The Edge…There is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are ones who have gone over.” - Hunter S. Thompson.
Explore the presentation of the troubled mind in Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights and the poetry of John Keats, with illuminating reference to Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.
“The Edge” described by Hunter S. Thompson is, he says, unexplainable. What seems clear is that ‘the Edge’ is at the limit of the human mind. It can’t be explained, Thompson says, because the only people who ‘really know where it is’ are the ones who ‘have gone over’ it, those who have died or else never returned to ‘reality’ and ‘sanity’. Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights, the poetry of John Keats, and
…show more content…
In one sense, Thompson presents ‘the Edge’ as a danger, as a fall that the mind can’t return from. At the same time, his description contains an atmosphere of mystery and invitation; it tempts us to move towards the edge since we might experience new things along this uncertain journey into a new area. With these two opposing sides the edge is presented as an in-between space, between the potential of exciting new experience on the one hand, and the risk of falling off into madness or death on the other. For example, the childhood relationship between Cathy and Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights reflects this double edge. In one way it transgresses the social norms of the time, trying to open up new possibilities instead, and in another, as the pair are forcefully separated, the boundaries that their relationship temporarily overcomes are rebuilt even stronger, acting as a punishment for this transgression that troubles their minds. Bronte’s book was attacked by contemporary reviewers and described negatively as “coarse”, perhaps because it threatened existing categories, for example race, class and gender, shattering Victorian values. After he is rescued from the streets of Liverpool, Heathcliff is described as a ‘dirty, ragged, black-haired child’ who is ‘as dark almost as if [he] came from the devil’. His description is