Wuthering Heights Conflict Essay

The Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms defines realism as “recording or ‘reflecting’ faithfully an actual way of life … the problems of ordinary people in unremarkable circumstances …rendered with close attention to the details of physical setting and to the complexities of social life.” may deal with the supernatural, but both narrators, Lockwood and Nellie, are intent on telling the story of the middle-class Linton, Earnshaw, and Heathcliff families.

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This “twist” is the inclusion of a ghost story as part of the realism in the novel. In an age of realism, believing in ghosts was frowned upon by the educated upper classes; however, the supernatural was still widely believed in the lower class, especially by the lower class in .

As a genre, the ghost story typically includes at least one ghost who is seen, felt, or perceived by a character, the perception of which generally inspires “dread or unease” in the character (ODLT). Nellie claims that “the country folks, if you ask them, would swear on the Bible that he walks: there are those who speak to having met him near the church, and on the moor, and even within this house,” proving that the supernatural does not just exist for the main characters — it is believed in by the lower class as well (430).

Ghost stories frequently use common folklore as inspiration for supernatural events (ODLT). Although Nellie refuses to believe in ghosts, she listens to the tales of her class, knows their fears, and tells their stories to Lockwood.

has a ghost, Catherine Earnshaw, who scares Lockwood when he is at Wuthering Heights (117). As a character who is from the lower class but is exposed to middle class ideas, Nellie is torn between the superstitious beliefs of her class and the rational thoughts of her employers.

Even though Lockwood, and to some extent Nellie, are uncomfortable talking about supernatural events, they feel it is their duty to tell the entire story regardless of its plausibility.

Smajic writes that holders of the “fixed, stable narrative point of view,” are in a double bind when presenting the supernatural to their audience, since they must deal with the “instinctive faith in the evidence of one’s sight and the troubling knowledge that vision is often deceptive and unreliable” (1109).Lockwood and Nellie struggle to tell a story that calls into question the reliability of their own vision, yet must correlate the two perspectives in order to adhere to the standards of realism.Smajic writes that ghost story authors attempt to answer the unsettling question of when “to draw the line between objective and subjective perception in general, between optical fact and optical illusion” (Smajic 1109).Ignoring the ghost story in the novel would be ignoring a part of the story, and, as a former city dweller who prizes rational thought and integrity, it would be unjust for Lockwood to exclude any aspect of the story, even if it seems unscientific.Despite the scientific nature of realist novels, realism is not limited to merely the factual truth: it must include all aspects of the truth, all points of view, and all versions.by Emily Brontë integrates the Victorian realist tradition with the ghost story genre, creating a highly realistic portrayal of life, death, and hauntings in the English moor.The novel presents ghosts as an aspect of reality for both the region and the characters, providing further detail into the events of the story and the social context of the novel.As a realist work, the novel’s detailed approach to the setting and characters correlates with the values of Victorian realist authors.In addition to being a realist novel, includes elements of the traditional ghost story: ghosts, fear, and folklore.Heathcliff’s belief that she is still out walking the moors, and Lockwood’s experience with her outside his window, develop Catherine and Heathcliff’s highly spiritual relationship.Without the existence of the ghost story in is that as a realist narrator, he has the duty to recount the entire story, without leaving any detail out.

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