However many feminist theorists continue to emphasize the entirety and truthfulness of the female body. Even a feminist, against gender restrictions, is captured in a lesbian body and has to conform to their expectations An important aspect of the body, which features in both novels, is the hands. The hand represents a strong connection between people. The shaking of the hand is a polite, formal gesture, the kissing of the hand often shows courtesy and affection and the holding of hands portrays friendship, support or affection.
In Written on the Body, hands are used to show affection, either during sexual encounters to explore the body, “I run my fingers round the rim”18 and “the wise old hands who advocate a sensible route, not too much passion, not too much sex”19, or as a symbol of togetherness “I was holding Louise’s hand, conscious of it but sensing too that a further intimacy might begin… logged in body more than held in the mind”20 Sadomasochism, in Wuthering Heights, produces a obsession for Catherine’s hands. Catherine is perceived as an extremely violent character.
Nelly Dean, divulges that even as a child she was physically malicious, he says “in play, she liked exceedingly to act the little mistress; using her hands freely, and commanding her companions”21 The fascination of controlling and being a “mistress” along with violence even carried on into her adulthood, with continuously the use of her hands. Even before Edgar and Catherine were lovers he witnesses Catherine’s violence. “she hurt me extremely; so I started up from my knees and screamed out, “Oh miss, that’s a nasty trick! You have no right to nip me, and I’m not going to bear it. “…
she never had the power to conceal her passion”. Her violence appears to be a way of releasing her anger and sexual frustration. Overall, the passion driven characters such as Catherine, Heathcliff and Hindly, torment and cause pain to others as a means to relief of their anguish. In connection with Written on the body, the hand serve as a very sexual and affectionate basis, perhaps even in the form of violence. This is suggested further in Wuthering heights, having been hit once Edgar pulls away in order that it portrays he doesn’t enjoy the physical abuse but obtains pleasure from the close contact with Catherine’s body.
Bronte describes the sheer power of Catherine’s aggression towards Hareton, who is only a mere child. He proclaims “wicked aunt Cathy”22 She appears not to be able to constrain herself, but perhaps this is the only form of power she possess. Violence toward the body, as a means of anger and frustration can also be seen in Written on the body. The narrator has the “instinct” to “cram his windpipe into his larynx”23 whist he “kicked” in the “shins” and “punched in the “stomach”. The infliction on plain on the body appears to act as a form of relief and compensation for emotional pain.
Furthermore on the body, Wuthering Heights doesn’t appear as explicit and sexual towards the body, as Written on the Body. However the passion between Catherine and Heathcliff goes as deep as their desire to be one. Catherine states “Nelly, I am Heathcliff-he’s always, always on my mind”24 and Heathcliff in reference to Catherine despairs “Oh God! It is unutterable! I cannot live without my life! I cannot live without my soul! “25 Both are willing sacrifice themselves, there bodies, and their identities to be together.
This connects to Freudian interpretation of the novel. The characters of Catherine, Heathcliff and Edgar can represent Freud’s id, ego and superego. They merge together to form one personality and mental state, hence one body. Heathcliff represents the id, the sex drive that exists in the unconscious. His characteristics fit due to the fact he runs wild as a child, he is always in the back of Catherine’s mind and his three year absence remain unknown. Catherine connects with others and tests and controls Heathcliff, the id, hence she becomes the ego.
Edgar would have to represent the superego as this is connected to morality and decent behaviour and he makes clear the social advantages of marriage whist the id, Heathcliff, would offer excitement. The voice which informs us what we should do. As a conscience, he compels induce forces Catherine to choose between the two. This theory parallels the novels narrative as it puts them all conflict with each other with the matter of moral and what is right in question. It is these boundaries placed on women, which propels Catherine to an early grave and Bronte implies this is the course Catherine takes, she brings death upon herself.
She creates the anorexic heroine to possibly dispute the Victorian society and its mind-set. Gilbert and Gubar’s work, Mad Woman in the Attic asserts Bronte’s theme, “the “female diseases” from which Victorian women suffered were not always byproducts of their training in femininity; they were goals of such training. “26 Beauty was a key aspect in the Victorian society, as it probably is today with the media, but this was from the glaring eye of the public. Gilbert and Gubar continue, “learning to become a beautiful object, the girl learns anxiety about – perhaps even loathing of – her own flesh”27.
The desire was to reduce their body, which is exactly what Catherine does, Hindley states, “Why, Cathy, you are quite a beauty! I should have scarcely have known you, you look like a lady now. “28 Anoxia is a means she takes to gain control and power. Eating is the only thing she has ultimate control of and also she will be reunited with nature, where she was truly happy. Susan Bordo depicts anorexia as “female hunger – for public power – for independence”29 There is a suggestion that Heathcliff also only see starvations as the means to death.
