Wuthering Heights Heathcliffe Essay

Pages: 3 (959 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 0  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Family and Marriage

Wuthering Heights

Heathcliffe is a foundling, and his discovery by Mr. Earnshaw resembles the way a father might bring home a pet for his children. His single name (both first and last name) emphasizes the family's view of Heathcliffe as a pet. Indeed, Heathcliffe's status in the family becomes like that of an animal. The narrator states that Mr. Earnshaw took to "petting him up far above Cathy," (Chapter 4). His fate seems to be foreshadowed as soon as he is introduced, as he was named after a son "who died in childhood (Chapter 4). Heathcliffe is further dehumanized by the very fact that Mr. Earnshaw interferes in his fate and creates a childhood bereft of self-determination. Although his motive later is to exact revenge, Healthcliffe illustrates the personal struggle for self-determination, independence, and respect. The ways that children emerge from harmful childhood relational patterns is to detach completely from those unhealthy patterns, as Heathcliff does. However, Wuthering Heights also shows that children must always return to their houses of origin in the struggle to remake themselves in the context of more constructive relations.

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The character of Heathcliffe prepares the young man for hardship, and he endures because of inner strength. Heathcliffe was "sullen, patient child; hardened, perhaps, to ill-treatment," (Chapter 4). Ill-treatment was exactly what he would receive, as Hindley hated him and felt threatened by him. Hindley therefore becomes Heathcliffe's enemy, but it is not just Hindley that hardens Heathcliffe; it is Catherine. "Heathcliff bore his degradation pretty well at first," but later ceases to care for his appearance entirely (Chapter 6). Heathcliffe bears his hardships less gracefully. He lacks confidence when Catherine comes home, and he starts to resent the way the family treats him. "I shall not stand to be laughed at. I shall not bear it!" he shouts to Mr. Earnshaw (Chapter 7). Having been made into little more than a slave, Heathcliffe cannot help but be viewed as anything but a pet to Catherine even though she actually does admit eventually that she loves him.

Essay on Wuthering Heights Heathcliffe Is a Assignment

The person he loved and trusted the most essentially turns on him, driving Heathcliff into deeper despair. Catherine states, "My love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath: a source of little visible delight, but necessary. Nelly, I am Heathcliff!" (Chapter 9). Her romantic longings for Heathcliff never cause Catherine to challenge her prejudices toward him, or the social norms that relegate Heathcliff to a subordinate status. Ultimately, Catherine's love for Heathcliffe comes across as being little more than her love of an animal, as she exclaims, "He does not know what being in love is!" (Chapter 9). Heathcliff's departure from Wuthering Heights becomes necessary to maintain his personal dignity. He comes across as being much stronger and more dignified than any of the Earnshaws, as Heathcliff understands how to value human relationships. The upper class stratum values… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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