`Wuthering Heights` IOC Approach

Report
Individual Oral Commentary
An Approach…
The Requirements
A: Knowledge and understanding of the text or
extract (10)
B: Understanding of the use and effects of literary
features (10)
C: Organization (5)
•
D: Language (5)
1 – The Extract
I listened doubtingly an instant; detected the disturber, then turned and dozed, and
dreamt again; if possible, still more disagreeably than before.
This time, I remembered I was lying in the oak closet, and I heard distinctly the gusty
wind, and the driving of the snow; I heard, also, the fir-bough repeat its teasing sound,
and ascribed it to the right cause: but, it annoyed me so much, that I resolved to silence
it, if possible; and, I thought, I rose and endeavoured to unhasp the casement. The hook
was soldered into the staple, a circumstance observed by me, when awake, but forgotten.
‘I must stop it, nevertheless!’ I muttered, knocking my knuckles through the glass, and
stretching an arm out to seize the importunate branch: instead of which, my fingers
closed on the fingers of a little, ice-cold hand!
The intense horror of nightmare came over me; I tried to draw back my arm, but, the
hand clung to it, and a most melancholy voice sobbed,
‘Let me in – let me in!’
2 – The Context
‘Wuthering Heights’, Emily Bronte, first published
1847 under nom de plume ‘Ellis Bell, Volume I,
Chapter III
During visit to his landlord, Heathcliff, the unreliable
narrator here, Lockwood, relates his imagined dreams
during his enforced stay at Wuthering Heights
Significant because of rising tension, first tangible
evidence of protagonist Catherine and, therefore, the
revelation of the relationship between Heathcliff and
her
3 – Salient Features
I listened doubtingly an instant; detected the disturber, then turned and dozed,
and dreamt again; if possible, still more disagreeably than before.
This time, I remembered I was lying in the oak closet, and I heard distinctly the
gusty wind, and the driving of the snow; I heard, also, the fir-bough repeat its
teasing sound, and ascribed it to the right cause: but, it annoyed me so much, that I
resolved to silence it, if possible; and, I thought, I rose and endeavoured to unhasp
the casement. The hook was soldered into the staple, a circumstance observed by
me, when awake, but forgotten.
‘I must stop it, nevertheless!’ I muttered, knocking my knuckles through the glass,
and stretching an arm out to seize the importunate branch: instead of which, my
fingers closed on the fingers of a little, ice-cold hand!
The intense horror of nightmare came over me; I tried to draw back my arm, but,
the hand clung to it, and a most melancholy voice sobbed,
‘Let me in – let me in!’
4 – Initial Premise - Introduction
Rising tension due to unreliable narrator Lockwood’s
inconsistent account
Shown through vague recollection, ambivalence and
contradictory details
•
Bronte’s ambiguous narrative perspective, her deliberate,
consistent use of halting punctuation, extreme emotive
language, contrast of professed action and mental ambiguity,
‘Gothic’ lexicon
Effect is to make reader equally uncertain, therefore creating
dramatic tension
5 – Initial Structure
Immediate context and lit sig of ext
B’s char’ion of L
B’s own ambiguous NP
Imm effects on reader
Effs on und of char
Effs on lit genre
6 – PremInt
Rising tension due to unreliable narrator Lockwood’s inconsistent
account
Shown through vague recollection, ambivalence and contradictory
details
her deliberate, consistent use of halting punctuation, extreme
emotive language, contrast of professed action and mental
ambiguity
•
Bronte’s ambiguous narrative perspective; !st NP, 3rd NP,
omniscient but subjective NP, ‘Gothic’ lexicon
Effect is to make reader equally uncertain, therefore creating
dramatic tension, combined with setting, crucial to mood evoking
genre
7 – PEEE # 1
I listened doubtingly an instant; detected the disturber, then
turned and dozed, and dreamt again; if possible, still more
disagreeably than before.
Apparent paradox between doubting and ‘instant’ – how reliable?
Harsh, consistent tremulous consonance – fitful, restless state
‘dozed’ semi-conscious – real/imagined
Consistent commas, semi-colons, fragmented syntax – inconsistent
and confused thoughts, mental imbalance
Therefore how can we trust his narrative – its veracity - tension
8 – PEEE # 2
Remembered – forgotten
Contrast of characterization – B’s 1NP is inconsistent
I resolved to silence it, if possible; and, I thought,
Juxtaposition of professed action and vague thought
my fingers closed on the fingers of a little, ice-cold
hand!
‘little’ – from whose perspective? ‘ice-cold’ hyperbole,
extreme - unreliable emotion, mood rather than reality
9 – PEEE # 3
The intense horror of nightmare came over me; I tried to
draw back my arm, but, the hand clung to it, and a most
melancholy voice sobbed,
‘Let me in – let me in!’
•
Cliched ‘gothic’ diction
•
Inter-play of 1NP and professed 3NP, is L omniscient
or subjective? If latter, have we not been misled with H,
WH, H and CE? Is L a vehicle for B’s gothic novel? Is
serious Char analysis – didactic intent – viable?
Conclusion
If the perceptions of the narrator are flawed, the readers’
impression – and understanding – of the other characters will be
flawed too. In this extract, Lockwood is evidently overwrought
emotionally and possibly insincere.
If, therefore we cannot trust the veracity of his account – and
Bronte’s indistinct narrative perspectives, the reader is more
immediately engaged – or intrigued – through the consequent
tension and mood achieved. This, in turn, enhances the mystery
inherent in the ‘gothic’ genre and, in turns, titillates with subtext and foreshadowing typical too. The extract therefore is
significant because it not only embodies the genre but the
narrator is exposed and the future plot foreshadowed.

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