A Summary of Heart of Darkness & Analysis by Joseph Conrad

A Summary of “Heart of Darkness” by Joseph Conrad

Joseph Conrad, a Polish-English novelist, wrote the novella, “Heart of Darkness,” in 1899. The novella is a tale of one Charles Marlow, a sailor who is assigned a mission by a trading company from Belgium, only called the Company in the narration, as the captain of a ferry-boat into the interior of Africa. Most analysts regard the novella as Conrad’s critique of the effects of European imperialism on Africa, whilst praising it for the novelist’s careful exploration of the themes of morality and power dynamics. Much as the author refrains from mentioning the exact river along which the narrations occur, at the novella’s composition, the Congo Free State, where the enormous and economically significant River Congo was located, was Belgium’s King Leopold II’s private colony. Marlow receives a text from Kurtz, a trader dealing in ivory at a station located far up the river. Kurtz has since gone native ad is Marlow’s expedition intention, the story tells.

Conrad’s work expresses the idea that only so much differentiates civilized persons from savages. His composition is an implicit commentary on racism and imperialism. The work’s setting offers Marlow’s story framework, as he tells of his obsession with Kurtz, a successful ivory trader. The novelist provides parallels between Africa as the dark places and London, which he regards as the most sophisticated town on earth. The novella has been re-produced and translated into numerous languages since its original publication in three parts in commemoration of the 1000th edition of the “Blackwood’s Magazine.” The novella was the inspiration behind “Apocalypse Now,” a 1979 film directed by Francis Ford Coppola. Furthermore, the Modern Library listed Conrad’s work on the list of one hundred best novels written in English over the twentieth century in 1998, listing it at number sixty-seven. This paper presents an in-depth summary of Conrad’s work, principally highlighting the plot and a presenting a brief summary. The analysis reveals that much of the work is on the effects of European imperialism in Africa written from a Westerner’s perspective and failing to capture and infuse the perspectives of the natives.

Plot Summary of “Heart of Summary”

Charles Marlow narrates the tale of how he came to captain a river steamboat belonging to an ivory trading company, Company, to his friends. He indicates that he was always fascinated by what he calls blank spaces existing on maps, especially Africa, as a child. He indicates that he was majorly attracted to images of rivers on maps. He tells his narrative in a flashback, where he goes to Africa using a steamer. According to the narration, Marlow travels about fifty kilometers (thirty miles) up the river to the Company’s location. He finds ongoing work on a railroad, prompting him to explore the nature of the ravine in the region. The character indicates that he is terrified to discover a region filled with critically ill Africans who formerly worked on the railway and are now on the cusps of death. He now must spend ten days waiting for an assignment at the Outer Station owned by the company. He meets the chief account, who informs him of Kurtz, telling him that he (Kurtz) was in charge of a critical trading post, describing him as an esteemed first-class agent. The account tells of his belief that Kurtz would scale greater heights working at the same rate.

After the ten days, Marlow leaves in the company of sixty men to journey to the Central Station, where a steamboat lays in wait for his command. He learns while at the station that the steamboat had been destroyed in an accident. He hears from the general manager that he could not wait for his arrival, rumoring that Kurtz had been taken ill. Marlow resorts to fish boat from the water, spending months on repair works. Delayed by the lack of spare parts and working tools, the character is frustrated by the duration he had to take to complete the repairs. During this time, he learns of the manager’s resentment for Kurtz, not the admiration he had initially been told. He finishes working on the boat, sets sail, and spends two months towards Kurtz’s station. The seafaring pauses after about thirteen kilometers (eight miles), the journey pauses for a night’s rest. Marlow narrates that they woke up to a fog-filled morning, where the boat was fully enveloped in the thick precipitation. The locals attack the steamboat using arrows, killing the helmsman and prompting Marlow to repeatedly sound the steam whistle to frighten the assailants away.

A man boards Marlow’s boat upon landing at Kurtz’s station. Marlow discovers that the stranger was wanderer from Russia who had strayed into Kurtz’s station. The narrator also tells of how he learned that the locals worshipped Kurtz, noting that the latter had been critically sick lately. The narration indicates at this point that Kurtz had been involved in numerous brutal raids for ivory in the neighboring territory. There is a collection of many severed native heads around the station’s fence posts as testimony to Kurtz’s methods. The stranger, now on board, tells Marlow about Kurtz’s open mindedness and how he admires him even for his willingness and power to use his brains. Marlow begins to speculate that Kurtz had gone mad. Kurtz’s pilgrims stretcher him out of his house, causing a mammoth of native warriors to come out of the forest and surround them (Kurtz, Marlow, the Russian, and the crew) ready for an attack. Kurtz has a short talk with the pilgrims before they go back into the jungle.

Kurtz’s entourage carries him to the steamboat, laying him in the cabin. An attractive native woman, seemingly a mistress of Kurtz’s, appears at bank, staring out at the steamer. The Russian opines that the woman has been involved with the sick Kurtz, and that she had been the cause of trouble in the past because of her control over him. One further learns that the Russian informs Marlow, after he swears him to secrecy, that the attack on the boat was Kurtz’s making. He says that Kurtz wanted the crew to believe that he was dead so that the company could leave him to his plans. Marlow also learns from the manager that Kurtz has critically harmed the Company and its business using his unsound methods.

The strange Russian further reveals to Marlow that Kurtz is convicted that the company is out to kill him, where Marlow affirms that hangings were discussed. The Russian then paddles off using a canoe, afraid of the manager’s displeasure. Readers also discover that Kurtz vanishes in the night, prompting Marlow to go seeking for him, only to find him crawling on all fours, as he approaches the native camp. At this time, Marlow pleads with him to go back to the ship. The crew sets off down the Congo the following morning even though they discover that his health is fast failing.

The steamer also breaks down during the trip, as they stop for repairs. Kurtz hands over a bunch of papers to Marlow, including a photograph and his commissioned report, informing him to keep them hidden from the manager. Kurtz is near death the next time Marlow speaks to him. He hears him only frailly as he whispers, “The horror!” twice before a manager’s boy tells the crew that he had died a few moments later. Marlow only gives Kurtz’s pilgrims little attention the next day as they burry Kurtz in a muddy hole, whom he referred to as “something.”

Marlow returns to Europe contemptuous and embittered of what he thinks of as the “civilized” world. A host of callers seek to retrieve the papers that he had received from Kurtz but Marlow denies them, only releasing those in which he had no interest. He delivers Kurtz’s report to a media personality, asking them to publish the documents if they consider it fit. However, Marlow retains the photograph of Kurtz’s fiancée and some personal letters. The character (Kurtz’s lover) is still in a deep mourning state when Marlow visits her even when it has been over a year since his burial. The woman presses Marlow to give as much information about her lover as he could, insisting on his final words. Marlow informs her that Kurtz had mentioned her name at his last breathe. For this case, readers discover that Marlow does not want to shutter her illusions by telling the truth about Kurtz and how he died.

A Short Analysis of “Heart of Darkness”

Readers can understand “Heart of Darkness” using its semiautobiographical association with the novelist’s life at the most superficial level. Conrad’s career, much like the protagonist, Marlow, also took him sailing up the Congo. Conrad was also profoundly affected by his witnessing of human depravity while on his boat expedition of European imperialism across Africa, much like Marlow. However, it is overtly reductive for any reader to boil down the novella to the commonalities existing between it and the author’s experiences. For this case, it would useful to study “Heart of Darkness” elements that are critical to the birth of modernism. For instance, the author’s utilization of multiple narrators, the narrative’s achronological unfolding, his infusion of one story within another narrative, and as it would be popularized over the 20th century, and the novelist’s most post-structuralist distrust in language stability. The narrative simultaneously pays reverence to Victorian rales on which Conrad grew up, evidenced by the common heroism so foundational to his tale’s narrative. In this sense, readers understand the novel as a straddle of the demarcation between a waxing modernist sensibility and a waning Victorian one.

The type of post-structuralist language treatment—his insisting that words cannot inherently express the real—is among Conrad’s most resoundingly modernist aspects existing in his work. Readers find that Marlow’s journey is filled with encounters with unspeakable things, with unprintable words, and with an eminently inscrutable world. This way, language repeatedly fails what it is supposed to achieve—to communicate. The phenomenon is best summarized in Marlow’s communication with his audience, when he says that it is not possible to depict the life-sensation of an epoch of a person’s existence—that which constitutes its meaning and truth—its penetrating and subtle essence, and that people live as they dream alone. Further, readers find that eloquent as he was, Kurtz failed to adequately speak of the horrifying darkness he had observed around him, resorted to twice say, “The horror! A few critics have argued that the novella’s appeal to the masses results from its ambiguity in language, the free rein the book allows the audience to interpret. Still, others insist that this aspect is the work’s greatest weakness, perceiving the novelist’s incapacity to name things as an unlikely value in a writer who they regard as one of the best in literature. Albeit, this aspect is itself an evidence to the breadth of how “Heart of Darkness” may be interpreted.

An examination of the text from a post-imperialist standpoint has paved the way for the emergence of more derisive critiques. For instance, some think that the novelist was a thoroughgoing racist out to maltreat and dehumanize Africans so that he could utilize them as a backdrop on which he could explore the interiority of the White man. This perspective is mostly right, considering that as much as Conrad rebuked the evils of imperialism, he did only so much to destroy the racism undergirding the system. Rather, he chose to posit the African natives as one element of the natural environment. Notably, Conrad’s work has been regarded as being among the West’s most insightful readings concerning European colonialism on the African continent but it does not assign any significance and particularity to the inhabitants and natives of the continent themselves. Altogether, readers can get glimpses of life in colonial Congo and Africa at large, concluding that the West was out to benefit from the resource-rich “empty space” of Africa at the expense of the natives.



Great Expectations Summary, Themes, and Characterization

Great Expectations Summary, Themes, and Characterization

“Great Expectations” is Charles Dickens’s novel, initially published in serials in All the Year Round between 1860 and 1861 before being assembled into a book in the latter year. The classic work was among Dickens’s most significant popular and critical successes. The novel tells the story of one Pip, an orphaned character, and how he comes of age in his encounters with the world around him. Additionally, the novelist address salient themes, including human worth and social class. This essay presents an analysis of Dickens’s work, focusing primarily on the plot development, thematic concerns, and characterization.

A Plot Summary of “Great Expectations”

Readers are introduced to Pip, a young, orphaned person who lives with his sister and brother-in-law in Kent. One evening, as Pip sits in a cemetery guessing at his parent’s graves, a ran-away convict emerges from behind one tombstone and grabs Pip. He orders that Pip brings a file to do his leg irons and some food. The younger character obeys and brings the items demanded of him but the convict is soon recaptured. He chooses to protect Pip by insisting that he had stolen the items on his own, and that Pip was never involved.

