Heathcliff and Catherine Relationship Explication

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Sally Mikhlin
English III Honors/E Block
Mr. Cormier
May 17, 2012
Wuthering Heights Explication Chapter 15
Although throughout the novel Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë different aspects of Catherine and Heathcliff’s relationship appear, it is not until the moments before Catherine’s death that defining traits of their love truly surface through Heathcliff and Catherine interaction. Catherine’s dialogue and Heathcliff’s actions suggest that in their love they experience violence and struggles for dominance. Heathcliff “knelt on one knee to embrace her” after reuniting with the sickly Catherine. Heathcliff’s action of kneeling suggests his submission towards Catherine, much like a servant required to kneel in front of royalty. When Heathcliff attempts to rise, Catherine “seized his hair, and kept him down”. The use of the word “seize”, having an undertone of aggression, force and possession, suggest the idea that Catherine is the only character that can fully dominate Heathcliff. She does not grasp any of his limbs, but rather the hair on his head, creating a successful form of domination entailing him to struggle greatly to be free from her grip. As Catherine successfully forces Heathcliff to submit to her, Heathcliff yields. If any other character attempted to dominate him, he would lash out immediately and aggressively. Catherine’s violent action appears to feel natural and expected to Heathcliff for he does not react initially. In an effort for raise himself, Heathcliff, with “inadequate . . . gentleness” grasps Catherine’s arm and leaves “four distinct impressions” in her skin. Heathcliff grabs Catherine aggressively although she is sickly and nearly dying. Instead of describing Heathcliff clutch Catherine’s arm using a phrase with negative connotation such “with aggressive force”, Brontë uses “gentleness”. With “gentleness” Brontë provides Heathcliff with a tender side that is mostly unknown to the characters and the readers even though the...
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