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We see a popular amount of Gothic fiction around the idea of; ‘The overarching structure of the protagonist being caught up in a matrix of domestic paranoia.’ There are often themes of romance, suspicion, investigation and confrontation, all which closely mimic the traditional ‘BlueBeard’ narrative; where a young woman investigates her new husbands lifestyle through the exploration of a hidden room in his castle, only to find evidence of murder or foul play. She is trapped within his decaying home with an appertaining ‘Droit de Signeur’ held against her giving the male the legal right to take her virginity and keep her as his own. She is also often distraught from her departure of her idealised background surrounded by parental safety to the threatening marital home. The following work is an exploration on the modern appropriation of the different archetypes, which are associated with the female in gothic literature into gothic influenced fashion editorials. Not only do we see the popular stereotype of the vulnerable woman trapped by the man; for example Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula’ with the characters many wives, we also see hints of feminism in the Brontë Sisters famous gothic writings of ‘Wuthering Heights’ and ‘Jane Eyre’. They have created the characters of ‘Catherine’ and ‘Jane’ to be opinionated and passionate feminists, who appose Victorian stereotypes about women, and attempt to subvert and escape restrictions of the female entrapment within the domestic space. The sorrow, mourning and the effect of wallowing love of the female in the gothic novel is a common theme with most protagonist female roles, as is the female archetype of the powerful woman with a control over the man and the environment. Daphne Du Maurier does this in the gothic novel ‘Rebecca’ where the eponymous femme fatale character ‘Rebecca’ dominates the entire plot even though she is deceased and no images of her are ever seen. The following work aims to portray the sense of emotion felt by these female characters, and to express how the author has used the portrayal of the female in the gothic novel to express opinions on the suppression of female sexuality and to challenge the values of a male dominated culture.
Mr Heathcliff, you have nobody to love you, and however miserable you make us, we shall still have the revenge of thinking
“When the leaves rustle, they sound very much like the stealthy movement of a woman in evening dress, and when they shiver suddenly, and fall, and scatter away along the ground, they might be the patter of a woman’s hurrying footsteps, and the mark in the gravel the imprint of a high-heeled shoe.”
g that your cruelty rises from your greater misery”
“I could fight with the living but I could not fight the dead. If there was some woman in London that Maxim loved, someone he wrote to, visited, dined with, slept with, I could fight her. We would stand on common ground. I should not be afraid. Anger and jealousy were things that could be conquered. One day the woman would grow old or tired or different, and Maxim would not love her anymore. But Rebecca would never grow old. Rebecca would always be the same. And she and I could not fight. She was to strong for me.”
â€œMy great miseries in this world have been Heathcliffâ€™s miseries, and I watched and felt each from the beginning: my great thought in living is himself. If all else perished, and he remained, I should still continue to be; and if all else remained, and he were annihilated, the universe would turn to a mighty stranger: I should not seem a part of it.â€?
“My love for Linton is like the foliage in the woods: time will change it, I’m well aware, as winter changes the trees. My love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath: a source of little visible delight, but necessary. Nelly, I am Heathcliff! He’s always, always in my mind: not as a pleasure, any more than I am always a pleasure to myself, but as my own being.”
â€œYou fight against that devil for love as long as you may; when the time comes, not all the angels in heaven shall save him!â€?
â€œI was only going to say that heaven did not seem to be my home; and I broke my heart with weeping to come back to earth; and the angels were so angry that they flung my out into the middle of the heath on the top of Wuthering Heights; where I woke sobbing for joyâ€?
“Her position before was sheltered from the light: now, I had a distinct view of her whole figure and countenance. She was slender, and apparently scarcely past girlhood: an admirable form, and the most exquisite little face that I have ever had the pleasure of beholding: small features, very fair; flaxen ringlets, or rather golden, hanging loose on her delicate neck; and eyes — had they been agreeable in expression, they would have been irresistible.”
â€œHe wanted all to lie in an ecstasy of peace; I wanted all to sparkle and dance in a glorious jubilee. I said his heaven would be only half alive; and he said mine would be drunk: I said I should fall asleep in his; and he said he could not breathe in mine.â€?
“The thing that irks me most is this shattered prison, after all. I’m tired, tired of being enclosed here. I’m wearying to escape into that glorious world, and to be always there: not seeing it dimly through tears, and yearning for it through the walls of an aching heart, but really with it, and in it.”
“It’s no company at all, when people know nothing and say nothing,’ she muttered.”
‘‘Wish I were out of doors! I wish I were a girl again, half savage and hardy, and free; and laughing at injuries, not maddening under them! Why am I so changed? why does my blood rush into a hell of tumult at a few words? I’m sure I should be myself were I once among the heather on those hills. ‘Open the window again wide: fasten it open!’”
â€œHe is more myself than I am. Whatever our two souls are made of, his and mine are the same.â€?
â€œMr Heathcliff, you have nobody to love you, and however miserable you make us, we shall still have the revenge of thinking that your cruelty rises from your greater miseryâ€?
â€œI have not broken your heart you have broken it; and in breaking it, you have broken mine.â€?
“I cannot live without my life! I cannot live without my soul!”
“It would degrade me to marry Heathcliff now so he shall never know how I love him and that not because he’s handsome Nelly but because he’s more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of his and mine are the same and Linton’s is as different as a moonbeam from lightning or frost from fire.”