Taking a psychoanalytic perspective on Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights, my paper explains Jacques Lacan’s psychoanalytic theory, the Mirror Stage, and applies it to two of Bronte’s characters – Catherine Earnshaw and her daughter, Cathy Linton. The Mirror Stage focuses on how the self develops through interactions with others by looking at the formation and maintenance of the ego and how this contributes to one’s identification with an outside image, as well as the roles of narcissism, the unconscious, and desire.
While critics have generally perceived the behaviors of Catherine and Cathy as selfish, childish, and unsympathetic, my use of the Mirror Stage suggests that these two characters are not fully responsible for their negatively perceived behaviors. Instead, I conclude that Catherine and Cathy’s behavior scan, at least in part, be seen as a direct result of their interactions with other characters in the novel – such as Heathcliff, Edgar, and Nelly.
Ann Garcia, ’14
Major: English – Creative Writing Concentration
Sponsor: Michelle Mouton