He feels trapped in a healthy body yet be becomes obsessed with his wishes to die to be reunited with Catherine. “He took his knife and fork, and was going to commence eating when the inclination appeared to become suddenly extinct. “30 The most excessive form of this subjection of women can be found in the beautiful dead women, which additionally became a convention in Victorian literature. Heathcliff orders Catherine to be unearthed in order that he can embrace her corpse. He considers here beautiful in any condition.
Ultimately, the body, the means by which the characters are imprisoned, serve as a metaphor for the actual structure and context of the novel. The decay and rebirth of the bodies build and assemble the narrative. The concept of the body as a metaphor for the actual structure and context of the novel is also evident in Winterson’s Written on the body. There is a psychological difference between the disease Louise endures and Catherine’s anorexia. Cancer is “the body turning upon itself”31, it is uncontrollable.
Louise on the final page of the novel is “Paler” and “thinner”32 which suggests that life is taking its toil on her body and she is heading towards death. The ending is ambiguous and the death is uncertain, contrasting Wuthering Heights, but Winterson appears to end with an overall message about death, “We can take the world with us when we go and ling the sun under your arm. “33 As both the novels progress, it becomes evident how the female bodies struggles until eventually they become weak and worn-out and consequently dies.
Foucault believes that “history both preserves and destroys the body” 34hence each day to day undertaking presents the body to be suffering some sort of damage through the history it has to undergo. This is evident in the male characters as well, portraying that despite the male power, all will die eventually and both genders will be equal. Winterson, on the other hand, doesn’t concentrate on the death and decay of the body, even though disease exists, she does however also reveal the body as an object of desire but only through the eyes of a lover, something intense, personal and fulfilling to both involved.
There is still the impression of craving for that person, “I went back to bed, gave up the fight and dreamed of Louise. “35 Both of the novels portray yearning for the body of the lover when they are not there. The presents of the figure offers fulfilment and security. The soul in the format of a ghost, or memories, within there dreams, are not enough. Therefore the body, literally is key is a romance. My final point of address is the ending conventions of romance. Both Wuthering Heights and Written on the Body do not finish typically with the lovers together or in marriage.
They both appear to show either the body continuing, the body regenerating, through birth or the death of the body. Perhaps this indicates that love is the circle and means of life. Brian Finney, in an essay about Written on the body, states “love has been verbalised so it is almost impossible to write anything new about the experience. “36 Nevertheless, both these novels from entirely different time periods highlight, with the use of the body, a whole new variety of ideas that I didn’t contemplate until this essay. Both authors want to be distinctive and not follow their society conventions and gender boundaries.
In conclusion, the body appears to represent the identity of an individual. It is something we hold onto and desire and when it is absent we yearn for its presence. Due to gender the body automatically carries ideologies of society and both novels and theorists demonstrate that these are difficult to escape. Winterson uses the body though the entire novel to represent a myriad emotions ranging from pain to pleasure. Bronte tends to apply in as a form of constriction to the human soul and desires. Both the novels, despite there different time periods, address similar ideas about the body but in entirely different ways.
Overall the body plays a key role in the romantic genre. Bibliography E Bronte, Wuthering Heights, Next classics, London, 1996 V Leitch, Norton Anthology, Theory and Criticism, Norton and company Inc, USA, 2001 J Winterson, Written on the Body, Vintage, London, 1996 Other sources Women and Language, Volume xxv No 2 – Adobe www. yourdictionary. com www. ags. uci. edu http://ettc. uwb. edu www. csulb. edu 1 www. yourdictionary. com 2 Norton Anthology, Judith Butler, Page 2485 3 Written on the Body page 82 4 Wuthering Heights Page 80 5 Women and Language, Volume xxv No 2 Page 25
6 Stewart – Women and Language, Volume xxv No 2 Page 25 7 Norton anthology – Freud – the uncanny 8 http://www. ags. uci. edu 9 Norton Anthology, Judith Butler, Page 2485 10 Written on the Body page 73 11 www. yourdictionary. com 12 http://ettc. uwb. edu. pl/strony/friends/suwalki/Treasure%20Hunts/Dorota/jeanette_winterson. htm 13 Written on the Body page 89 14 Norton anthology page 2491 15 Norton anthology page 2491 16 Women and language, volume xxv no 2 page 24 17 Women and language, volume xxv no 2 page 24 18 Written on the body page 73 19 Written on the body page 71?
20 Written on the body page 82 21 Wuthering Heights page 30 22 Wuthering Heights page 60 23 Written on the body page 170 24 Wuthering heights page 25 Wuthering heights page 273 26 Norton anthology page 2031 27 Norton Anthology 2030 28 Wuthering Heights page 29 Norton anthology page 2368 30 Wuthering Heights page 340 31 Written on the body page 103 32 Written on the body page 190 33 Written on the body page 190 34 Norton anthology page 2491 35 Written on body 149 36 http://www. csulb. edu/~bhfinney/Winterson. html ?? ?? ?? ?? 302 – Woman Writes Stephanie Noonan?