One day, Pumblechook, Pip’s uncle, takes him to Satis House to play. Satis House, readers discover, belongs to the affluent Miss Havisham, an extremely eccentric person. Havisham is seen wearing the same old wedding dress in all occasions she attends and everywhere she goes and stops all the clocks in house at the same time. Pip meets Estella, a beautiful young girl. Estella treats Pip contemptuously and coldly but he falls in love with her, hoping that he would grow rich one day and become worthy of her affection. Pip even hopes that Havisham would help him by making him a gentleman and convince Estella to marry him. However, Miss Havisham dashes Pip’s hopes when he decides to make him a common laborer in her family business after a period of regular visits to the Satis House. Miss Havisham guides Pip to apprenticeship under Joe, his brother-in-law and the village blacksmith. Pip unhappily works in the forge, striving to improve his education with the aid of the kind and plan Biddy, as he encounters Orlick, Joe’s malicious daytime laborer. Mrs. Joe, Pip’s sister, is viciously attacked one night following an altercation with Orlick, making her a mute invalid. Pip suspects from his sister’s sign language that Orlick had perpetrated the attacks.

One day, Jaggers, a practicing lawyer, appears bearing strange news suggesting that Pip must come with him to London to start his gentleman education because a secrete benefactor has awarded him an immense fortune. Naively, Pip agrees and presumes that his initial dream has become true—that Miss Havisham wants Estella to marry him, which is why she is the secrete benefactor. While in London, Pip becomes friends with Wemmick, Jaggers’s clerk, and Herbert Pocket, a young gentleman. Pip often expresses his dislike for his former loved ones and friends, particularly Joe, but he keeps pining after Estella. He manages to further his education under the tutorship of his friend’s father, Mathew Pocket. Herbert instrumentally aids Pip to learn how one behaves like a gentleman. Pip will help his friend, Herbert, to purchase his way into a business of his choice once he is twenty-one and illegible to begin receiving an income from the mysterious fortune. However, at the moment, the two lead an undisciplined lifestyle in London, where they run into debts, as they enjoy life.

At one time, Orlick reappears in Pip’s life, this time working as Miss Havisham’s porter. However, Jaggers promptly fires him when Pip tells about his unsavory history. Later on, Mrs. Joe dies, forcing Pip to go back home for the funeral, feeling tremendously aggrieved and remorseful. A few years pass by, until a familiar figure, Magwitch, the convict barges into Pip’s room one night. Magwitch stuns Pip when he reveals that it was him, not Miss Havisham, who was the source of the large fortune. Magwitch further informs Pip that he had been touched by Pip’s childhood kindness at the cemetery, opting to dedicate his life to transforming Pip into a gentleman by setting out to make the fortune in Australia. Much as Pip is appalled, he feels the moral obligation to assist Magwitch flee from London because he is running away from both the police and from his former accomplice, Compeyson. A complex mystery begins to unfold after Pip discovers that Compeyson had once abandoned Miss Havisham right at the altar and that Magwitch was Estella’s father. He also learns that Miss Havisham has taught her daughter to break men’s hearts as revenge for what she underwent one time. At this moment, readers learn that Miss Havisham was moved by her daughter’s ability to toy around with Pip’s affections because he was merely a boy, not the right subject to practice the revenge.

The passage of time allows Pip to begin seeing the good in Magwitch, prompting him to a deeper sense of concern and care. Estella marries Bentley Drummle, a lout from the upper class before Magwitch attempts to escape from London. Pip visits Satis House and Miss Havisham asks for his forgiveness for her past treatment of him, which he accepts. Later the same day, as she busies herself at the fireplace, Miss Havisham’s cloth catches fires, setting her aflame. Much as she survives, she becomes an invalid, spending the rest of her days repenting her misdoings towards Pip and relentlessly asking for forgiveness.

The moment comes when Pip has to sneak out of London Magwitch with the help of his friends. However, just before he does so, he is summoned to a shadowy meeting somewhere in the marshes. While there, Pip meets the evil, vengeful Orlick. Herbert arrives in the nick of time to save Pip from Orlick who was on the verge of killing him. Herbert and Pip rush back to orchestrate Magwitch’s escape, attempting to boat him downstream only to be discovered by the police who have useful tips from Compeyson. Compeyson fights Magwitch in the river, leading to the former’s death by drowning. The incident causes authorities to sentence Magwitch to death and Pip to lose the fortune. Readers feel Magwitch’s pleasure that the sentence was a relief from God because he dies peacefully.

Joe reconciles with Pip when he comes to London to nurse him (Pip) after he falls seek. While there, Joe tells Pip of many things that have been happening back home. He informs Pip that Orlick is now in prison after robbing Pumblechook, that Miss Havisham is now dead and has left much of her inheritance to the Pockets, and that Joe has learned to read and write from Biddy. Pip decides to hurry back home to marry Biddy after Joe leaves, arriving only to find her already married to Joe. Pip decides to accompany Herbert abroad to labor in the mercantile trade. He returns many years thereafter to find Estella living in the now ruined gardens of Satis House. He also learns that Drummle, Estella’s husband, had treated her badly before his death and that a sad kindness has now replaced her initial cruelty and coldness.

The Major Themes in “Great Expectations”

  • Social Class

Social class is a critical determinant of everyone’s position in Dickens’s “Great Expectations.” Readers find that both Pip and Estella are orphans but Estella was raised to humiliate others while she praises her status, particularly when she interacts with those belong to lower social classes. In some way, Estella is a victim of social class inequality, considering that she is trained to despise just about anything, from people to things, such as when she throws cards on the table after winning a game against Pip. Furthermore, Dickens depicts how individuals were doomed to lead life in the lower social class and even die as such because others do not give them the chance to climb the social class ladder, such as Joe, who despite his skillfulness as a blacksmith, could never change his status.

  • Ambition and Self-Improvement

The novel’s moral lesson is easy to understand” conscience, loyalty, and affection are more significant in one’s life than social progression, class, and wealth. The author sets the lesson and demonstrates how Pip learns it throughout the book. The character majorly does this through his exploration of ideas of self-improvement and ambition—the perspectives that rapidly become the thematic foundation of “Great Expectations” as well as the psychological mechanism which motivates much of his development. Pip is idealistic at heart, considering that quickly desires to improve himself every time he conceives of something that is better than what he has. For instance, Pip immediately desires to improve himself when he encounters Satis House when he longs to become a wealthy gentleman. Furthermore, the character longs to become good when he meditates on his moral shortcomings and longs to learn reading when he realizes that he cannot do so initially. The character’s longing for improvement is foundational to the novel’s title, considering that he believes that he could advance his life, the great expectations he holds about the future.

  • Crime, Guilt and Innocence

The novel explores crime, guilt, and innocence using the criminal lawyer, Jaggers, and the convicts. From the gallows of the London prison to the handcuffs that Joe repairs at the smithy, the imagery of criminal justice and crime pervades the novel, becoming a significant symbolism of Pip’s inner efforts to reconcile his moral consciousness with the justice system. The external criminal justice trapping, represented as courts, jails, and others, gradually become the superficial moral standard, which Pip must overcome to begin trusting his inner conscience in the same way he overcomes the temptation to continually seek better life. For instance, at first, Pip is afraid of Magwitch because he was a runaway convict, which drives a deep sense of guilt after he offers his help, considering that Pip was afraid of being arrested by the police. Nonetheless, Pip discovers Magwitch’s hidden nobility towards the end of the novel, allowing him (Pip) to avoid treating Magwitch as a criminal. Therefore, Pip replaces a superficial standard of value with the innermost feelings towards Magwitch.

Major Characters and Characterization in “Great Expectations”

  • Pip

Pip is the narrator and protagonist in “Great Expectations.” The character starts the novel’s storyline as a young and orphaned boy living with his sister and brother-in-law. Readers note that the character is passionate and somehow unrealistic at heart, considering that he appears to expect more towards himself than the reasonable. The narrator also has a powerful conscience, which drives him to eagerly want self-improvement, both socially and morally. Since he narrates the story several years after the novel’s events occur, Pip presents himself dually in “Great Expectations,” as the character and the narrator. The novelist is sure to distinguish his two Pips, where he imbues the narrator’s voice with maturity and perspective, as he imparts how the Pip the character feels concerning what he experiences as such happenings unfold.

  • Estella

            Estella, like Pip, is an orphan and somewhat a victim of parental manipulation, particularly from her surrogate mother, Miss Havisham. Estella is honest, not an evil character, which is what Miss Havisham has always trained and wanted her to be in life. Character cannot love either Miss Havisham or Pip, considering that she was never taught love, something she says honestly. In this sense, readers discover that Estella does not state so out of manipulation, and that she exhibits high-level frankness. Estella also depicts a sense of loyalty to Pip when she assures him that she was ready to toy with all men except him. She acknowledges Pip’s love for her although she cannot reciprocate the feeling, drawing her into concluding that she cannot be with a man who will soon discover that she had nothing to offer in return.

  • Miss Havisham

            Miss Havisham is among the strangest and grotesque characters in “Great Expectations,” one that readers can identify as the “wicked witch” common in fairy tales. When she adopts Estella, she is hopeful that she will protect her from the pain she suffered herself. Nonetheless, the intention culminates in her training of Estella not to love anyone and revenge against any man with whom she makes contact. The character is proud, headstrong, passionate and beautiful, the attributes that Compeyson used against her. She chooses to forge her lifestyle after she feels deeply hurt by Compeyson. She decides to use her money as a power weapon and trains her foster daughter to be successful where she had previously failed. However, the plan backfires because Estella ends up not loving Miss Havisham in the same way she does to men. She ends up living miserably, depicted by the numerous occasions she asks for Pip’s forgiveness for all the she had caused him.

  • Magwitch

As a young person, Magwitch is what Joe would have become if Joe has been controlled by his passions and failed to take responsibility for his decisions. Readers find that Magwitch is another father figure to Pip, helping to demonstrate what can happen when one makes bad choices and how they can overcome them. Magwitch kept reacting to life during his childhood, plunging into ever criminal activity. However, he rises to the occasion when he moves from England, becoming what he was capable of doing the best. He becomes remorseful and generous, remembering the good he received from a small boy, Pip. Magwitch recommits himself to conscious choices, doing well, and being generous. He works as hard as he can to ensure that Pip lives easy. However, his main misdoing in the process is when he comes back to showcase what he had done to Pip, a decision that leads him back to prison when he is rearrested as he attempts to flee from London.

