Wuthering Heights

Wuthering Heights “Catherine Earnshaw, may you not rest as long as I am living” (Bronte, 163)! In this quote, Heathcliffs pain from Catherines death is obvious. Wuthering Heights is a Victorian novel regarding the lives of the Earnshaws and Lintons. Through three generations, they all experience wave after wave of tragedy all originating with Heathcliffs overwhelming desire for revenge against the Lintons. This hatred is brought on by the treatment Heathcliff receives from the Lintons as well as Edgar Lintons marriage to Catherine, his soul mate. Although many passages of love are exposed in Wuthering Heights, the true genre of this book is tragedy due to the role of characters other than Heathcliff, the untraditional happy ending, and the death of the heroine early in the story. The role of several characters makes this novel a tragedy.

Hindley, Hareton, Cathy, and Linton would be completely unneeded if this were a true love story. Hindley becomes Heathcliffs Nemesis from the very beginning. He is cruel and hateful towards Heathcliff. “He [Hindley] drove him [Heathcliff] from their company to the servants, deprived him of the instructions of the curate, and insisted that he should labour out of doors instead, compelling him to do so as hard as any other lad on the farm” (Bronte, 49). Hareton is also unessential to a love between Catherine and Heathcliff.

Hareton is Hindleys son and is treated like a slave, much the way Heathcliff was treated as a boy by Hindley. At one point, Heathcliff, talking to Nelly, describes what is in store for Hareton, “I know what he suffers now, for instance, exactly; it is merely a beginning of what he shall suffer, though””(Bronte, 211). Hareton and Cathys love does make for a reconciliation of all this tragedy. However, it is after the majority of the book and therefore does not negate the previous misfortune. Linton is a pathetic boy who only brings disgust and general pity to the book. Through the book, Linton is very sick.

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In this scene, Cathy has come to pay him a visit, “..trembling, and retaining her hand as if he needed its support, while his large blue eyes wandered timidly over her, the hollowness round them transforming to haggard wildness the languid expression they once possessed” (Bronte, 249). None of these characters are heroic or essential to the love between Catherine and Heathcliff. The only possible heroic figure is Heathcliff who is evil and rotten. Furthermore, this novel does not have a traditional love story ending. Nearly the entire key characters die and most before the book is halfway over. In the first half, Heathcliff and Catherine are soul mates, yet she marries another. To the last day of her life, they argue and blame each other for their unhappiness.

In their last moments together, Heathcliff berates Catherine for the pain she has caused him. “I have not broken your heart you have broken it; and in breaking it, you have broken mine” (Bronte, 158). True love is not selfish and does not blame. Even after Catherine is dead, the love between Cathy and Linton is very shallow. It is not a true love story because of his apathy towards her.

“His lack of interest in the subjects she stated, and his equal incapacity to contribute to her entertainment, were so obvious, that she could not conceal her disappointment” (Bronte, 249). Also, Heathcliff forced them to marry. The only sense of a love story is at the very end when Hareton and Cathy are seen as a happy couple. But, this too was plagued by Cathys ridicule of him, “Oh, you dunce” (Bronte, 239)! Also, this was plagued by his maltreatment of her, “I was afraid for a moment, and I let one volume fall; he kicked it after me and shut us out” (Bronte, 240). Even though all seems well in the end, this is not a typical romance.

Additionally, our heroine dies early in the novel. She is consumed with brain fever and never recovers. Her love for Heathcliff is only apparent during the childhood years. Selfishness and anger overwhelm any feelings of love she has toward him as an adult. With her gone and half the book remaining, it is impossible to continue with any type of love story between them. In fact, Heathcliff spends the rest of his life eaten with anger and anger does not breed love. He is even angry towards Catherine because she married Edgar instead of following her heart.

“Why did you betray your own heart, Cathy? I have not one word of comfort” (Bronte, 158). Their love is, in fact a tragedy, because it is a spiritual, rather than physical love and they are only truly united after their deaths. There seem to be no feelings of happiness related to any feelings of love between Heathcliff and Catherine. Conclusively, the love that is in this novel is not a pure love. Everyone is full of anger, hate, and resentment. It is difficult to classify this novel as a love story because it is not happy.

It is apparent that because of the additional characters of Hindley, Hareton, Cathy, and Linton, as well as the uncommon ending, and the early death of our heroine, this novel should be classified as a tragedy.

Wuthering Heights

The intensity of feeling between Catherine and Heathclif defies family barriers imposed by Catherine’s brother ,Hindley after their father’s death. Heathcliff was ill-treated by Hindley after the death of the old Earnshaw: He drove him from their company to the servants, deprived him of the instructions of the curate He bore his degradation pretty well at first, because Cathy taught him what she learnt, and work or play with him in the fields. They both promised fair to grow up as rude as savages, the young master being entirely negligent how they behave, and what they did, so they keep clear of him and the after punishment grew a mere thing to laugh at. The crute might set as many chapters as he pleased for Catherine to get by heart, and Joseph might thrash Heathcliff till his arm ached, they forget everything the minute they were together again. (Pg 44) Thus, it is clearly obvious that since childhood their feeling for each other defies all the family barriers imposed on them. No outside force would be strong enough to eclipse their emotions. Even when she grows old enough for the question of marriage to arise, Catherine’s relationship with Heathcliff remains much as it was when they were children. The way the two spirit intertwined are clearly illustrated in Catherine’s speech below: My great miseries in this world have been Heathcliff”s miseries; my great thought in living is himself. If all else perish, and he remained, I should still continue to be; and if all else remained, and he were annihilated, the Universe would turn to 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, I’m 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-He’s always in my mind-not as a pleasure, any more than I am always a pleasure to myself-but, as my own being-so, don’t talk of our separation again-it is impracticable Catherine loves both Heathcliff and Edger Linton on different basis-She loves Linton because he is handsome, and pleasant, and young, and cheerful, and rich, and loves her. Her love for Heathcliff is a must: it is the deepest impulse of her nature, it is “necessary”. Through her feeling for Heathcliff, Catherine discovers her own identity, her place in the world-as he does through her. Though Catherine realizes she has more in common with Heathcliff than with Litton, (Both are “fire” to Litton’s “frost”) nevertheless, she decides to marry Linton. Her decision is explained as: And he will be rich, and I shall like to be the greatest woman of the neighborhood, and I shall be proud of having such a husband. (pg. 78) It would degradme to marry Heathcliff. if Heathcliff and I married, we should be beggers..(pg 81) In choosing to marry Linton instead of Heathcliff, and become the lady of Thrushcross Grange, where nature has been tamed, accommodated to the values of good taste and orders, Catherine has betrayed her own heart. Catherine decides to marry Linton but reluctant to forsake Heathcliff: Every Linton on the face of the earth might melt into nothing, before I could consent to forsake Heathcliff. Oh, that’s not what I intend-that’s not what I mean! He’ll be as much to me as he has been all his lifetime. Edger must shake off his antipathy, and tolerate him, at least.(Pg. 81) If I married Linton, I can aid Heathcliff to rise, and place him out of my brother’s power. (Pg. 81) This is her attitude towards marriage. She is deeply in love with Heathcliff but married Edger Linton with a motive. Even when she was married to Linton her extremely intense form of friendship with Heathcliff still persists. She is unfaithful to her husband by meeting with Heathcliff . On the other hand, Heathcliff also tries to work out to meet her .This extramarital relationship between them clearly has violate the social norms of her society in the Victorian age.


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