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Narcissism and Oedipus Complex

Author ZhangWenJing
Tutor XuQingHong
School Anhui University
Course English Language and Literature
Keywords Wuthering Heights narcissism Oedipus complex Tragedy of love
Type Master's thesis
Year 2011
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Wuthering Heights has attracted a lot of readers since its publication. Most of scholars study the work from the style of the novel, the point of theme, or the analysis of the character. Some critics interpret the novel from new angles--applying psychological theories to the study of Wuthering Heights, however, most studies focus on Emily Bronte’s narcissistic inclination, and few studies focus on the Oedipus complex of Emily Bronte.In this thesis, Wuthering Heights is approached from the angle of psychological criticism. Through the interpretation of the novel and research of Emily Bronte’s life experience, Emily Bronte’s narcissism and Oedipus complex both can be disclosed. The psychological defects are also immensely reflected on the two protagonists, who possessed the same inclination with the author, giving rise to irreconcilable conflicts in the hero and heroine, and directed their love to the miserable ending.Through exploring Narcissism and Oedipus complex as the negative influence of the love tragedy in Wuthering Heights, we can find the influence of Emily Bronte’s family background upon the formation of her personality whose defects castle herself into agony. The torture in the emotion as the effect of their personality is also vividly represented by the protagonists. The analysis may provide some inspiration to the love in our realistic life, illuminating the understanding of the novel, Wuthering Heights and the author herself.This thesis is composed by five chapters. Chapter one briefly introduces the background of the author and the novel, giving a brief overview of overseas and domestic research on Wuthering Heights. Chapter two explores modern psychological theories and Emily Bronte’s life experience. Through analyzing Emily Bronte’s misfortune in her childhood and her poems, we can find Emily Bronte’s writings reveal the narcissism and Oedipus complex inclination of her. Under the influence of Emily Bronte, the two protagonists are tainted with the same psychological defects. Chapter three discusses Heathcliff and Catherine’s narcissism. Catherine’s narcissism is revealed in her self-consciousness, her "homesickness" and her hysteria, while Heathcliff’s narcissism is mainly represented in his sadism and masochism. The two narcissists are provoked by the selfishness of each other, and the conflicts are inevitable. Chapter four explores Heathcliff’s Oedipus complex and the influence of Oedipus complex to the love between Catherine and Heathcliff. Under the influence of Oedipus complex, Heathcliff is too emotionally dependent on Catherine, which finally makes Catherine bored and prefers to marry Edgar. Eventually, Catherine’s betrayal triggers the love tragedy. Chapter five concludes the whole thesis: influenced by psychological defects of Emily Bronte, the two protagonists, Heathcliff and Catherine both represent the same personality, narcissism and Oedipus complex, with the author. Narcissism makes them selfish and torture each other, while Oedipus complex leads to the imbalance in their love. Thus intense conflicts between the lovers arise, and the love tragedy is inevitable.

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