  • Mrs. Joe

Mrs. Joe is abusive besides feeling self-important, attributes that drive readers to think of her as a total evil. Nonetheless, some of her conduct is excusable. For instance, when she was only twenty, before the start of the story, she was abandoned with an infant brother who had not even been weaned. By the time of her introduction to the reader, Mrs. Joe has already buried five brothers, two parents, and did not have a husband for support and care. Joe intervenes into the situation and marries her. However, she chooses survival because she fears abandonment after all that she has been through previously. He approach is to find wealth and power, a greedy aspect, which she lets Pip know. She suggests that she does not want Joe to improve himself because that would take the power of handling the most important matters in their relationship, allowing Joe to leave her. Therefore, she is a reflection of the pain that most characters in the novel are forced to undergo by others and the future lives they lead trying to prevent further harm.

Beowulf Character Analysis & Description

Beowulf Character Analysis

“Beowulf” is regarded as one of the oldest surviving vernacular literature in Europe written in English. There is no consensus to the exact time when or the person who wrote the epic poem but most analysts argue that it was anonymously composed between A.D. 975 and A.D. 1025. Beowulf, the lead character in the epic song, is a commander and a warrior tasked with facing deadly and mystical creatures. The character is always ready to fight and protect the ones in need of help and those vulnerable to attacks by enemies. The poem’s plot, structure, literary devices, and meaning have made it a critical significant Old English work. Precisely, the composition depicts routine sixth-century Anglo-Saxon life, offers critical historical evidence of particular happenings, and connects numerous Scandinavian myths, legends, and historical events. The anonymous poet uses several characters to build the poem’s major themes. Notably, the characters in “Beowulf” possess life-affirming attributes that the audience can learn and adopt as they read the epic tale. This essay presents an in-depth analysis of the song’s characters, major and minor alike.

The Character Analysis of Beowulf

  • Beowulf Is a Brave Warrior

Beowulf is the poem’s protagonist and main character. The poet uses the character of Beowulf as an exemplar of a perfect hero’s traits. The song is an exploration of his heroic acts in two approaches—youthfulness and grownup—and in three different and particularly challenging conflicts involving monsters, first with Grendel, then with Grendel’s mother, and lastly with the dragon. Much as readers can perceive the three battles as expressing the heroic code, there perhaps exists a more apparent distinction between the character’s heroism as a youth when he was regarded as an unfettered warrior and his heroics as a grownup, when he becomes a reliable king. The two phases of Beowulf’s life, disconnected by a period of fifty years, are in line with two dissimilar virtue models, and more of the story’s moral reflection are founded on distinguishing the two models, as well as demonstrating how the character transits from one to the next.

Beowulf is a remarkable warrior in his youth, predominately characterized by his courage and feats of strength, including the fabled swimming competition he has with Breca. The character is also a perfect embodiment of the values and manners ascribed by Germanic heroic code, such as pride, courtesy, and loyalty. Beowulf’s defeat of Grendel and his mother helps to validate his reputation as a brave person, establishing him to heroic standards. In the poem’s first part, Beowulf shows a little maturity, considering that he depicts heroic attributes abundantly from the beginning. However, after the character purges the Danish kingdom of its plagues and establishing himself to heroic standards, Beowulf is prepared to transit into another stage of life. Hrothgar, the king of Denmark, becomes his father figure and mentor to young Beowulf, delivering advice on how he must act as a wise leader. Much as he does not become the king until many years pass, Beowulf’s exemplary warring career serves a great effect on preparing him for his assumption to leadership.

  • Beowulf is a Loyal and Respectful Warrior

The second section of the tale, staged in Geatland, takes readers to the middle of the character’s warring career, focusing on the end of his life. Nonetheless, using a series of retrospectives, readers can recover most of what happened in the gap and manage to perceive how Beowulf comforted himself both as a king and a warrior. The period following the death of Hygelac’s son forms a critical transition moment in the character’s life. Precisely, Beowulf chooses to help Hygelac’s son rise to the throne, considering that he was the rightful heir rather than rushing to take the seat himself, as Hrothful did in Denmark. Beowulf proves himself as a worthy king through his acts of respect and loyalty towards the throne.

  • Beowulf is a Careless Warrior

The last episode, Beowulf’s fight with the deadly dragon, provides the poet’s further reflection on how a king’s responsibilities, who is always expected to act in the best interests of his subjects not just glory, are different from those of a heroic warrior. The character’s moral status transform to be somewhat ambiguous as the poem ends in light of these mediations. As much as Beowulf is deservedly celebrated for his heroism and great leadership, his final courageous battle is a little rash. The song indicates that by his sacrifice, Beowulf suddenly leaves his followers without a leader, something he does unnecessarily and, which exposes them to the threat of attack from other tribes. However, to comprehend the character’s death strictly as an individual failure implies critical ignorance to the poet’s overwhelming emphasis to the fate in the song’s ending section. The fight with the dragon comes with an aura of inevitability. Instead of being a conscious choice, the conflict may still be perceived as an issue in which the protagonist has little free will to engage. Furthermore, it is not easy to blame Beowulf for acting in line with the premises of his warrior culture.

  • Character Analysis of Grendel

Grendel is a Murderous Monster

Perhaps the poem’s most unforgettable creature, Grendel is among the three monsters with which Beowulf battles. The character has an ambiguous nature. As much as he has several animal characteristics accompanied by grotesque and monstrous appearances, Grendel appears to be directed by vaguely human impulses and emotions. Furthermore, the creature depicts more of its interior life than everyone might anticipate. The poem indicates that Grendel longs to be reabsorbed after being exiled to the swamplands, where he now lives. The song further hints that jealousy and loneliness are the underlying factors for his aggression against Denmark. One notes reading the poem that Grendel is Cain’s descendant by lineage, a person the creator had condemned as an outcast and further outlawed. For this case, Grendel is a descendant of a figure epitomizing malice and resentment. Much as the song somewhat suggests sympathetically that Grendel’s bitterness concerns his exclusion from the revelry of the mead-hall owes, it also suggests, in part, to the character’s accursed status, has never shown remorse.

  • Character Analysis of Hrothgar

Hrothgar is a Wise King

Readers learn that Hrothgar is an old king of Denmark who allows Beowulf to help him fight Grendel in the story’s first part and guides him to maturity as the poem progresses. The king is relatively a static character, representing a stable force at the realm of the social structure level. As much as Hrothgar is firmly founded on the heroic codes in the same way as Beowulf, his experience with ill fortune and good alike and old age have led him into developing a deeper reflective perspective towards heroism than Beowulf. Precisely, the king is aware of both the dangers and privileges of power, and he warns his younger protégé against giving in to pride, always remembering that a day’s blessing could easily turn to grief the next day. His contemplations on leadership and heroism, which consider a hero’s whole life instead of only his valiant youthfulness, reveal the difference between old age and youthfulness, forming the turning point in how Beowulf develops.  

  • Character Analysis of Grendel’s Mother

Grendel’s Mother is a Revengeful Monster

Like her son, Grendel’s mother is a mysterious creature. The poet introduces her into the song as an avenger, doing son at line 1258. Grendel’s mother seeks redress for her son’s death at Beowulf’s hands. Therefore, some readers consider this character as an embodiment of the tendency of ancient Northern Europe to engage in unending blood conflicts. Still, others suggest that Grendel’s mother is a representation of the suffering women undergo under these conflicts. Prior to her attack, readers learn about the tale of Hildeburh, a princesses the poem suggests lost all her male relations because her brother engaged in constant wrangling with her husbands.

Nonetheless, Grendel’s mother does not by any means only embody the blood conflicts and their failures. Readers understand, reading through line 1362, that she lived in a lair that has an abyss that has never been visited by any human. Some readers may interpret the mere as a significant symbolism of the human subconscious, the mysterious things existing beyond human understanding. This group of readers find Grendel’s mother as a representation of awaiting anyone who seeks confrontation with the unknown, either within themselves or the world.

  • Character Analysis of the Dragon

The Dragon is a Fierce Murderous Killer

The poet paints an image of the dragon as a glamorous and mighty opponent, one who matches Beowulf’s capabilities. Readers understand reading the epic song that the dragon is properly suited to cause Beowulf’s downfall. A number of readers may have perceived the beast as a symbolism of death in itself, the peculiar individual end, which waits for everyone. King Hrothgar prepares readers to have this perception of the dragon, particularly in how he warns the courageous and somewhat careless Beowulf that every warrior should understand that an unbeatable enemy lies in wait, indicating that not even old age should be ignored. Nonetheless, the dragon is also a symbolic representation of the particular fate awaiting the Geats and the pagan community at large.

Readers discover, reading lines 2275-227, that the dragon was tasked with guarding heathen gold through general-long vigilance, although to little avail. Similar to Beowulf, the Dragon’s major advantage is its strength—it uses this energy to amass a large volume of treasure. However, all the wealth does is to cause the beast’s death. The dragon’s treasure also causes Beowulf’s destruction. Perhaps, the song’s Christian persona perceives the hunger for treasure as a type of spiritual demise that pagans who have less love for heaven than wealth suffer. Interestingly, the dragon hoards all its wealth in a lair, a barrow that can only be identified as its grave.

  • Character Analysis of Unferth

Unferth is a Jealous Antagonist

The poet uses the characterization of Unferth to challenge Beowulf’s honor, distinguishing the former from the latter and helping to unearth a number of the heroic code subtleties to which warriors must ascribe. Unferth is the poem’s lesser character, a foil for Beowulf, who is considered as near-perfect. (In literature, foils are characters who have traits contrasting with and accentuating those of other characters.)  Unferth’s bitterness when he chides Beowulf on the swimming match he held against Breca is an apparent reflection of the jealousy he has towards Beowulf for the attention he keeps receiving. The jealousy could also be coming from the shame he feels that he could protect Heorot on his own when Grendel attacked—he was not the type of warrior worth remembrance in legend.

Unferth is a Boastful Protagonist

Boasting is not a new thing in the poem—warriors are found of the character train throughout the heroic code to which most of them ascribe. However, much as to boast is an acceptable and proper way of asserting the self, Unferth uses harsh words, an indication that it should be such that it does not disparage or become bitter to others. Instead of heroism, the kind of blustering the character uses is a critical revelation of resentment and pride. The sword he gifts Beowulf to battle Grendel’s mother may have healed Unferth of his breach of hospitality but it does only so much to better his heroic reputation. Readers discover that unlike Beowulf, Unferth is both unwilling and afraid to face Grendel’s mother on his own.

