Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Senior Honors Thesis

Department or School

English Language and Literature


This project is a comparison of Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights (1847) and Richard Wright's Native Son (1940). The discussion begins with how these novels should be considered within the field of postcolonial studies, although they do not fit the traditional definition of its branches of postcolonialism and imperialism. An ideological leaning can be seen in a social hierarchy that casts the Lintons and the Daltons as the elite. The systematic failure of religion, law, and education also ensures the stability of this status quo. The conventions of gothic literature merge with this effort in representing the "hybridity" or "abject" natures of Heathcliff and Bigger Thomas; these protagonists are cast as gothic monsters figures that exposes the postcolonial/imperial "fantasy" of social fears, rather than their true selfhood. Ultimately the novels illustrate the colonization of identity which occurs.