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An Exploration of Anger in Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights: Class, Gender and Ethnicity

Author

  • Sarah McIver

Summary, in English

This thesis explores expressions of anger in Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë and Wuthering
Heights by Emily Brontë. Firstly, a brief survey of how anger has been interpreted by
philosophers, theologians, doctors and scientists allows for better understanding of how anger
has been conceptualised in the past. Secondly, contextual information specifically about
nineteenth-century beliefs and practices concerning the mind and body, are presented to
provide a secure background for analysing angry behaviour and language in the two novels.
The first section of the main body of the thesis focuses on anger in the context of class
positions, the second section explores anger in relation to gender roles and the final section
analyses how the notions of race and ethnicity affect how anger is expressed and received.
This thesis suggests that the repression of anger due to societal expectations concerning class,
gender and ethnicity, has disastrous consequences for the characters concerned and society at
large. Open expression of anger during the Victorian era was dangerous for oppressed
members of society, as the law and public opinion would not provide the necessary support or
protection. These conditions are reflected in the two novels. The most successful characters
use their anger as a catalyst for change and remove themselves from the toxic situations which
create anger. This move only seems possible for those who have familial and/or financial
support.

Department/s

  • Master's Programme: Literature - Culture - Media

Publishing year

2018

Language

English

Document type

Student publication for Master's degree (two years)

Topic

  • Languages and Literatures

Keywords

  • gender
  • class
  • ethnicity
  • Jane Eyre
  • Wuthering Heights
  • Brontë.

Supervisor

  • Cian Duffy (Professor)