The Master Model in Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights: An Ecofeminist Reading

One of the canonical writings of English literature, Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights (1847) illustrates the distortion and polarisation of nature, the resistance of patriarchal figures and the prime importance of knowledge and reason in dissolving and reclaiming alienated identities. Approaching the narrative through Plumwood’s (1993/2003) (eco)feminist critique, this article aims to analyse the political dimension of human relations with nature and the dominant forms of rationality in the logical structure of dualisms. This lens allowed an ecofeminist reading of the interrelated oppressions of race, class, and gender in the construction of Catherine and Heathcliff. The fluctuating position of these protagonists in the scale of otherness reveals the power dynamics of the hegemonic centres in both households, Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange. In this context, education eventually points at a possible reconciliation of the opposing binarisms of the master’s model in the second generation of characters, Cathy and Hareton. Emily Brontë’s characters stress the intricate articulation of the sources of tension and the mechanisms of oppression at work in her Wuthering Heights.