  • Character Analysis of Wiglaf

Wiglaf is a Fearless Warrior

One of Beowulf’s thanes and kinsmen, the poem presents Wiglaf as the only one sufficiently brave to aid the hero, Beowulf, to deal with the dragon when it strikes and escapes to its lair. Wiglaf shows perfect conformity to the heroic code in the sense that shows the willingness to die, as he attempts to beat the opponent, and most significantly, to rescue his master, Beowulf. In this sense, Wiglaf seems to be a mirror of the youthful Beowulf the readers encounter in the opening part of the poem. He is a loyal, Valiant, fearless, and strong warrior. Readers may also conclude that Wiglaf embodies Beowulf’s statement in the early stages of the song that it was always better for one to act than to mourn. Therefore, the character is a representation of the heroism that would thrive over the next generation and the next generation’s hope that they will be protected against any adversities. Wiglaf’s solid bearing and bravery cause the only glint of optimism that readers can find in the closing stages of the song, which is rife with a tone of despair about the future for a significant section.

  • Character Analysis of Aeschere

Aeschere is a Loyal, Friendly Ex-Warrior

There is little to describe Aeschere’s character traits in the poem. However, readers may appreciate his friendliness, particularly with King Hrothgar. The character is an old Danish fighter who shows much compassion for the king that he chooses to stay in his company for most of his time. He chooses to defend the king’s premises from attacks by Grendel’s mother to a tragic end, leaving the king deeply aggrieved by the event. Therefore, it can be plausibly argued that Aeschere was a loyal and friendly ex-warrior.

  • Character Analysis of Breca

Breca is a Humble Character

The poem presents Breca as Beowulf’s childhood friend. The two enter into a mystic swimming contest in which they take to the open sea, as they wear full armor and bear swords, supposedly to guard themselves against water monsters. According to the poet, it is not apparent who emerged the winner of the contest. However, Unferth indicates in the song that Breca won against Beowulf. Contrarily, Beowulf, in his heated argument with Unferth, claims that the two came shoulder-to-shoulder, matching their strengths when it comes to the swimming aspect but he claims to have killed nine monsters in the expedition. There is no mention of Breca’s reaction to the incident, suggesting how humble he was throughout the poem. The humility is distinctive of the character traits Breca possessed from those they find of Unferth, who despite not having participated in the contest, has the guts to dispute Beowulf’s heroics, mostly because of jealousy.

  • Character Analysis Ecgtheow

 Ecgtheow is a Loyal Warrior

Readers discover that Ecgtheow is Beowulf’s father who gets himself in a fierce conflict with the Wulfings, a warring tribe, because he killed Heatholaf, one of their men. Ecgtheow seeks refuge at the court of King Hrothgar of Denmark who gradually settled the issue by paying—he organized mediations on Ecgtheow’s behalf who pledged allegiance to the king in return. Consequently, the act made Beowulf feel that he was indebted from Hrothgar. Much as there is little to elaborate on his character, readers learn from poem that he loyal, at least to the king even though he was a warrior himself at one time. Loyalty is regarded the most important aspect for most warrior’s success throughout the poem.

Daisy Buchanan Character Analysis In “The Great Gatsby” Book

“The Great Gatsby” Book Through Daisy Buchanan Character Analysis

Frances Scott Fitzgerald uses many round and dynamic characters in one of the greatest literary works of the 20th century, “The Great Gatsby,” to add to the primary thematic focus. Daisy Fay Buchanan, one of the major characters in the novel, is presented as an essential personality in relation to the American Dream theme. An integral component of the novel’s plot, Daisy portrays the book’s meaning using her multidimensional personality and the way he relates to the conflicts Fitzgerald presents. This essay presents an analysis of the work in Buchanan’s perspective, arguing particularly that the novelist characterizes her both as the American Dream and the challenges everyone faces in realizing it, where most fail.

A Brief Synopsis of “The Great Gatsby”

Jay Gatsby, a poor, youthful, but attractive man is on course to discover the wealthy families’ life where he does not belong at the beginning of the novel. He leaves for the army after falling in love with Daisy Buchanan, a Southern belle. Gatsby returns after several years, incredibly rich and prepared to win Daisy back. Unlucky for him, Gatsby discovers that his lover was already married to Tom. However, his affection for Daisy are overwhelming, drawing him into living a life that he hoped she would notice someday. Therefore, Gatsby purchases a house in Daisy’s neighborhood and lives extraordinarily hoping that Daisy would visit one day. Finally, Daisy attends one of the many lavish parties he keeps throwing and the two rekindle their love. Everyone reading the novel may grow anxious to learn what transpires next only to discover that the move brought more disappointments than enjoyment to Gatsby. He loses his personality in pursuit of the careless Daisy. The two bring themselves down, leading to a sad and somewhat predictable conclusion.

Daisy Buchanan Is Fitzgerald’s Personification of the American Dream

Jay Gatsby’s life is the novelist’s interpretation of the American Dream, where Daisy is the ultimate goal. Gatsby begins from scratch, ascends to the top quickly, acquires everything he ever dreamt of having, lives an incredibly luxurious life, and will not stop at anything to get the woman of his dreams. Sadly, on the flip side of his life, Gatsby is a miserable person, considering that woman he gets is not is ideal. In everyone’s perspective, particularly readers, Daisy Buchanan is not as flattering because they easily find her self-centered, indecisive, and shallow.

The beginning point of labelling Daisy as the American Dream is her significance to Gatsby throughout the novel. Gatsby, ambitious and attractive as readers find him at the beginning of the book, is thirsty for love. The affection he yearns for is personified in Fitzgerald’s Daisy Buchanan. Gatsby was always in search of a fruitful relationship with a wealth woman as a youth. The novelist takes a great deal of time to elaborate the characteristics of the American Dream. Gatsby’s relationship with Daisy highlights the idea that the Dream is primarily materially perceived. Particularly, he learns one big idea about loving or being loved, the fact that the phenomenon is measurable. It implies that one has to be of wealth and means for them to develop meaningful relationships in life, the very aspects underscoring the realization of the American Dream. In this case, Daisy Buchanan’s characterization implies that everyone living the American Dream must strive to acquire as much wealth as they can manage.

If Daisy is the Dream, then Fitzgerald suggests that she is the idealistic form of living, the America everyone envisions as the land of the free and limitless opportunities. The novel describes Daisy as young, beautiful, and something desired and sought after by men, making her an ideal representation of love. Consequently, men act carelessly to win Daisy’s love, the same way they would to live the Dream. This argument is Jay Gatsby’s case, who willfully becomes excessively extravagant to get Buchanan’s attention when he retires from the army.

In some way, readers can argue that Fitzgerald criticizes the means most people use to live the American Dream. For instance, one may term Gatsby’s approach as foolish, considering that he willfully embellishes his reputation for love, such as when he kills a man, as described by observers in one of his numerous parties. Much as Gatsby’s tale is amplified by other people’s fantasies, myths, and stories, one realizes that it is irrational and unwise to throw lavish parties, grow extremely rich and fabricate lies to realize a goal. Daisy’s characterization suggests that everyone must do everything within and outside their means to chase their dreams, implying that Fitzgerald puts a price tag on the American Dream by making Daisy the novel’s all-important character. Therefore, the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock represents her love and how Gatsby keeps seeking her—the materialistic aspect of the American Dream. In this case, one must consider that Daisy Buchanan is a rich woman and that anyone who qualifies to be her lover must be her equal.

The novel paints a common stereotype in the achievement of the American Dream, where no one does anything to benefit another without any substantial gains. The commonest aspect of this stereotype in Fitzgerald’s work is “men want beauty, women want money.” The novelist makes this idea the thesis of his characterization of Daisy Buchanan. The two major male characters in the novel, Jay Gatsby and Tom Buchanan, are stereotypical because they are both drawn to Daisy’s beauty because they are somewhat rich—her love is idealistic.

The American Dream is the all-important concern for Americans, the reason every man in the novel treat Daisy as a trophy, a prize for which they must compete to have. It furthers the argument that men seek beauty as women look for wealth, an idea Gatsby depicts in the book. For instance, the instance in which Daisy and Jay are left alone to wonder around the latter’s house highlights this aspect, the idea that the Dream is the most significant theme of the novel. Particularly, the two arrive at Jay’s closet, where he throws expensive shirts at Daisy who breaks down crying because she had never seen such beautiful shirts in her life. The incident is critical for this analysis since it highlights the materialistic aspect of the American Dream personified in Daisy Buchanan’s characterization.

Daisy Buchanan Is Fitzgerald’s Personification of the Means of Attaining the American Dream

In the lens of Daisy’s characterization, Fitzgerald suggests that those chasing the American Dream are not interested in forming genuine relationships with others. In this case, everyone is busy seeking to be connected to someone to bridge the gap between their present and dream lives. The Daisy-Gatsby case is a little exceptional for this case, considering the circumstances of their later reunion. Precisely, at the beginning of the novel, Gatsby wanted to have a rich woman, a representation of the materialistic aspect of the Dream. However, he realized that he would never match Daisy’s standard of life, prompting her to work harder by joining the army. Readers acknowledge the idea that everyone must be of means and worth to live the American Dream, which Gatsby demonstrates as he throws his lavish shirts at Daisy hoping to win her affection for good. Therefore, in some way, Fitzgerald urges everyone to work hard to lead the life of their dreams.

Daisy Buchanan’s characterization highlights the shortcuts most people use to realize the American Dream, something Fitzgerald concentrates on for a good deal of time in “The Great Gatsby.” The character represents those who enter into unthoughtful relationships, an idea that is not new in real life. The book draws the reader to consider examples of couples who do not quite suit each other, married for material benefits, such as older men marrying younger women and conversely. For instance, Anna Nicole Smith, a popular model and actress in the 90s, married an eight-nine-year billionaire at twenty-six. The example is a real-life situation of an older man who sought a beautiful woman and used his wealth to lure her. Understandably, most women do not go after older men unless they think that they are likely to benefit in some way, an idea that they may have a shortcut to something more valuable than the love relationship they pretend to have. In Anna Nicole’s case, it is apparent that the relationship was of convenience, something “The Great Gatsby” depicts through the characterization of Daisy Buchanan.

Daisy Buchanan is Fitzgerald’s Representation of the Sacrifices People Make in Reaching the American Dream

The primary idea of Gatsby and Buchanan’s relationship concerns the foolishness of love, the mistakes and sacrifices people make to realize their goals. Readers find that Gatsby is so much in love with Daisy that he is ready to take blames for her mistakes. For instance, while driving back from a hotel, a drunk Daisy, riding with Gatsby and Tom in Gatsby’s car, hits a woman. It is only logical to concede that Fitzgerald’s Gatsby risked many things for his dream love. Apart from the lavish parties he threw hoping to get back an ex-girlfriend married with children, he takes the blame for the accident. Furthermore, he does not seem to be interested in other women, focused only on Daisy and risking his reputation for being in an illicit affair. Readers may note Jay’s commitment, perhaps admire it for the positive reason that everyone must work as hard as they can to realize their goals lest they fail. In this case, they may conclude that it is better to die trying than to lie idle about something of presumed value.

