on two levels. It is grisly, and the gratuitous cruelty of him sawing her wrist against the broken glass is uncomfortable, it is also disturbing because neither Lockwood nor Heathcliff really believe that it was a dream. It therefore doubly resists integration into the rational.
When you look at the previous events of the novel up to the point of the dreams, Bronte tries to build up anticipation and eeriness so that the actual dreams come as a climax to the events preceding them. You definitely tell that something is going to occur at Wuthering Heights as it is fully described with an abundance of mysteriousness and has an unnatural feel to it. When it says ‘Wuthering being a provincial adjective, descriptive of the atmospheric tumult to which its station is exposed in stormy weather’.
Stormy weather can always show a state of unnaturalness to a place. Bronte also shows almost an absence of sunlight, … and by a range of gaunt thorns all stretching their limbs one way, as if craving alms of the sun,’. Which , which could show a deficiency of sunlight , this always shows a place of goodness and as such shows a an lack of goodness here. This shows that an occurrence may be pending which concurs with the preceding descriptions theme. There are also references to disturbing nature and language,’… surrounded by swarm of squealing puppies; and other dogs haunted other recesses. ‘ The part when Lockwood gets attacked by the dogs is another bad occurrence which may propose that this place has strange goings on.
These events are brought together in the back of the reader’sreaders mind which constructs an anticipation of a climactic event approaching. These dreams wouldn’t have been as effective without the language used in this passage of the novel. Bronte’s use of language is indispensable to the dreams seeming more vivid and disturbing. Firstly Bronte attempts to keep accuracy to the settings as she keeps the Yorkshire dialect which has been generally been considered to be an accurate rendition of the accent but Bronte’s use of dialect often established criticism as the local characters were disparaged for being course and rough.
The superabundance of metaphor and symbol and the lyricism of the descriptive passages, especially the dreams, have earned this novel praise for its poetic language. “This time I remembered I was lying in the oak closet, and I heard distinctively the gusty wind, and the driving of the snow; I heard, also, the fir-bough repeat its teasing sound, and ascribed it to the right cause: but it annoyed me so much, that I resolved to silence it, if possible; and, I though, I rose and endeavored to unhasp the casement.
This small passage in his second dream has an adequate amount of personification to bestow this poetic language cited. These dreams add to our understanding of the life of Emily Bronte and other women in the 19th century in the very themes and locations of these dreams. The book is constantly showing references to the life and personality of Bronte, like the romantic and nostalgic references to the nature and to the moors as a pace of childhood may also be read in this context.
Mainly this passage of the book can be seen as indicative of the position of women as isolated from culture and modern industry. The relationship between literature and the world is relatively straightforward, that reality exists and that it is literature’s job to describe it. The constant shutting out of Cathy in the second dream is like the societal flouting of women in that period. It tells us that women were considered to be of lesser importance to the implementation of the community as a whole.
The female gender isolated from supremacy, command and authority in this book as far as the society is concerned at the time and Bronte shows this. Feminist criticism has seen the novel in terms of its language, and in terms of its strategies and opportunities that are open to women in the novel. Feminist and gender criticism has also provided some interesting readings of the ambivalent representations of gender in the dreams and in the novel as a whole, not the least of which ‘Gilberts and Gubar’s’ reading of Heathcliff as ‘female’ because he is dispossessed of social power.
He has no status, no social place and no property. He is only Heathcliff, never Mr. Heathcliff, or the master in contrast to Edgar Linton. Bronte rights Heathcliff to have rebellions against the social conventions of class; marriage and inheritance similarly suggest that he can be read as ‘female’, which suggests these qualities in the society’s view of ‘stereotypical’ women, since endorsing such conventions only serves the interests of patriarchal culture.
These dreams that Lockwood have can influence our understanding of what is to come. Now that the dreams have occurred we have understanding of the social arrangement of people and we also understand that there must be some grounds for the aloof and detached character of Heathcliff, so we can begin to value the importance of Cathy having some relevance to Heathcliff’s nature and this obliges the reader think there must be an episode involving them both which scarred Heathcliff in this way.
The second dream leads the reader to trust that this girl, who was in the dream, was of great significance to Heathcliff, as he moans to the plain moors in front of him for Cathy to return after 20 years, which insinuates a lingering for this girl. The reader may think that this girl has a part to play in this novel yet to come because of these references to her importance.
The dreams which occur in the novel have an overall indispensable quantity in the novel, without these dreams we could not understand a vast lot of the story which follows. I believe these dreams to be of great significance to the rest of the novel also because they add to the overall effect of indistinct nature of this story which is of what drew me to the book in the first place.