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Word Count: 1,002
In Wuthering Heights and The Return of the Native both Emily Bronte and Thomas Hardy create societies that are enclosed by both natural and man made boundaries In both novels people try to escape these boundaries and breach them with varying success Freedom within these societies is very much dictated by the morals and social confines of the Victorian age One way in which Victorian society affects peoples freedom is through marriage In both novels a female character chooses to marry a man not so much for love but for social reasons In Wuthering Heights Catherine Earnshaw chooses to marry Edgar Linton even though she is very much in love with Heathcliff As she says It would degrade me to marry Heathcliff and this choice leads to tragic consequences Heathcliff can be seen to represent a rebel and interloper within the society as he comes in from outside with ideas opposed to the ideals of society A Marxist Critic may interpret Heathcliffs rise from working class poverty to riches and ownership of houses and land as one mans revolutionary struggle for freedom against society or something To Catherine he is freedom from the oppression of society and oppressors such as Hindley religion int form ot Joseph and their relationship harks back to their childhood when they played freely on the moors However so as to appear to be conforming to societys rules she marries Edgar Linton and this choice leads to tragic consequences A similar situation occurs in The Return of The Native Thomasin Yeobright chooses to marry Damon Wildeve for practical purposes thereby retaining her honour and reputation despite Wildeves dubious character He wore the pantomimic expression of a lady killing career This marriage ends in tragedy too This suggests that with more freedom away from the constraints of society marriages would be more successful This is especially true in The Return of The Native as Hardy comments on marriage for the wrong reasons
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