Wuthering Heights

Wuthering Heights In the novel, Whuthering Heights, Emily Bronte has created one of the most controversial novel in the 19th century.

Bronte has written a novel that contains many views of complex ideas. Revenge and love revenge are examples of such. The main theme of revenge is protared through the character of Heathcliff. Heathcliff is also part of the theme of love accompanied by that of Cathy. The other half of the love theme is shown throught the actions of Hearton and Catherine.The intertwineing of the ideas of revenge and love prove to give Heathcliff a distored vision of love and Cathy a need for such a love that only Heathcliff can give to her. Where as Catherine and Hearton, the second generation, learn from the experiences of the earlier generation that lived at Wuthering Heights.

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The first memories Heathcliff has of life at Wuthering Heights is that of being unequal. Hindley showed no other act to him but cruelty. Hindleys brutality, tyranny, and murderous violence far outdo anything of which Heathcliff can be cused on the evidence (Langman 143). The theme of revenge grows from the treatment Heathcliff recieves from is Hindley. His prime motivation is love , or to be more precise the lack of love. He decides to persecute Heathcliff , because he feels this later has usurped his position in his father s love.He refuses to allow the curate to continue Heathcliffs education and forces the still very young boy to work as a farm-hand. Here is one of the first exaples of idea of revenge when Heathcliff says: “I dont care how long I wait , if I can only doe it , at last (Bronte 47).

” Heathcliffs violence and cruelty are by contrast are not random and irresponsible, they are a willed. He has certain goals- power, money, a triumph over the circumstances and agents of his former humiliation- and he uses force and deceit to reach them (Langman 143). The event that was crucial in driving away Heatchcliff was Cathys decision to marry Linton, in which she says: “Ive no more business to marry Edgar Linton than I have to be in Heaven; and if the wicked man in there had not brought Heathcliff so low, I shouldnt have thought of it. It would degrade me to marry Heatchcliff now (Bronte 63);” While witnessing this speech he become outraged and runs away from Wuthering Heights.While away, Heathcliff transforms himself into a gentleman, in hopes of getting back Catherine. Upon returning to Wuthering heights, he discovers that Catherine has married Edgar, the plan of revenge grows from that idea of the loss of Cathy. The first part of the plan involves getting back at Edgar, the man who singularly took away his happiness, and then to commit suicide.

The moment Cathernines ardent welcome proves she still loves him, however, he abandons this plan and adopts another – that of taking up residence again at Wuthering Heights in order to be once more in her vicinity (Hagan 146). The reasoning behind this is to try once more to gain back the love of Catherine. The third part of the plan deal with the the hopes of becoming master of the Heights and the Grange.This is done to take revenge against all of the Earnshaws and the Lintons collectively. This final act of revenge is the marriage of Cathy and his son Linton: “Mr. Heathcliff, you have nobody to love you: and, however miserable you make us, we still have the revenge of thinking that your cruelty arises from your greater misery!(Bronte 218)” This union completed the journey of revenge for Heathcliff.

With that union Heathcliff gains control of Thrushcroft Grange. This great passion in the need for revenge an administering acts of cruelty help the reader to in understanding his basis of emotions.This explains the misunderstood definition of love he understands. Which I will now discuss is love between Heathcliff and Cathy. Love is expressed in two entiresly different ideas. The first type of love is that kind that occures between Heathcliff and Cathy, which a kind of love definded by that of need. The secondly type is that of Hareton and Catherine, this type of love is more of a true type of love.

Barbara Prentis, author of The Brote Sister and George Eliot, thinks that the ideas of love expressed by the characters are in fact, reflected not by Brontes own life because “this girl seeked no comfort in earth, no husband, no lover, no close companionship, could write of these things in poetry and her novel with such integrity and conviction”(99).The first type of love is referred to by other authors as mythical, inhuman, a love of suffering, and that of a tragic love. The first example of this oneness type of felling for love occurs when Cathy says: “Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same (Bronte 62).” This lead way to one of the most influential speeches made by Cathy about her feelings toward Heathcliff. In which she states: “If all else perished, and he remained, and he were annihilated, the universe would turn to a mighty stranger: I should not seem a part of it. My love for Linton is like the foliage in the woods: time will change it, Im well aware, as winter changes the trees. My love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath: a source of little visible delight, but necessary.

Nelly, I am Heathcliff. Hes always, always in my mind: not as a pleasure, any more than I am always pleasure to myself, but as my own being.So dont talk of our separation again: it is impracticable…(Bronte 63-64).” “This declaration of Cathys feelings is an endeavor not so much to convey the strength as to define the nature of her love, and so to win a recognition from Nell (and, in a sense, from the reader) of it value (Langman 141).” In which she has defined her feeling toward Heathcliff and Linton in describing the different basis of her feelings.

She explains she must love him, that it is part of her nature. “Through her feeling toward Heathcliff, Catherine discovers her own identity, her place in the world – as he does through her (Langman 141).” These ideas she expresses explain to us the felling of the deepest kind of passion she knows and that it is part of her being. This is a love which longs for a soul unity with the beloved.

Another example of this love occurs in the last meeting between Heathcliff and Cathy.In which she continues to feel the actal love that Heathcliff encompasses for her. Cathy says: “.. and should a word of mine distress you hearafter, think I feel the same distress underground, and for my own sake, forgive me!.. Nay, if you nurse you anger, that will be worse to remember that my harsh words! ..

