Hi again – another Literature post on Wuthering Heights and A Thousand Splendid Suns. This one is based on the theme of family which can go on forever in these books, but this is my summary of it.
A Thousand Splendid Suns suggests there is no one more important than family and this links heavily with the theme of love. It also shows that family is not just who you are related to by blood, but also who you chose to be in your family. Wuthering Heights shows that families are dysfunctional and that just because you are family, doesn’t mean you can’t not like, betray or hurt someone in it. Instead of bringing comfort and peace like in A Thousand Splendid Suns, families in Wuthering Heights are a source of violence, alienation, jealousy, and greed.
The idea of having an outsider join the family in Wuthering Heights is a source of problems. Heathcliff doesn’t fit in and so isn’t accepted and the love he does get comes from other places so other people are hurt and neglected, such as Hindley. Still, the theme of family runs throughout the book. Almost every character is either an Earnshaw or a Linton, or in some cases both. This is purposeful by Bronte to show the duality between the two houses and their themes. A Thousand Splendid Suns use family in order to show unity. Mariam and Laila have a mother-daughter relationship and later, Tariq and Zalmai have a father-son relationship.
A Thousand Splendid Suns uses blood relationships to compare new relationships, such as Mariam to Nana, Laila to Mamma, Mariam to Jalil, and Rasheed to Tariq. Mariam being a harami isolates her from normal family life to an extent, but as the book explains later from Jalil’s point of view, it shouldn’t have mattered and it was her parents that kept her secret and afraid of normal life. However, it is love and personal strength that makes her strive to live in Jalil’s family life and later to make her own family. Mammy blames Babi for what happened to Ahmad and Noor, but this is not right. From what we’re told, Babi would want them to be happy and do what they want to, so if they want to fight, he will not stop them. It is Mammy that can’t stop them, she needs Babi to do that, so she blames Babi for allowing them a freedom and future she doesn’t want. Laila’s love of her children change her into a mother rather than just a child, and this family love changes her attitude. If she didn’t have a child, she would have left Rasheed quickly both before and likely after she found out Tariq was dead. It changes her life for both the better and worse.
Bronte uses names to connect people permanently to others. She emphasizes the Gothic and perverse by making her lovers related to one another. She brings them together not in spite of being related but because of it. By doing this, people have no choice to remember one family member when they see the younger. It also connects people in different ways and shows relationships in younger years. It enables people to see two sides and compare the characters. By making the story simply on two families, it allows the story to be simpler and shows how even in small groups, there can be massive differences in status, ideals, ways of life, ways of coping and it allows dualism to be a big theme throughout. It also shows that through romantic relationships, family relationships break down, and even the romantic ones leave too. Catherine leaves Heathcliff, doesn’t love Edgar and seems to not even know she’s pregnant. Heathcliff is destructive and pulls Edgar and Catherine apart, Edgar and Cathy apart, Edgar and Isabella apart and pulls Cathy to Linton for nasty reasons showing despite the love and family he mostly got as a young child, he is not loyal to anyone. Mr. Earnshaw may have brought Heathcliff to his family due to his kindness and wanting to help, but it may also be due to wanting a playmate for his children or wanting to bring back his dead son. He may have felt it was a gift or sign from God, and this may be why he names him Heathcliff. Nelly views Hareton as her child before she leaves with Catherine, and views him as “all the world”.
There you go! I hope you enjoyed this brief post, and please add any thought you have in the comments as this really is so broad a subject it needs it! Thank you for reading!