Daisy Buchanan is also Fitzgerald’s personification of carelessness as a sacrifice people have to make to realize what they want in life. The whole idea is that love is measurable in material terms, particularly money—Daisy drives Jay to work for her love. Gatsby’s riches are the apex of the American Dream, considering that they help him to finally get closer to his dream love. However, he makes a foolish sacrifice to squander the wealth by flashing his lifestyle and throwing expensive parties at the expense of careful planning. Nonetheless, the novelist demonstrates the lengths to which some people go to realize their ambitions, to win Daisy Buchanan’s affection and live the American Dream.


“The Great Gatsby” is a tale of love and choices, a highlight of what it takes to live the American Dream. While the novel uses many dynamic and round characters, Daisy Buchanan is the stand-out personification of the Dream. Her beauty is the reason Gatsby must work hard at the army to amass as much wealth as he can to win her love. Fitzgerald uses the character to highlight the American Dream’s significance, including the means most people would rather use to realize their ambition of good life. As argued, the milestone is hard to attain, necessitating several sacrifices, some involving careless decisions since the Dream is primarily materialistic.

Symbolism in Literature Definition and Examples

 Symbolism in Literature and Examples in Literature

A word, concept, or object cannot always be limited to one meaning. For instance, when one sees red roses thriving in a garden, they can have different ideas about the flowers in the mind. Perhaps, they could think of the roses literally, including their stems, thorns, petals, or other aspects, in the same way a botanist would do. However, albeit, they may be drawn into thinking about the roses in terms of romance or any other event in which the flowers were present. A question arises then about why someone may have different interpretations of the same thing. A perfect response lies in understanding symbolism, which this essay highlights in deeper detail.

The Meaning of Symbolism

When taken philosophically, the topic of symbolism becomes rather too vague or too broad of a concept. While people always associate the concept with simple graphical representations of messages or value whenever they hear it, symbolism actually has a wider scope. Even the conceptualized simple graphical representations, including drawings and writings, depending on the culture, medium, or common knowledge of the particular regions, every symbol itself may have different interpretations and meanings.

Definitively, the Oxford Dictionary indicates two meanings of symbolism. The first one is obvious, where it is defined as the “use of symbols to represent ideas or qualities.” The same definition can better still be understood as a representation having “symbolic meanings attributed natural objects or facts.” The second definition gives a more general meaning to symbolism, explaining it as “a poetic and artistic style or movement using symbolic images and indirect suggestions to express mystical states of mind, emotions, and ideas.” Therefore, if when considers the concept in its extended and derivation from, the term “symbolic” may be described appropriately as something representing value, a message, an idea, or even common sense.

Symbolism plays a critical role across cultures and societies worldwide. Going by the definitive framework described, symbolism can cover wider areas, such as drawings and letters; parts of communities’ lifestyles; as actions conveying messages; as political gestures; as the means conveying emotions and feelings; as ways of respecting ideologies; as mathematical and algebraic representations; or as educational instruments. Considering that symbolism is in an extensive use by every global community, symbolism is perceived to be among the most effective ways of conveying expressions or messages.

It is important to consider real-life applications of symbols to strengthen the understanding of the concept. In its most simple and apparent form, symbols may be perceived as graphic depictions, writings, and drawings. In the contemporary world, symbolism can easily be understood through pictures and words drawn or written on books, papers, or computer screens. In antiquity, people drew and wrote on papyrus, cave walls, and any other medium. Even algebraic and mathematical expressions are just an additional form of the written symbols representing particular values. Judging by the elaboration given, one understands that symbolism has a wide scope, avoiding simplistic and narrowed definitions.

In democratic nations, political gestures, such as the simple acts of public voting themselves can be perceived to have symbolic meanings. In this case, voting is not only symbolic of the electorate’s opinion about and determination to involve in public policies but it is also an expression of the public’s discontent or approval of the masses towards government. This symbolism may also be visually perceived in buildings, such as the Buckingham Palace, the White House, the US Capitol, and other landmarks signifying government and political power. Similarly, some societies, such as the Boe or Bororo natives of central Brazil have different perspectives of symbolism. The community has held on to its traditions, including ceremonial regalia made using feathers. The tradition is a strong reflection of the community’s identity and its determination to preserve their beliefs and traditions despite undergoing slow cultural adjustment.

Some Examples of the Use of Symbolism in History

As it has been discussed that symbolism is not limited to the works of literature. However, in literature, authors have favored the use of symbolism for a long time alongside a broad spectrum of literary devices. Precisely, the most ancient types of storytelling—hieroglyphics and cave paintings—are among the literary symbols used to represent more complex beliefs and narratives. Additionally, in Ancient Greece, the foundation of most of the present-day narratives of art forms, props, such as phallic objects representing the god of fertility, Dionysus, were commonly used to indicate their symbolic meanings. It is also understood that symbolism continued to be used during the Middle Ages, mostly having religious connotations. However, since the Renaissance, symbolism has been widely utilized to represent human desire in different aspects. William Shakespeare also utilized symbols in his representation of human’s inner conscience, such as the use of blood in his “Macbeth.” In addition, Edgar Allen Poe, in his “The Raven” used the eponymous bird to represent mortality and dread while William Blake utilized religious symbolism (he even used Jesus) as a representation of human desire and emotion, particularly in his “The Everlasting Gospel.”

Types of Symbolism

Much as the subject matter keeps varying with generations, symbolism has had a constant definition. All symbolism has a unifying factor of an object or a word representing another beyond what is implied literary. Lyricists, playwrights, poets, and authors have favored some types of symbolism over others throughout history, taking the forms described subsequently.

  • Religious Symbolism

Religious symbolism has been albeit the most steadily “acceptable” type of symbolism used in literary history. The reason stems from the fact that religious authorities have sanctioned this type of symbolism, considering that they have held sway over societies for a greater length of human history. Notably, religious symbolism dates back to early human civilizations, but some of its highlights include John Milton’s “Paradise Lost” (a retelling of the creation story in Genesis) and Fyodor Dostoevsky’s “The Brothers Karamazov” (the physical manifestation of the Holy Spirit is one of its subtle symbolism).

  • Romantic Symbolism

Second in popularity globally only second to religious symbolism, it must be noted that romantic symbolism is abundantly used in wide swaths of world literature. For example, poetry, such as the modernist stanzas composed by Edna St. Vincent Millay and the sonnets of William Shakespeare, has been among the most significant media for the use of romantic symbolism. This type of symbolism has also been widely used by other contemporary authors, playwrights, and artists in the works, suggesting its pervasiveness, just like religious symbolism.

  • Emotional Symbolism

This type of symbolism is one in which physical objects are used in literary works to represent the emotional perspectives of characters in their different settings. Most poets, authors, and other composers of literary works utilize symbolism in describing metaphysical emotions. For instance, symbolists in the French language, such as Paul Verlaine and Stephane Mallarme are rooted for emotional symbolism, as their English counterparts, such as Seamus Heaney and William Butler.

Examples of Symbolism, as Used in Literature

  • “A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner

William Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily” is a short story that is rife with symbolism, a stylistic device the author uses to the best effect to narrate the story of one Miss Emily who leads a lonely life till her death.

  • The Symbolism of Emily’s House

Like herself, Emily’s house monumental, a residual emblem of a waning world of the South’s aristocracy. The exterior of the enormous square-framed house is lavishly designed. The scrolled balconies, spires, and cupolas are the hallmarks of the architecture of the 1870s. Readers find that much has changed at the story’s time. The neighborhood and the street, at one time privileged, pristine, and affluent, have lost the significance as an identity of the elite. In many ways, the house is an extension of the main character, Emily Grierson. Precisely, the house bares its “coquettish and stubborn decay” to the townspeople. Furthermore, the Grierson mansion is a testament to the preservation and endurance to Southern conventions but it now appears out of place among the gasoline pumps, cotton wagons, and other industrial developments surrounding it—in the same way the old values of the South are no longer suitable in the changing society.

Additionally, Emily Grierson’s house symbolizes death, mental illness and alienation. The house enshrines the living past, where a sealed room upstairs acts as Emily’s macabre trophy room in which she keeps Barron, a man she never wanted to lose in her life. The town dwellers and Emily’s neighbors skulk at the periphery of her property and life when they sprinkle life along the foundations of Emily’s house to, as they attempt to counteract the odor of rotting flesh. The townspeople find the house, as Emily Grierson, a fascination. For this reason, Emily’s neighbors formulate their own lurid interpretations and fantasies of the crumbling edifice in addition to its mysterious occupant. Miss. Emily’s death presents the best opportunity to the townspeople to confirm their speculations concerning the events that have been happening behind the secure walls and tightly closed doors.

  • The Symbolism of Emily’s Strand of Hair

Readers learn that the townspeople, at least through the narrator’s voice, discover a strand of grey hair on a pillow beside Homer Barron’s body once they break open the upstairs bedroom in Emily’s house that had been kept shut for forty years. The strand of hair symbolizes the lost love and the mostly perverse activities in which people engage as they pursue happiness. Furthermore, the hair is symbolic of Emily’s inner life, where, despite all the eccentricities, was devoted to leading her life according to her terms and refusing to submit her conduct, no matter how shocking it turns out to be, to others’ approval. Miss Emily Grierson ascribes to her own code of morals and occupies the world that she invents for herself, the bounds of which even murder is allowed to some degree—think of Homer Barron. Readers learn that Faulkner’s in the narrator’s voice, foreshadows the finding of the strand of hair, as he describes the changes his main character, Emily, undergoes with the passage of time. For this case, the find out that her hair becomes grizzled to the extent that it is “vigorous iron-grey” by the time she dies aged seventy-four years.”

  • The Epic Poem, “Beowulf,” written anonymously

Written anonymously, “Beowulf” is an epic poem in Old English. The story is a tale of one Beowulf and his encounter’s with three beasts; first Grendel; then his mother; and later; the Dragon. Beowulf, the story’s protagonist, succeeds in all but the last battle, showcasing his heroic character to save his people from constant attacks by the monsters. Like Faulkner’s short story, “Beowulf” uses symbolism to an effective effect.

