Wuthering Heights: A Psychological Perspective English IV, AP
Other musings. . . • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uZq_U2hbnvs&feature=related • Sheldon’s attempt at psychoanalysis
The novel’s popularity. . . • As novel, Wuthering Heights challenges our understanding of human psychology and we are reluctant voyeurs of the human condition. • One critic claims that the elements of the novel that disgust us the most are the things that we secretly do. We see echoes of our own madness in the minutiae of their terrible lives.
The impossibility of desire/perfect love • Freud claims desire is the at the heart of psychoanalysis. How does this novel address that fundamental belief? • Catherine, Heathcliff, and even Edgar are all caught up in the notion that a perfect OTHER exists….Heathcliff, especially, becomes a receptacle for other people’s fantasies. • i.e. He is not so much the perfect mate for Cathy as is the perfect “Other.” • Lockwood foolishly imagines that he and Heathcliff are soul mates. • Old Mr. Earnshaw constructs the notion of the perfect son in Heathcliff
Thus, Cathy’s effort to accommodate both a a chaste (and socially accepted) love with Edgar and a volatile, passionate love with Heathcliff represents her attempt evade the necessity of choice and avoid limitation. • Freud would refer to this as the perversity of the infant as she imagines herself to be universally loved and accepted. • Note how quickly she dismisses Nelly’s viable objection to her rationale that marrying Edgar will only help Heathcliff.
Thoughts on love. . . • Luce Irigaray—French feminist theorist • “Love is either the mode of becoming which appropriates the other to itself by consuming it, introjecting it into the self until the self disappears. Or love is the movement of becoming that allows the one and the other to grow. For such love to exist, each one must keep its body autonomous. One must not be the source of the other, not the other of the one. Two lives must embrace. . .each other with no perceived goal or end for the other”