Discuss The Use Of The Double Within The Text

3420 words - 14 pages

Freud argued that “the word ‘Heimlich’ is not unambiguous, but belongs to two sets of ideas, which, without being contradictory, are yet very different: on the one hand it means what is familiar and agreeable, and on the other what is concealed and kept out of sight.” In this essay, I will explore Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights in contrast with Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca. In Wuthering Heights, Bronte invites her readers to follow the stormy love affair between Catherine and Heathcliff, which I will suggest demonstrates their correspondence to one another as a double despite being two separate people. As well as this, I will dispute the idea of a second double being present in Wuthering Heights through the use of the two houses which are placed in juxtaposition with one another. In order to do this, I will question whether or not Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange can act as a double to one another despite holding opposing values and lifestyles. In contrast, Du Maurier is able to manipulate the idea of the double to paint a vivid picture of a young woman living in the shadow of her husband’s former wife, and how the two represent the double. I will debate if there really is evidence that the women act as a double to one another or if their constant comparison is only made by a jealous and insecure narrator. Additionally, the form of the novel itself acts as a double with the sense that it begins and ends with a dream of Manderley. However, I feel that although the two dreams represent a similarity and hence, a double; the fact that they are two very different dreams could throw into debate their authenticity to act as a double.
When Wuthering Heights was published in 1847, Bronte presented to her readers a pair of tortured lovers who live very much away from the constraints of society, yet eventually torn apart by 19th century conceptions of class and status. Although these two characters are juxtaposed in terms of status, class and race; Bronte created the two characters to act as a double, reflecting one another’s spirituality and thoughts. This idea is portrayed within the novel through both Catherine and Heathcliff, but imitated most strongly within the mental framework of Catherine as she believes herself to be the spiritual embodiment of her lover: “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.” This is an idea which undertakes constant repetition through Heathcliff, and even more so after their physical unity is shattered after Catherine’s death: Here, Heathcliff proclaims that he cannot live without his life nor can he live without his soul, suggesting that he and Catherine are actually one being and therefore, a double. The physical language reflects the impossibility he feels when faced with the issue of surviving their separation. This is supported by Rod Mengham’s statement that “his conception of their togetherness is much...

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