  • The Symbolism of the Golden Torque

The necklace or collar that Beowulf receives from Wealhtheow is symbolic of the existing loyalty between Beowulf and Wealhtheow’s people, and by significant extension, the community of the Geats. The symbolic importance of the torque is revived when readers discover that Hygelac dies in war while wearing it, extending their notions of kinship and continuity. Furthermore, the golden torque is symbolic of loyalty so much to the effect that it helps readers understand the special relationship between King Hrothgar and Beowulf. Readers understand that loyalty drives the protagonist to fight for the Danes—he does so to honor his father’s friendship with the king much as he does for his loyalty to the throne.

  • The Symbolism of the Banquet

            Grendel, the first monster that Beowulf confronts, destroys a great part of the mead-hall at Heorot. Readers find that the banquet at Heorot following the beastly attack by Grendel is a representation of the restoration of harmony and order to the people of Denmark. The people prepare by reconstructing the destroyed mead-hall that, alongside the banquet, is symbolic of the community’s rebirth, a sign of hope that the people would overcome their challenges anyway. Readers also note that the speeches and gifts given at this event and venue are additional critical components of the interactions in the society represented in the poem, contributing to the sense of renewed wholeness.

  • “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee

Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” is a tale of life in America’s south during the Depression Era. Jeremy Flinch and his sister, Jean Louise Flinch live with their father in Maycomb, a fictional town in Alabama. The children discover the hatred and discrimination of their community, much to their disillusionment, particularly when their father, Atticus Finch, chooses to represent Tom Robinson, a Black man, in a rape case. However, they become of age, understanding gradually the institutional racism and prejudice enshrined in their community values. Lee’s use of symbols is expertly articulated, as described subsequently.

  • The Symbolism of the Mockingbirds

The novel’s title, “To Kill a Mockingbird,” is not with much literal connection to its plot. Yet, the title has significant symbolic weight to the novel. Readers discover that in Lee’s tale of innocents destroyed by the evil existing in their society, the mockingbird is symbolic of innocence. Many characters, including Mr. Raymond, Boo Radley, Dill, Tom Robinson, and Jem, can be referred to as mockingbirds because they are innocent people who have been hurt in some way by their interactions with society’s evils. The author explicitly connects the novel’s title with its major theme several times. For example, Mr. Underwood compares Tom Robinson’s murder to the slaughter of songbirds. Furthermore, Scout understands that to hurt Boo Radley would compare to shooting a mockingbird in the closing stages of the novel. Most importantly, readers find the connection in the scene when Miss Maudie tells Scout that it is sinful to kill a mockingbird because the animals do nothing but sing their hearts out to people. That Finch (another species of small birds) is Jem and Scout’s last name, suggests their particular vulnerability in Maycomb’s racist world, an environment that often harshly treats childhood innocence.

  • The Symbolism of Boo Radley

The children’s transforming perspective of Boo Radley, as the novel progresses is symbolic of their development from naivety towards a more mature worldview. Boo is a source of naïve childhood superstition at the beginning of the novel. However, the character starts to become real and increasingly intriguing to the children as he leaves them small gifts and mends Jem’s pants. Boo becomes fully human in Scout’s perspective at the end of the novel, suggesting her development into an understanding and sympathetic person. Radley, once an intelligent child but ruined by his father’s cruelty, is among the most significant mockingbirds in Lee’s work, symbolic of the good that lies in everyone. Much has Boo is subjected to much pain, both as a child and an adult—the children do not initially want to associate with him—he is pure at hear, an aspects that guides his interactions with the children. The character is a proof of the ultimate symbol of goodness when he intervenes to save Scout and Jem when Bob Ewell attacks them at one time.


The Mysteries of William Faulkner In “A Rose for Emily”

The Mysteries of William Faulkner In “A Rose for Emily”

William Faulkner is among the most widely acknowledged English literature writers. One of his works, “A Rose for Emily,” is considered the greatest he has ever published by critics and supporters alike. First published in 1930 in Forum, “A Rose for Emily” is a tale of an unmarried American woman living in the South. Emily, the story’s main character, attracts suspicion and concern of her townspeople when he father dies and she develops a love relationship with a Black Northern man. The short story invites numerous differential interpretations, drawing many analyses and commentaries. While each analysis and commentary takes a different shape, some people consider the mysteries in Faulkner’s work. It is widely accepted that “A Rose for Emily” is a mysterious piece because its author adopts a somewhat confusing plot, uses a challenging point of view in his narrations, and his main character is still mysterious in as many ways as it can be imagined. This analysis elaborates the standpoint that Faulkner writes mysteriously, using these three elements.

A Brief Summary of Faulkner’s “A Letter for Rose”

            “A Rose for Emily” contains five sections, each with different events. The narrator remembers the time of Miss. Emily’s funeral and the way the whole of her town attended it in her home in the first part. Notably, the event is strange, considering that the narrator points out that no outsider had entered the compound in over a decade. The narrator reveals that Emily’s house was the last remnant of a lost era’s grandeur. The narrator also reveals that the previous mayor, Colonel Sartoris, had suspended Miss. Emily’s tax obligations because Mr. Grierson, Emily’s father had bailed the town using a lot of money at one time before his demise. A new regime had taken over the town and officials had visited Emily’s home to persuade her to pay her taxes, which she had turned down and asked them to settle the matter with the Colonel even though he was long dead.

Faulkner then jumps a time thirty years before the events in the first section when Emily had turned down an official inquiry on the town leadership’s behalf when the town’s dwellers detect a stench coming from her premises in the second section. By then, Emily’s father had just died and a man most of the townspeople thought would marry her had additionally left her. Judge Stevens, the town mayor then, had decided that the people sprinkle lime around Emily’s house (his father’s house for this matter) following numerous complaints about the smell, subsiding it after a few weeks. The narrator also observes how the townspeople sympathized with Emily, recalling how her aunty had mysteriously grown mad. He further recounts how the townspeople had always thought that the Griersons held themselves with high esteem, evidenced by how Mr. Grierson had turned away many of his daughter’s suitors, leaving her single until her thirties. The narrator also reveals in this section that Emily had insisted that her father was not dead while women from her town who had gathered to condole with her. However, she had finally delivered the body for burial after three days of denial.

The book’s third section is a description of a long ailment that befalls Emily after this event. The narrator indicates that the town had contracted workers to pave the town’s sidewalks the summer after Mr. Grierson’s death, where Homer Barron, a Black northerner had won the tender with his company. Barron had soon grown popular and had been seen taking Miss. Emily on buggy rides, particularly on Sundays, an incidence that raised more pity towards her from the townspeople. The concern had been that Emily had discarded her family pride for a relationship with a man way below her class. A further involvement with Barron had gradually eroded Emily’s standing, forcing her to purchase arsenic, a strong poison, at a drug store without an accompanying explanation on how she planned to use it, choosing to label it, “For Rats.”

Section four of the novel dwells on the fears that the townspeople had developed that Emily would use the poison on herself. Much as their Sunday routine had not ceased, the narrator observes that a marriage had seemed increasingly unlikely. A faction of women in the town had insisted that the Baptist minister talk to Miss. Emily, which he had done but he had neither spoken of his experiences nor committed to go back. The narrator also indicates that the minister had chosen to write to Emily’s relations in Alabama who had come for an extended stay, a time when Barron had been missing from the town. Barron had entered the Grierson property one day after Emily’s relations had left but he had never been seen again. The narrator also observes that Emily had grown gray and plump because of holing herself in her house, keeping her doors shut for a long time except for her occasional appearance at the window. Only her servant had been seen moving in and out of the compound until the town had discovered Emily’s death aged seventy-four.

The last section narrates what happens after Emily’s demise, indicating that the townspeople attended her burial alongside her relations. The narrator also reveals that an upstairs door that had remained shut for forty years was broken open, where Barron’s body was discovered in an advanced state of decomposition and a strand of Emily’s grey hair on a pillow besides it. The room also contained items for a scheduled wedding event and a man’s suit.

The Plot as a Mystery

William Faulkner does not adopt a chronological plot in his “A Rose for Emily.” Readers are first introduced the situation of taxes and death, which the novelist careless less to elaborate about their relationship in the opening stages of the book. He moves the readers fast-paced from a funeral in which everyone attends to a mysterious story concerning taxes. The biggest question at this point becomes, “What is the relationship between these taxes and the funeral?” It further appears that taxes were not the only thing troubling Miss Emily because they are tame in comparison to what follows. Faulkner introduces his readers to many bizarre things concerning his main character, including the ideas that she had refused to accept her father’s death for three days and acquired a boyfriend in her thirties the summer after her father’s death. Other mysterious events are that Emily had constantly worried that her boyfriend would leave her, she purchased poison and kept it in her house, Barron disappeared, and a door in her house had been locked for forty years only for a decaying body to be found on a bed. There is critical information in this case to understand the plot but how the novelist jumbles up the events makes it altogether confusing.

In the same way, in complication, the townspeople’s conscience seems vibrant, making it useful to perceive the tale as the town’s confession. This perspective, however, complicates matters for the townspeople. Understandably, the town was cruel to Emily when she entered into her relationship with Barron. The intention was to keep her stuck to the southern ideals mapped out to her by her ancestors. However, it is discovered that she had broken loose of the chains following his fathers’ death but the town would not let her go. The town sends Emily’s cousins to her when they learn that they have failed to stop her affection with Barron. Finally, the story runs to an unexpected climax when the poison is delivered bearing a label, “For Rats.” Much as it appears jumbled up for the most part, it ascends to the climax somewhere in the middle, giving it a smooth symmetrical perspective.

Faulkner many have thought of Homer Barron as being a little of a rat, one that, for her nobility, Miss. Emily would have felt that she had all the powers and rights to exterminate. Still, Emily desired to hold tight to her ambition that she would develop normal life, affection, and family. The character has extreme reactions when she realizes that everyone—her cousins, the minister, townspeople, and even Barron—was bent on jeopardizing her plans. That is the reason, for readers, the story’s apex is summarized in image of the crossbones and the skull contained on the poison package bearing the warning, “For Rats.” Other elements of the plot, including a locked door for forty years with a decomposing body and a grey strand of hair on a pillow with some folds on it, are also mysteriously included.

