Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in English (MA)

Degree Level





Sean Dempsey

Committee Member

Mary Beth Long

Second Committee Member

Dorothy Stephens


British Literature, Emily Brontë, Nineteenth Century Religion and Literature, Wuthering Heights


“Losing Faith: Emily Brontë’s Revolutionized Religion” discusses the role of religion in her novel Wuthering Heights and her poems set in the mythical world of Gondal. Through close readings of both her prose and poetry, this paper seeks to understand the relationship between the dark, vindictive nature of Brontë’s characters and their hopeful ending. The first chapter, Here’s The Situation, discusses the situation as set up by the novel, focusing specifically on Catherine and Heathcliff. I discuss the violence and codependence of their relationship, their Gondal predecessors, their fascination with each other as well as their torment when apart, and the hell they create for themselves, and the characters themselves. Ultimately, this chapter answers the question: Who are Cathy and Heathcliff? And how do they effect the religion I describe? The second chapter, The Mediations, discusses the environment, both within the novel and without, which shaped these characters, looking at Haworth, England, as well as the churches, nature, and secondary characters in the novel. These things serve as mediators between the couple and their Higher Power. The third and final chapter, Another Way, discusses what we’re left with at the novel’s close, examining Catherine and Hareton in the wake of the first generation’s passing. Born into a strange new world where God has already fallen, the second generation learns to live in this new world and, thereby, thrive.