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"The Situation of the Looker-On": Gender, Narration, and Gaze in Wuthering Heights

Beth Newman
PMLA
Vol. 105, No. 5 (Oct., 1990), pp. 1029-1041
DOI: 10.2307/462732
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/462732
Page Count: 13
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"The Situation of the Looker-On": Gender, Narration, and Gaze in Wuthering Heights
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Abstract

In its frequent attention to visual acts, Wuthering Heights explores the sexual politics of the gaze. Not only does Brontë's novel make the gaze important thematically (as both a psychosexual phenomenon and a means of surveillance), it also suggests that narration itself is dependent on and produced by a gaze. But through its treatment of its two narrators and of Hareton and the second Catherine as gazing subjects, the novel suggests that there are limits to the power of the gaze to objectify, appropriate, and control. Thus Wuthering Heights anticipates questions that feminist theory has been asking about a possible "female gaze" and provides a feminist context for thinking about the visual metaphors pervading post-Jamesian theories of the novel.

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