Wuthering Heights Quotes and Essay points
With reference to Catherine’s death-
Edgar: ‘subject too painful to be dwelt on’ Heathcliff: ‘dashing his head against a knotted tree.’ Edgar responds more rationally, which could be a product of his upbringing and social class. His sadness is quiet and reserved much like his love for Catherine which never seems to be able to compete with Heathcliff’s love for her. Heathcliff has a violent despair which could also be linked to his shadowy upbringing- his background is unknown before he is adopted by the Earnshaws. He is never given a secure social status which is reflected with his expressive and dramatic sadness. It suggests he is a loose wire with no self control.
Edgar’s grief is in the bounds of Thrushcross Grange whilst Heathcliff remains outside, ‘He was there- at least a few yards further in the park;’. This could reflect their personalities; Edgar as an introvert and Heathcliff as an extrovert. Edgar watches over the coffin ‘a silent guardian’ whilst Heathcliff gives into convention and is forced outside. He grieves on the moors where he and Catherine were happiest. Thrushcross Grange could be taken to represent Catherine’s coffin as the love between her and Heathcliff died with her decision to marry Edgar. The physical distance between the couple reflecting upon their emotional distance. Her coffin is said to be open-topped and strewn with flowers which suggests vulnerability; once she is buried she will be exposed to the harsh weather of the moors. Pathetic fallacy is used in this way throughout the novel to presage the negativity associated with future events. Edgar is capable of containing his emotion unlike Heathcliff who shows ‘ungovernable passion’ The death of Catherine ends their lives as they know them.
Edgar’s appearance is ‘almost as deathlike as Catherine’, his countenance of a typical mourner, he could be in denial, although it could be argued that his state reflected a feeling of relief. During Edgar’s married life he was constantly subject to his wife’s openly unconditional love towards Heathcliff- a measure of affection he could never compete with. With her death they became free of the destructive feelings they were harbouring. Heathcliff is described as a ‘savage beast’ which suggests he has been rejected from society.
Edgar is described as ‘fair’ which juxtaposes Heathcliff’s darkness; and although this description evokes ideas involving tranquillity, compassion and romance, the love between Catherine and Edgar appears to have very little substance. This questions traditional views on love at the time the novel was written; as Bronte infused elements of gothic and romantic literature and created the tempestuous relationship between Catherine and Heathcliff. Wuthering Heights combines these elements in an epic romantic novel unlike any other, and in some aspects, rewriting, and giving an ominous feel to the connotation of the word love. The Anguish of Heathcliff-
Heathcliff lashes out at a tree when he learns of Catherine’s death; this act of physical violence shows his internal torment and his inability to voice his emotions as they are far too powerful. His speech is confused, lacks concentration and is fractured.
He refers to Catherine as ‘Catherine Earnshaw’ rather than Linton. This could be a denial of her marriage to Edgar, knowing that the love they shared was stronger and had more significance in Catherine’s life. He knew their love although physically prevented, would survive Catherine’s death.
Heathcliff calls upon Catherine to haunt him; this can be linked to chapter 3 where Catherine appears to Lockwood, at the window. This shows they have a spiritual connection- Heathcliff does not need to be told of Catherine’s death, he already knows. This again, can be linked to Catherine’s speech in chapter 6, ‘I am Heathcliff’ whereas Heathcliff refers to her as ‘his life, his soul.’
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