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


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