Wuthering Heights Alienism Essay

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Alien Forces In Karl Marx’s quotation from Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1884, Marx claims that in a capitalist society, people value commodities more than human life as they are drawn into the belief that having more possessions leads to greater social status. Marx references the idea that everyone has the goal of driving others to “economic ruin” (Marx, 170) which suggests that humans have an innate greedy nature. By comparing the “quantity of objects” (Marx, 170) to “an extension of the realm of the alien powers,” (Marx, 170), Marx’s language in using “alien power” (170) implies that human greed is supernatural and is imposed by forces outside of a person’s control, for example, the desire of societal acceptance. The word…show more content…
Possessions also represent the appeal to conform to society as what a character presents to others reflect their opinions about how they should act in society. When Catherine returns from the grange, Nelly notes that Catherine changes from “a wild, hatless savage” (Brontë, 53) to a grown woman wearing “brown ringlets falling from the cover of a feathered beaver” (Brontë, 53). Bronte’s use of animal imagery initially describes Catherine as being primitive and animal-like, and the evolution into describing Catherine being in possession of an animal reflects a change in status as she is now in control of nature rather than being an animal. The depiction of her new clothing also represents the appeal of social acceptance as Catherine recognizes that she is judged by how well she dresses. A change in appearance can also be seen in Heathcliff as he returns “quite divested of roughness” (Brontë, 96). Heathcliff’s transition into a well-groomed man further represents the appeal of social acceptance as he chooses to possess a more formal attire. It may seem as though Catherine and Heathcliff have control as they decide what to wear, but in fact, they do not because how they present themselves are dictated by society, suggesting that societal customs and expectations are “alien forces” (Marx) controlling Catherine and Heathcliff. This lack of control can also be seen in

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