Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Bronte,
along with their brother Branwell, were highly educated by their clergyman
father. While growing up particularly alone, the four siblings usually
entertained each other with elaborate storytelling games. As they became
adults, all three Bronte sisters would then publish novels that have been
considered masterpieces. Though the two best known are Emily’s Wuthering Heights and Charlotte’s
Jane Eyre, both were
published on the same year 1847 under male pseudonyms. Jane Eyre was an immediate best seller while Wuthering Heights took
some years to be greatly recognized and read as a masterpiece. These two novels
share a lot in common besides the last name of their authors, such as elements
of gothic novel and a Byronic hero. They greatly differ in many important ways,
for instance Charlottes positive view of the world and human nature.

    
The Gothic novel alone became popular in the 18th and 19th
century due to their spooky settings, isolated old castles or grand houses in
general. They seem to have this dark and moody tone, and hidden often of taboo
secrets. Jane Eyre for instance shows this in isolated settings like Lowood,
Moor House, and Thornfield. The novel seems to always carry secrets, the
biggest one would be that of Rochester’s, when he’s hidden his wife Bertha. There
are also seemingly supernatural occurrences, like when Janes encounter with the
ghost of her Uncle Reed. Wuthering Heights, like Jane Eyre, perhaps shows its
gothic influence most strongly in its very location. An isolated rundown
country house. Its central lovers, Catherine and Heathcliff, are also full of
family secrets that imperil their romance. Hinting at taboo topics like
necrophilia and incest, which is another gothic element. Heathcliff, the hero
of Wuthering Heights, and Rochester, Janes love interest, have been seen as Byronic
heroes. Rochester is a gentleman, in title anyway, who rejects the rules of the
social class he was born into. Rochester is old, not handsome, rude, violent,
and keeps his wife Bertha locked in the attic. Jane, who is half his age still,
cannot resist him due to his honesty besides Bertha, and his passionate love
towards Jane. Jane stated, “The ease of his manner freed me from painful
restraint; the friendly frankness, as correct as cordial, with which he treated
me, drew me to him.” (chapter 15) Jane goes through many tragic circumstances
but she never lost her sense of who she is, a human being worthy of respect.
She is able to hold to this sense of self as an orphan, as a young woman with a
painful crush, as a dependent, and ultimately of means, a wife, and a mother.
Rochester and her relationship is defined by respect, passion, and love. It is
even proven until he’s able to respect her autonomy, no amount of him swooning
over her can win the day or her really. When she is most powerless, or when she
is at her most romantically passionate, she yet holds to saying, “I am no bird;
and no net ensnares me; I am a free human being with an independent will.”  Here we see an example of how she viewed him
and the impact he had on her, while at the same time having an awareness of a
sense of self. It was something she cherished for someone to care for her
because of who she truly was. On the contrast in Wuthering Heights it is all
about people who are obsessed with one another that they have no sense of self
as individuals. For instance, Catherine states “Nelly, I am Heathcliff!” and Heathcliff
throughout the novel says, “I cannot live without my life! I cannot live
without my soul!”  He wanders the moors
wailing in heartbroken anguish and concocting terrible vengeances in gloomy
halls, while swept away with deep consuming passion. Heathcliff unlike
Rochester did not come from such a social class and was found by Catherine’s
father and both have had a bond since children. Both lovers, sharing common traits
such as being rude, obnoxious, and selfish. Most of all, both seemed pretty
mean to another unlike Jane and Rochester.

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On the contrast when it came to intellect and conversing on a higher-level
Jane and Rochester seemed to portray this throughout the novel. Educated and
full of knowledge, their communication intrigued readers, while contrary to
Catherine and Heathcliff it is stated that Catherine was in fact not intrigued
by his conversations especially after being with Edgar and seeing Heathcliff didn’t
have much to offer. She in fact boldly tells Heathcliff, he is dulled in
conversation, and she cannot speak much with him, since he himself says so
little. In Wuthering Heights, there doesn’t seem to be an act of true love or a
relationship built upon mutual respect as in Jane Eyre, there seems to be an
obsession with love itself and the need to feel fulfilled.

    
Also, when comparing their marriages to Bertha and Isabella, Rochester
was never abusive to Bertha despite her being mentally ill. He locked her in
the attic simply to protect her from harm. Even when the house was set on fire
by Bertha herself, he risked his life to save her, when it could’ve turned into
an act where he could finally have a chance to get her out of his life for good.
In that scene is where his love and compassion for others was shown
tremendously. Heathcliff was abusive to Isabella Linton, and didn’t seem to
care much at all for her. Catherine also didn’t seem to mind either because she
was involved with Edgar. On the contrary, when we speak of love itself, it’s
hard to justify who in fact was more in love, was it Heathcliff or Rochester?  As mentioned, in some way Heathcliff seemed to
have had an obsession, but this man was dragged through the mud by Catherine,
messing with his emotions while at the same time knowing he was head over heels
for her. He still seemed to maintain his composure due to the fact that he was
a servant at that house. She unlike Jane came from a higher social class then
him so it gave her an upper hand to treat him a certain way. Jane was a
governess and didn’t have that kind of leverage. She had to maintain this image
as a governess and not cross the line. It seems all four of these characters
have similarities and differences when comparing them each into different groups.

    
In the passage of Wuthering Heights, we read Catherine truly confesses
her love for Heathcliff stating she is Heathcliff and that he would never escape
her mind no matter the circumstance. Here we see a true confession of what is going
on in this character’s mind. Regardless of the way she has treated Heathcliff
she seems to ultimately care and have love for him. While looking at the Jane
Eyre passage we see here Rochester confessing his love for Jane, asking her to
marry him and be by his side for life. Convincing her that no matter the social
class she is a torture to him, she is all he wants and nothing else. The similarities
here would be that these characters are of upper class and have fallen for
their servants, and their servants have fallen for them.