How Does Bronte Use This Extract to Reveal the Characters of Edgar and Heathcliff? What Methods Does Bronte Use to Reveal the Anguish of Heathcliff?

Topics: Wuthering Heights, Catherine Earnshaw, Love Pages: 7 (2822 words) Published: April 7, 2011
The extract that begins “At about 12 o’clock” and ends “I cannot live without my soul” focuses on the aftermath of Catherine’s death and how each character is effected, especially Heathcliff and Edgar Linton. This extract could be seen as being the turning point in the novel, as from here onward the change in both Heathcliff and Edgars characters are particularly noticeable, the woman that bound the two men together and gave them both so much happiness as well as sorrow is now gone.

In the given extract Bronte uses the mournful time to reveal the true characteristics of both Edgar and Heathcliff. They are stripped down to just personality and character which allows the reader to get a much better understanding and idea of what the two are really like. As well as just simply revealing the characters of Heathcliff and Edgar, through subtle reinforcement by Nelly, Bronte reveals how Catherine and she feel about the two men and it becomes clear who both women favour. The beginning of the extract tells the reader the time of Catherine’s death “About 12 o’clock, that night, was born the Catherine you saw at Wuthering Heights...and two hours after the mother died” the time marker helps set in the readers mind a desperate and sad scene but also of new life. 12 o’clock not only marks a new day but a new life also. Nelly goes on to tell Lockwood how Catherine never regained enough consciousness to “Miss Heathcliff or know Edgar” Nelly puts Heathcliff first, insinuating that is what Catherine would do, always put Heathcliff before Edgar. She also uses the verb “miss” to describe the emotion Catherine would have been feeling before death, whilst she only says that she was too ill to know Edgar, highlighting that even Nelly was able to detect, to a certain extent, how strong Heathcliff and Catherine’s bond was. If a person were to begin reading the book from the beginning of this extract they would become very aware of the unspoken bond between Catherine Linton and Heathcliff. The extract shows Nelly telling Lockwood how she planned to go and tell Heathcliff the news of Catherine’s death, when really this was futile as Heathcliff already knew. Throughout the novel the idea of Heathcliff and Catherine’s soul as being one is reinforced, for example it is mentioned previously of their souls being one, when Catherine says to Nelly, “Nelly I am Heathcliff,” and in this extract when Heathcliff shouts “I cannot live without my life! I cannot live without my soul!” His life and soul is Catherine, he cannot live if half of him is dead, supporting why it was Heathcliff that confirmed with Nelly that Catherine was dead, he knew before she even told him. Bronte wants to declare to the reader that the bond that Catherine and Heathcliff share goes way beyond anything physical or sexual, their relationship and love for one another is so encompassing and real that it will go beyond this world and the next, their passion for one another is so great and Heathcliff demonstrates this very clearly in the extract, how passionate he can be. In the extract Heathcliff is given a greater amount of dialogue and description concerning the death of Catherine than Edgar. From the sheer structure of the extract the reader is able to identify who the most important character was to Catherine and how the character is feeling after the death. Heathcliff is shown to be completely grief stricken as Bronte begins with “He was there – at least a few yards further in the park; leant against an old ash tree, his hat off, and his hair soaked with the dew that had gathered on the budding branches…” Bronte uses a lot of natural lexis here to describe how Nelly found Heathcliff, ‘park’, ‘ash tree’, ‘dew’, ‘budding branches’, by doing this Bronte creates the image of life going on, even after Catherine has died life will still continue and here is the proof, the newly budding branches, however she opens the text with ‘He was there’ and then a hyphen, the dash separates...
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