Family complexes and dwelling plight in Wuthering Heights

Magdalen KI*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review


This essay argues that central to Wuthering Heights is the connection between troubled homes and unresolved family complexes - namely, the weaning, intrusion, and Oedipus complexes, leading to the rise of neuroses, psychosis and perversion. Men and women build different spaces in order to dwell, but they often create dwelling plights to perpetuate their ongoing problems. Old Earnshaw negates the paternal custom to construct a house of equity, and this directly prompts an insecure Hindley to establish a house of tyranny. To sideline paternal dominance, Catherine creates for herself different anti-oedipal spaces, only to be bound by a co-dependent love and a love of individuation, and to end up drifting madly in a liminal non-place. To deal with peer rivalry, abandonment rage, and castration threat, Heathcliff becomes a vengeful sadist bent on destroying happy places. Within this overall context, Emily Brontë intends that the new family should seek new 'contrarian' ways of thinking and dwelling.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)202-212
Number of pages11
JournalBronte Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Literature and Literary Theory

User-Defined Keywords

  • Dwelling
  • Intrusion complex
  • Neuroses
  • Oedipus complex
  • Perversion
  • Psychosis
  • Space
  • Weaning complex


Dive into the research topics of 'Family complexes and dwelling plight in Wuthering Heights'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this