Catherine Earnshaw as a Typical Nineteenth Century Heroine

Topics: Wuthering Heights, Marriage, Catherine Earnshaw Pages: 2 (711 words) Published: June 11, 2011
“Cathy is a typical 19th century heroine.”
With reference to appropriately selected parts of the novel and relevant contextual information, give your response to the above view.

Nineteenth century English heroines acted within their social environment as their roles within civilisation saw them becoming a good wives and mothers and before that, kind and caring daughters. Their path in life was to care for their family and to provide support for the head of the household. A typical woman in Victorian times would have been completely dependent on the men in their lives, their father in childhood and husband in marriage. They needed the financial support as they could not work for themselves and all inheritance went to their husband. The women would also marry for convenience and class and in this sense Cathy is a typical 19th century heroine as she married Edgar Linton because he was “handsome … and he will be rich” she also said that Edgar would make her “the greatest woman of the neighbourhood” which proves that Cathy married him, not out of love but because of the social benefits he would bring her. Women in Victorian novels and real-life society were always physically weak, controlled and looked after by men and not passionate but, while Cathy did marry Edgar to look after her, she is not portrayed as a physically weak character as she can assert her authority and she was a very wild and untamed as a child and she is certainly not impassionate. All throughout the novel, passion is one of the strongest things that strike us in Cathy and Heathcliffs love and this is probably one of the reasons 19th century critics found it very shocking. As the ‘Atlas’ said “Wuthering Heights is a strange, inartistic story. We know nothing in the whole range of our fictitious literature which presents such shocking pictures of the worst forms of humanity.” A typical Victorian woman would generally been seen as strong if she had strong maternal feelings and a lot of Dickens’...
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