This is not because such an interpretation necessarily stiffens into a thesis (although rigidity in any interpretation of this or of any novel is always a danger), but because Wuthering Heights has recalcitrant elements of undeniable power that, ultimately, resist inclusion in an all-encompassing interpretation.

At first, I thought that the text bold was active, meaning

The elements of power don't want to include something in.

but later I found out that it has a passive meaning

The elements of power don't want to be included in something.

Then why did the author use "inclusion" instead of " "being included?" Isn't the latter more appropriate? Thanks.

  • You're misunderstanding "resist" here. We don't say that fire-resistant fabric doesn't "want" to be set alight - we say it's difficult to set it alight. In your case, it's difficult [for literary critics] to include those elements of power in an all-encompassing interpretation. It's entirely a stylistic choice whether to use the explicit noun inclusion or the "gerund" noun being included - the meaning is the same either way. Commented Feb 9, 2023 at 12:12

2 Answers 2


There is nothing inappropriate about sometimes using a noun instead of a verb.

After much discussion, we decided to... (sounds better than 'discussing it for a long time').

He was arrested for the murder of X (more formal than 'for murdering X').

The literary criticism you quote is a complex sentence, and the writer probably wanted to use as few words as possible to get their meaning across.


Yes, when one "resists inclusion", it is in general not clear whether that person resists his or her own inclusion or the inclusion of someone (or something) else. When one "resists being included", the former meaning is certainly intended. Therefore, your suggestion would make the sentence clearer. Nevertheless, what the author wrote is correct. It is also a bit more concise, although I can't say for sure why he or she chose that version.

  • Usually the semantics of the direct object would make it clear which form of inclusion is intended. E.g. a person can be included in a group of people, they can't include the group in themselves. We don't rely just on syntax.
    – Barmar
    Commented Feb 9, 2023 at 16:20
  • @Barmar Yes, that's why I wrote "in general". I agree that context can (and often does) clarify the meaning. Commented Feb 9, 2023 at 20:39
  • Maybe it's just an opinion, but I think it's rare that it's ambiguous. Inclusion doesn't usually go both ways.
    – Barmar
    Commented Feb 9, 2023 at 20:42

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