The Point of View as a Mystery

Faulkner uses a rare first-person point of view throughout the entire novel to an effective effect. However, his choice does not leave readers without concerns, creating an additional mystery in his style of writing. First person narration is powerfully used to observe beyond an author’s view but Faulkner approach is worthy studying. The most critical aspect here concerns the narrator’s omniscience; something Faulkner does not care explaining to his readers. Someone reading the novel is left to wonder whether this narrator was Emily’s accomplice, relation, or a townsperson. There are both strengths and weaknesses to these guesses. For instance, if we peak the narrator to be Emily’s accomplice, then we can be in a position to explain how Faulkner got stories about things happening inside the Grierson’s walls—the novelist indicates that a servant had been seen in and out of the home. This approach helps understand how Faulkner may have learned that Emily was giving occasional fine-china painting lessons at some point in her life and how the poison was delivered. However, the perspective does not sufficiently explain how the accomplice was around Emily throughout her life to have witnessed everything, including the purchasing of the poison but missed to know of Homer’s death for decades. Again, it is unlikely that the narrator was an accomplice of Emily’s since Faulkner writes that he (the narrator) observed a servant’s movements between the house and the community.

Thinking of the narrator as Emily’s relative is perhaps the weakest approach to understanding Faulkner’s story. The advantage to this side is that it helps understand Emily’s familial links, including his father and the immediate family. Nonetheless, this is not a strong guess because readers consistently learn that Emily did not live with any relatives apart from his dead father. Lastly, a townsperson may have keenly observed and narrated the accounts at Faulkner’s benefit but they would never be in a strong position to learn of the things happening insider the Grierson’s fence. Therefore, the narrator in this case is critically mysterious.

Characterization as a Mystery

Faulkner’s Emily Grierson is a secretive character, an aspect that makes her mysterious in many ways. The narrator recounts that Miss. Emily’s burial was the only incident when the townspeople were allowed to enter her compound. Except for rare visits by the town’s leadership for tax issues, the minister for counselling reasons, and her cousins for companionship, the narrator declines to accept that Emily ever admitted anyone to her compound willfully. The phenomenon makes Emily a mysterious character, leaving readers with curiosity about her intentions and character. For instance, it is not easy to determine why Emily chose to keep both Homer Barron and her father’s bodies after death and denied that the latter had not actually died. The puzzle of what killed Barron is also the readers’ to solve, now that they learn that she had kept a door upstairs locked for forty years. Now, the greatest question concerns Emily’s character compared to public perception.


William Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily” is a short but somewhat mysterious. The novel documents Emily’s life, including her familial and romantic relations. As discussed, the book does not follow a chronological plot, jumbling events beginning with Emily’s funeral and ending with the same. The in-between sections describe how Emily lived as she did, helping readers to understand the meanings of the events that confront them at the start of the story. Furthermore, Faulkner’s choice of a first person narration adds to his work’s mystery because they are omniscient without measure. Lastly, his characterization of Emily further makes the writing mysterious because she is always secretive.

Character Analysis of Jem Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird: Character Analysis of Jem Finch


Jeremy (Jem) Finch is among the main characters in Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird.” The novel’s readers find that Jem is a young boy aged between ten and thirteen years and the brother to Jean Louise (Scout), the book’s protagonist. Jem is described throughout the novel from his sister’s point of view. The story follows Jem’s development from childhood into young adulthood and the change of his perspectives emanating from both his experience and age. Much as the character presents many ideas, the novelist primarily uses Jem’s characterization to introduce the concept of bravery and how it transforms in the course of the narration. Particularly the novel shows this by moving from childish perspectives that one was brave to play close to the Radley’s house to circumstances that need real courage, such as defending against a fierce dog or confronting an angry mob. The character also gradually transforms from a daredevil child seeking adventure into a serious individual who attempts to protect his younger sister, explaining to her every complication into which they are involved.

Characterization of Jem Finch

  • Jem Finch is Brave

Jem is the novel’s representation of the idea of bravery, and how his perspective of the idea changes in the course of the story is the most critical concept. The transformation that happens probably has a lot to do with the character’s age and experience though his experiences offer a better analytical framework for he readers. At the start of the story, Jem’s perspective of bravery concerns simply touching the sides of the Boo Radley house because he had never declined a dare in all his life. Nonetheless, as the story progresses, Jem learns other ideas of bravery from Atticus Finch, his father confronting a stray dog, from Scout’s conflict with the mob at the jail, and from Mrs. Dubose’s battling with addiction among other situations. Along the way, Jem develops from a boy who frequently brings his sister along with him as a co-conspirator to a young man out to protect his sister and attempts to help her comprehend the implications of things happening around her.

  • Jem Finch is Likeable

Jem’s sister, Scout, finds him a genuinely likeable person, if at times capable of commanding maddening superiority over older characters. Jem strives as much as he can to be like his father, the reason he plans to follow his law career footpath. Readers understand how much Jem idolizes his father, Atticus, to the extent that he would rather risk physical injury than let his father down. His admiration for his father prompts him to begin doing the right things in life much as his decisions were not always popular. For example, he asserts that Dill would do himself good to let his mother know where he (Dill) was when he sneaks into Scout’s bedroom before making the challenging choice to involve Atticus into the matter. Afterwards, his friends exile Jem but he sticks to the rightness of his decision without any apologies. From this perspective, readers can admire Jem’s character, the aspect of decision making that make him a likeable character.

  • Jem Finch is Idealistic

It is interesting to find reading the novel that like most adolescents, Jem is an idealistic personality. He is refuses to accept the jury’s verdict in the Tom Robinson case even after Atticus, his father, offers long explanations on the intricacies involved. In fact, Jem proposes the need for the state to overhaul the criminal justice system and abolish juries. Considering that Atticus is wise, he refrains from squelching or undermining Jem’s feelings. Atticus allows his son to adapt to the issue he faces by respecting him. Still, readers learn that Jem attacks his sister, Scout, when she informs him of Miss Gates’ racists comments at the courtroom, shouting that he never wanted to hear a thing more about the courthouse, insisting that Scout had better take that seriously. At this moment, Jem’s coping skills are still evolving, where his family provides the most favorable environment for honing the capabilities. Altogether, it is worthy considering Jem Finch as an idealistic character in Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

Ironically, the character, who strongly identifies with Robinson, is the only individual in the entire novel who bears physical evidence of the incident. More ironic still is that his injury left his left arm a little shorter than the right, similar to Robinson, and that Robinson also sustained the injury at Jem’s age. Furthermore, it is notable that the person responsible for breaking Jem’s hand was also the one who sent Tom to prison, directly influencing his death.

  • Jem Finch is Humane

Jem Finch has deep sense of care and empathy for others. Readers note that the outcome of the Tom Robinson’s trial not only takes away the residual aspects of his innocence but it also develops his sense of justice and humanity. The character begins to comprehend the hate and prejudice that rests insidiously in his immediate community. Still, Jem sees Robinson’s humanity more apparently than many adults in Maycomb despite his younger age. He refuses to be clouded by the bias of his community and perceives Robinson as innocent as he understands that Maycomb was not the haven he had always presumed it was since birth. His humane perspective draws him into caretaking and protecting roles, particularly for the ones he loves. Readers realize that Jem prioritizes others’ wellbeing, as when he worries about Scout’s safety when they are assaulted by Bob Ewell. In this case, Jem takes the brunt of the assailant’s attack, as his sister retreats, showing compassion and care for Scout.

  • Jem Finch is Curious

Jem is an extremely curious character in “Killing a Mockingbird.” His curiosity can be assessed from the fact that he is always inquisitive, asking many questions about things and events happening around him. Readers note that the questions as short and concern common things, such as when he engages Calpurnia on just about anything, as most children do. However, at times, Jim’s curiosity extends to more important and challenging issues beyond his comprehension. One instance in the novel is his monologue when he ponders why Boo Radley always stays indoors. His interpretation also manifests his mental growth, a perspective that adds intelligence to his judgement. In this case, he began to think of Radley as a symbol of discrimination and racial bias existing in Maycomb. For instance, he wondered why Radley could not get along with others in his community, concluding that he may have thought about himself as different from the rest. In this case, it is enough to think about Jem as a curious character, one who was concerned with the smallest details happening around him at all times.

  • Jem Finch is Respectful

It is mentioned in this analysis that Jem idolizes his father so much that he does not want to let him down. He learns that Atticus, his father is respectful to everyone with whom he interacts, driving him to show the same conduct to everyone regardless of the social background, gender, race, and other aspects that would make him different from the rest. He is always thinking about his and others’ reputations, such as when he leaves his pants at Boo Radley’s as he flees from the house owner alongside other children. In this case, he contemplates that the situation would get both himself and his father into a reputational damage, prompting him to overcome his fear and go back to get the pants. It only goes without mention that Jem learned that he needed to act respectfully to as many parties in his case as possible, beginning with Radley. Consequently, most readers will concur with the perspective that Jem Finch is a respectful character.

  • Jem Finch is Hopeful

Jem Finch is a hopeful character unlike Mr. Raymond who is jaded. One finds out while reading the novel that Atticus informs Scout, her daughter, that Jem simply needed time to build what he learns in life. Atticus’s strong presence in Jem’s life appears to promise that he would regain his equilibrium at some instance in the future. Jem learns later on that Boo Radley’s unanticipated help was an indication that everyone is capable of a good deed regardless of their reputation. Furthermore, before the end of the book, Jem depicts indications of having acquired a positive lesson from the Tom Robinson experience. For example, he refrains to le Scout squash a roly-poly bug, arguing that the insect had done nothing to harm her. The incident is an indication that the experiences had drawn Jem into wanting to protect the weak. In many ways, it is clear from Jem’s character analysis that he was hopeful that everyone would begin to see the need to care for each other, particularly the most vulnerable.

  • Jem Finch is Naïve

Jem represents most people of his age who are overtly naïve, particularly because they are unexperienced in life. The Tom Robinson case is a major event that contributed to the character’s rapid mental maturity though reluctantly. One learns that Jem had a different perspective of his community in Maycomb, Alabama. As mentioned, he always thought to himself that Maycomb was made up of people who cared for one another, individuals who refrained from judging others on biased grounds, such as their skin color and social class status, among others. Nonetheless, readers find out that his was a naïve perspective, particularly when learns that the community was critically racist. For instance, he is forced to stand up for his father in many questionable circumstances, such as when he is drawn into cutting down Mrs. Dubose’s camellias after she attacks Atticus at Tom Robinson’s trial. The incident draws Jem into realizing that his community was not exactly as hospitable and welcoming to everyone as he had imagined. Consequently, readers acknowledge that the young character’s prejudgment was predominantly naïve.

Summary of Jem Flinch’s Characterization

Jem Finch is among Lee’s “Killing a Mockingbird” main characters. As described in this analysis, Jem matures with the novel’s progression. Much of the analysis has been dedicated to describing how the character develops with time, arguing mostly that the changes drew from his growth in experience. For instance, it has been demonstrated that he starts to move away from his sister, Scout, spending most of his time alone. During this time, Jem begins to learn the art of critical thinking and proper decision making. Most of his characterizations also relate to his adoration for Atticus, his father. In many ways, Jem does not want to let his father down. Therefore, he strives to be well-mannered and protective for those around him. Jem’s characterization plays a central role in building the novel’s central thematic concerns, particularly prejudice and how people should treat each other in society. Most of his character traits incline towards his love for others and the hope that everyone can do a good deed regardless of previous prejudgments.

