Nelly, I Am Heathcliff

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"Nelly, I am Heathcliff" – With this unusually leading statement, Catherine Earnshaw is able to profess her love for Heathcliff, the outcast and rugged villain of the novel Wuthering Heights. However, not only is this just a declaration of love, this statement also allows Emily Brontë to open a door to a world of much wider and deeper issues. She raises the idea of how there can be no place for one's true and authentic self in this over-civilised, bourgeois nineteenth century world, and depicts both Cathy and Heathcliff as being outside society to demonstrate this concept. The statement also implies that Cathy is more than just in love with Heathcliff, they are in fact so close that their very souls have become entwined allowing them to become part of each other. This notion is carefully charted by Brontë during the course of the novel.

From the very beginning of the novel there is an ecstatic chemistry between Cathy and Heathcliff that fails to waver throughout the story. During their numerous, playful adventures and ramblings on the moors surrounding Wuthering Heights, they are at ease with their natural personalities and over a short period of time develop a unique and steady bond. Nelly Dean illustrates them as being "very thick" , so much so that the mischievous duo have to be parted by Mr. Earnshaw to keep them from becoming a nuisance.

It becomes evident that the pair is somehow outside this plush, clichéd nineteenth century society when they both express their disdain for the Linton children while watching them in violent dispute over a puppy through a window at Thrushcross Grange. Viewing their argument as being petty and stupid they "laughed at the petted things" , suggesting that they would not wish to be a part of their civilised world.

We get an indication that Cathy and Heathcliff are one in the same when Hindley punishes Heathcliff for retaliating to and insult aimed at him by young Edgar Linton by tossing a dish of hot apple sauce at him....
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