Grief in Wuthering Heights

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Emily Bronte incorporates various types of grief into her writing in Wuthering Heights. This may be due to the conditions of many of her own experiences, or it may not, we cannot know. Regardless, the grief that is exhibited by the many different characters, differs for various reasons. The intense feelings of grief demonstrated in Wuthering Heights are most often insinuated by death. The ways in which characters relate to one another vary greatly, and also play a great role in determining the intensity of the sorrow felt by a character. Also, one's personality and capabilities can affect how he/she may feel about another's death. All of these are connected to the conditions in which a character was brought up and how he/she was living at the time of the tragedy, which also bears a large impact on the feelings of grief displayed.

For example, no one knows for sure where Heathcliff came from or how he lived before he came to Wuthering Heights as a child. We immediately learn that Heathcliff is different, and may perceive a mysterious persona about him. Which proves correct later in the book, because no other character's sorrow can compare to his, except maybe Catherine's. Heathcliff had an obsession. To him, Catherine was life. He did not want to live without her. Heathcliff came to Wuthering Heights as a child and grew up with Catherine always by his side, until Hindley returned. Therefore, his obsession began as a child. Because he grew used to having Catherine with him, as he grew older he never wanted to be separated from her. Hindley's forcing their separation probably only strengthened his passion for her, because once he couldn't be with her, he could only want it that much more. As I said before, we do not know what life was like for Heathcliff before he came to Wuthering Heights. We can only assume the worst because when old Mr. Earnshaw brought him back he told,

"...a tale of seeing it [Heathcliff] starving, and houseless, and as good as dumb, in the streets of Liverpool; where he picked it up and inquired for its owner. Not a soul knew to whom it belonged...he was determined he would not leave it as he found it." (33) So, Heathcliff, never having had anything in his life was brought to Wuthering Heights where he had a roof over his head, a warm bed, food in his belly, clothes on his back, and, Catherine. Part of his connection to her was probably because once he went from nothing to everything, and he didn't want to lose what he had. That's why he wanted so badly to always have her in his life and he held on so hard to the idealistic thought of always being with her. Before she married Edgar, she said,

" I've no more business to marry Edgar Linton than I have to be in Heaven; and if the wicked man in there [Hindley] had not brought Heathcliff so low, I shouldn't have thought of it. It would degrade me to marry Heathcliff now; so he shall never know how I love him: and that, not because he's handsome, Nelly, but because he's more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same; and Linton'‘s is as different as a moonbeam from lightning, or frost from fire." (75) This helps to illustrate how Catherine and Heathcliff's passion for one another is almost beyond comprehension. It is as if it is beyond this world. Catherine cannot marry Heathcliff because of his social status and because he cannot provide for her and she accuses Hindley of being the cause. Because they cannot marry, she chooses to marry Edgar because she loves, "his looks, and all his actions, and him entirely and altogether,"(73). When Heathcliff heard Catherine talking, he decides to leave. Whatever he does, he betters himself to the point where he can seek revenge on Hindley and all others who caused him to be so "low" to where it would have degraded Catherine to marry him. He basically wishes to punish those who made it so he and Catherine could not be together in this life. Yet, it is almost as if they already...
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