.Oh you see, Nelly! He would not relent a moment to keep me out of the grave! That is how I am loved (Brote 123-124)!” She is confessing that she is going to die. She is also taunting with the image of himself visiting her grave with is wife and children. She questions that who will ever love now that she is gone.

Wuthering Heights


. ost of their time in because of its warmth and comfort. Catherine tries to pass time in her room, in order to avoid him, but it is too cold. When she realizes that she will be forced to spend her time in the kitchen with Hareton she decides that it might as well be pleasant. She gives him her favorite book and offers to teach him how to read it.

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Hareton accepts her offer, and the two eventually become good friends. Heathcliff meanwhile, is still mourning the loss of his original love, Catherine. He bribes the local gravedigger to move Edgar’s body and bury his own next to hers when he dies.

He persuades his faithful servant Joseph to make sure that these arrangements are fulfilled. Heathcliff also professes his belief that the dead are never settled and that their souls wander the earth.He claims to have been visited by Catherine’s ghost many times. He says that he sees her image in everything, from travelers on the road to the surrounding landscape. Heathcliff is eager to join her and goes on a hunger strike. Heathcliff becomes happier the sicker and weaker he gets. He dies and his wish is granted, he is buried between Catherine and Edgar.Heathcliff’s property is passed on to its rightful owner, Hareton.

He and Catherine are married and live happily together until they die. Most of the story, up to Linton’s death, is a narrative told by Catherine’s nurse, Ellen Dean. It is told to a traveler named Mr. Lockwood. Lockwood has moved from a big city to the rural moorlands and is renting Thrushcross Grange from Heathcliff.

The very beginning and end of the story are told by Lockwood. He was disappointed with the rude way he was treated by Heathcliff upon his arrival at Wuthering Heights and was tempted to leave a few days later but became ill, and was forced to stay in bed at Thrushcross Grange. He persuaded Ellen to tell him the history of his landlord and his mysterious family while he was recovering. She then tells him the story of love and hatred between the Earnshaws and Lintons.

Lockwood observes firsthand everything that happens after Linton’s death.A very small portion of the novel is also told by a letter from Isabella to Ellen, describing the tense relationship between Hindley and Heathcliff. Love sets the stage for conflict in the novel. Catherine’s love for Edgar concerns with superficial things.

It is a love for a young, handsome, wealthy personality. It is a love formed in a society where income and status also have a place in the quality of life.2 His social and financial position make it easy for her to fall in love with him.

Her love for Heathcliff was not based on material things, at the time she felt love for him he had nothing to give to her. It looks as much like hate as love.They are violent to each other. She even pulls out some of Heathcliff’s hair. Ellen remarks that they seem to be more like animals than humans. It is a relationship that is concerned with a breaking through beyond the self.3 I feel that their love was about discovering themselves and each other.

Heathcliff becomes angry when she chooses Edgar’s love over his own and runs away, trying to make himself a person that can offer the same qualities as Edgar. The two men quarrel upon his return, adding to the hatred that they feel for each other.The men try to pass this hatred down to their children, Catherine and Linton. The two young cousins do not understand why they were expected to feel this hatred. They were instead very much interested in each other.

As the children grew up they fell in love. Heathcliff and Edgar would not accept this.They both forbade their children form seeing each other. This is where the conflict between parents and children develop. Linton, the weak child, can do nothing to protest Heathcliff’s refusal to let him see Catherine because he lives in fear of his father.

He does not agree with him but lacks courage and strength to let Heathcliff know how he truly feels. Catherine is much more passionate. She tries to appeal to her father and begs him to let her visit Linton.When he refuses she sneaks out of the house to visit her cousin and she also sends him letters, which are secretly delivered by the dairy boy. When Edgar realizes that he is being deceived he completely cuts off all contact between the cousins. The two men forbid their children from seeing each other because of a hatred that developed between them over a woman that they both loved.

The woman died giving birth to Catherine and before Linton was even born so the two young lovers never even met the person who their fathers were quarreling over. I do not feel that this conflict would arise in the same fashion today.I feel that parents today would not keep their children from being friends because of a conflict that happened between them before their children were born. Parents should discuss in detail how they feel about other people’s children with their own kids. These parents should not be able to simply prohibit their children from associating with other people.

Children today have so much more power to reason with their parents than they did in the 18th and 19th centuries. Now we are expected to voice our opinions and concerns about a particular subject.In those times children were expected to accept whatever their parents told them, no questions asked. Today even if parents tried to keep their children away from someone there are so many things kids can do to bypass their parents’ wishes.

We have so many methods of communication today that the children of Wuthering Heights never had the luxury of using. Catherine could not call Wuthering Heights from Thrushcross Grange on the telephone and speak to Linton. She could not send him a private e-mail over the Internet.We take the privacy of these forms of communicating for granted. Children interact at school and extracurricular activities everyday. I feel that children would be able to settle a conflict like this today very easily.

It does not take much effort to communicate anymore, even over long distances. Children would take the matter into their own hands, like Catherine did, and if they think and act carefully there is not much parents can do to stop them.The conflicts that arose between parents and children in Wuthering Heights would not arise today, mainly because of how different and accepting society is today than it was during 18th and 19th century England. Bibliography Allott, Miriam, Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights, London, Macmillan, 1970. Bloom, Harold (ed.

), Modern Critical Views: The Brontes, New York, Chelsea House, 1987. Bronte, Emily, Wuthering Heights, New York, the Penguin Group, 1995. Gregor, Ian (ed.), The Brontes, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, Prentice Hall, 1970.

Kanigel, Robert, Vintage Reading, Baltimore, Bancroft Press, 1998.English Essays.


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