Wuthering Heights Summary & Analysis

Wuthering Heights Summary

“Wuthering Heights” is Emily Bronte’s novel written in 1847 and initially published under Ellis Bell, the author’s pen name. The novel tells the story of two landed gentry families living on the moors of West Yorkshire, the Lintons, and Earnshaws, and their troubled relationship with Heathcliff, Earnshaw’s foster son. Gothic fiction and Romanticism influenced the novel’s style and plot. The novel is currently considered an English literature classic but its contemporaneous reviews have largely been polarized. The book was considered controversial for its depiction of physical and mental cruelty, such as domestic harassment, and its apparent challenge to societal, religious, and Victorian morality values. This essay presents the novel’s in-depth summary, focusing on the plot development and the chronology of the many events happening in the course of reading.

Plot Summary

Lockwood rents Thrushcross Grange, a manor located in England’s isolated moor country in late winter, 1801. Lockwood meets Heathcliff, his dour landlord and a rich man living in Wuthering Heights, an ancient manor located four miles away from Thrushcross. In this stormy and wild countryside, Lockwood requests Nelly Dean, his housekeeper, to tell him Heathcliff’s story as well as the bizarre denizens of Wuthering Heights. Dean agrees, prompting Lockwood to document his recollections of Dean’s story in a diary. The recollections are a critical part of “Wuthering Heights.”
Nelly recalls her childhood, when as a young girl, she worked as a Wuthering Heights servant for the manor’s owner, Mr. Earnshaw. The master leaves for Liverpool one day and comes back with an orphaned child that he raises among his children. The Earnshaw children, Catherine and her elder brother Hindley, detest Heathcliff, the dark-skinned orphan at the beginning. However, Catherine quickly becomes fond of him, and they form an inseparable bond, spending most of their time on the moors as they play. Mr. Earnshaw also grows his preference for Heathcliff at the expense of his biological son while Hindley grows his cruelty towards Heathcliff. Earnshaw decides to send his son away to college in an attempt to keep Heathcliff nearby.
Mr. Earnshaw dies three years later, allowing Hindley to inherit his premises, particularly, the Wuthering Heights. This time, Hindley comes back with a wife, Frances, quickly seeking revenge on Heathcliff. The latter, once an orphaned boy, then a favored child, finds himself handled as a common worker, forced to labor in the fields. However, he maintains his close bond with Catherine. The two wander to Thrushcross Grange one night, expecting to tease Isabella and Edgar Linton, the snobbish and cowardly children living there. While at the Thrushcross, a dog bites Catherine, where she is compelled to recuperate at a garage for five weeks, at time during which Mrs. Linton works strives to make her a well-mannered young woman. Edgar infatuates Catherine by the time she returns, complicating her relationship with Heathcliff. Hindley goes into the abyss of alcoholism when his wife, Frances, dies after to their first child, Hareton. He also increases his cruelty and abuse for Heathcliff out of the frustration. Catherine’s longing for social class advancement pushes her to be engaged to Edgar, much as she had an overpowering affection for Heathcliff. The latter flees the Wuthering Heights for three years, returning only after Edgar and Catherine are married.
At his return, Heathcliff immediately seeks revenge on everyone who wronged him in the past. Readers note that he Heathcliff has amassed a lot and mysterious wealth, where he deviously issues loans to the drunken Hindley, aware that he would descend into deeper despondency because of ballooning debts. He inherits the manor after Hindley’s death, as he also prepares to inherit the Thrushcross Grange through his marriage to Isabella Linton, whom he treats unfairly. Catherine becomes sick, delivers a baby girl, and dies. It is interesting to note that Heathcliff pleads Catherine’s spirit to remain on Earth—she would assume any form, haunt him, and cause madness—as long as she does not dissert him. Isabella escapes to London, delivers a son, names him Linton, and keeps him with her.
Thirteen years go by, a period during which Nelly acts as Catherine’s daughter’s maid at the Grange. Young Catherine resembles her mother in beauty and stature but her father’s gentler influence modifies her temperament. The baby is raised at the Grange with no awareness and understanding of the Wuthering Heights. However, one day, she discovers the manor one day, as she was wandering through the moors. She also meets Hareton with whom she plays. Later, Isabella dies, forcing Linton to move to and live with Heathcliff, who treats him even more cruelly than he did to Isabella, despite being a sickly and whining little boy.
Young Catherine meets Heathcliff on the moors three years later before visiting the Wuthering Heights, where she meets Linton. The two start a secret affair, conducted entirely through letter writing. The girl starts to sneak to the Heights at night to have time with her lover when Nelly destroys her letters. Linton wants Young Catherine to keep returning to help nurse him back to health. Nonetheless, it turns out that Linton’s affair with Young Catherine was Heathcliff’s making because he thought that a marriage between the two would complete revenge on Edgar alongside his legal claims on the Grange. He lures Young Catherine and Nelly to the Heights one day when Edgar grows critically ill, holding them hostage until Linton and Catherine are married. Edgar dies soon after the marriage, which is soon succeeded by sickly Linton’s demise. Heathcliff is now in control of the Grange and the Heights, where he forces Catherine to live at the latter, as he rents the former to Lockwood.
Nelly concludes her story as she reaches the present, an event that causes Lockwood to terminate his tenancy at the Grange and return to London. Nonetheless, he visits Nelly six months later and learns further developments to the tale. Much as Catherine had once mocked Hareton’s illiteracy and ignorance—Heathcliff terminated his education following Hindley’s death—she continues loving him as they stay at the Heights. Heathcliff increases his obsession for older Catherine’s memories to the level that he starts to speak to her ghost. Everything he sees and touches serves as a reminder of her presence. He dies one day, shortly after spending a night walking on the moors, allowing young Catherine and Hareton to inherit the Grange and the Heights, planning to be married on the first day of the next year. Lockwood moves to see Heathcliff and Catherine’s graves after hearing the story.

The Chronology of Events in “Wuthering Heights”

The tale in “Wuthering Heights” is told using flashbacks stored in diary entries. Notably, the events it contains are mostly presented out of their chronology. Precisely, Lockwood tells his narrative after Nelly’s, for example, but he is interspersed with the Nelly Dean’s narrative noted in his journal. However, readers note that the novel has sufficient clues to allow approximate reconstructions of its chronological order, which Emily Bronte elaborately designed. For instance, the entries in Lockwood’s diary were recorded in the later months of 1801 and in September 1802. Nelly Dean informs Lockwood that she had been living at the Grange for eighteen years since Edgar and Catherine were married when he first records the events in his diary in 1801. This record, therefore, suggests that Nelly must have moved to the Grange in 1783.
Readers are now aware that Edgar and Catherine were engaged for three years. By then, as they further know, Nelly was only twenty-two years old. It follows that the engagement must have happened in 1780, and that Nelly must have been born in 1758. Considering that Catherine is a few years younger than Nelly, and that Lockwood observes in 1801 that Heathcliff was about forty years old, it becomes plausible to guess that both Catherine and Heathcliff were born in 1761 when Nelly was about three years old. The novel has several other clues, including Hareton’s birth that must have occurred in June 1778. After a careful reading, one may establish a chronology based on the clues, which help to closely approximate the period of the novel’s most important events, as described subsequently.
The first event in the story must have occurred in 1500 when the stone over the door to the Wuthering Heights is inscribed bearing the name Hareton Earnshaw and marking the completion of the residence. The second event is Nelly’s birth, which must have occurred in 1758, followed by Catherine and Heathcliff’s births some in 1761. Next, it can be reconstructed from the novel that Mr. Earnshaw must have brought Heathcliff to the Wuthering Heights in 1767 and sent Hindley to collage in 1774. The year 1777 must have witnessed many events, beginning with Earnshaw’s death, Frances and Hindley taking charge of the Wuthering Heights, and ended with a Christmas time visit to the Thrushcross Grange by Catherine. Hareton must have been born in June 1778, the same period his mother died and his father began sinking into the abyss of alcoholism. Edgar and Catherine must have been engaged in 1780, prompting Heathcliff to leave the same year.
Isabella must have eloped with Heathcliff in early 1784 before Catherine was taken ill with brain fever, delivered her baby, Young Catherine, later that year, and died. Isabella must have left the Wuthering Heights early 1785 and settled in London, the same year her son, Linton, was born. Hindley must also have died in 1785, leaving Heathcliff to inherit the Heights. Further reconstruction of the events in the novel also reveal that Young Catherine must have met Hareton and visited the Heights for the first time in 1797, the same year Linton returns from London after his mother’s death (between the late 1797 and early 1798). Linton and Young Catherine must have staged their love for each other in the winter of 1800.
Heathcliff must have held and forced Catherine to be married to Linton at the start of 1801. Edgar Linton, Linton’s father, died in the same year as his son, allowing Heathcliff to take control of the Grange. Lockwood rents the Thrushcross Grange later that year from Heathcliff and starts his occupancy as a tenant. Lockwood also starts his conversations with Nelly in a winter storm that year, events that happen between 1801 and 1802. Lockwood goes back to London in the spring of 1802, leaving as Hareton and Catherine find affection for each other. The same years sees Heathcliff’s death before Lockwood returns to the Wuthering Heights in September to learn the end to Nelly’s narration. Lastly, Hareton and Young Catherine plan to marry on New Year’s Day, 1803.
“Wuthering Heights” is a significant contemporary time reading for two major reasons. First, the novel is an accurate and honest depiction of life in an early period, providing glimpses of history. Second, the novel possesses of and in itself allows the text to move a step beyond the entertainment category and rank itself as high-quality literature. The novelist’s depiction of class, society, and women is a witness to the time, which is foreign to modern readers. Still, much as society is currently different than it was at the author’s time, people have not changed, allowing present-day readers to connect to the central characters’ emotions and feelings, particularly Catherine and Heathcliff. Considering that Bronte uses real characters, it turns out that they are humans with emotions. In this case, one may find it plausible to argue that “Wuthering Heights” extends beyond the standards of a sentimental romance work. Rather, as a reader may notice while reading the novel, Bronte presents life as it unfolds, composes an essay about love, and offers a glimpse of relationships. A great number of critics may find it irresistible to praise some of the author’s mastery of literature and its meaning to the intended audience. For example, they want to think of her word choice, imagery, style, and plot as literary masterpieces that make her writing more of a work of poetry presented in prose.