Social Norms In Selected Poems And The Kite Runner

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Explore how the presentation of social norms is explored in ‘Selected Poems’ by John Keats and ‘Wuthering Heights’ by Emily Brontë, making reference to ‘The Kite Runner’ by Khaled Hosseini. Please note – italic text connotes text that has not been expanded upon, because I am unsure how I can make it fit into the flow of the essay, or because expanding that point would use words that I simply don’t have. Characterisation is key to establishing social norms in literary works. The characters in a novel or poem are what the reader forms an emotional connection to; they are the driving force that makes us want to read on. It is how these characters conform to or rebel from their imposed social norms which engage the reader on their journey. Therefore…show more content…
In Chapter 9 of Wuthering Heights, Nelly suspects Cathy’s bad faith surrounding her inclination to marry Edgar, rather than Heathcliff. The reader than experiences a wall of Cathy’s true emotions surrounding their relationship “I’ve no more business to marry Edgar Linton [...] if the wicked man in there had not brought Heathcliff so low, I shouldn’t have thought of it. It would degrade me to marry Heathcliff now; so he shall never know how I love him [...] he’s more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same; and Linton’s is as different as a moonbeam from lightning, or frost from fire.” In this speech, Bronte makes the lexical choice of contrasting frost to fire, the frost – representing Edgar, shows her cold emotions and lack of love for him. In comparison, Cathy’s relationship with Heathcliff is implied as being like ‘fire’ full of action, love and emotion. Additionally, similes are used by Bronte to further represent her emotions for the two men; expressing that Linton’s soul is “as different as a moonbeam from lightning, or frost from fire”, using nature to illustrate the drastic differences between the two…show more content…
If we split the first stanza into an ABABAB form then it is clear the A lines highlight the impossibility of Isabella’s relationship (Keats’ repetition of “They could not” shows this) in contrast to the love that is shown in the B lines (i.e. “stir of heart”, “soothed each to be the other by”). Keats therefore effectively creates this existential love, which, whilst very real, is acknowledged right from the outset to transcend the social norms the brothers (a proxy representing societal pressures) are imposing upon Isabella. By analysing Keats’ poem further, we gain more of an insight to the brothers’ motives for preventing Isabella’s relationship, in stanza twenty-one, the reader learns not only that the brothers “found by many signs What love Lorenzo for their sister had”, but that they have intentions to “coax her by degrees To some high noble and his olive trees”. The lexical choices used by Keats in this stanza are of interest from an analytical standpoint, the word “coax” indicates that the brothers had hoped Isabella would mould herself to the patriarchal pressures of society that we identified in ‘Wuthering Heights’, that with only gentle persuasion Isabella would marry someone who was a traditional suitor; the sarcastic undertone of

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