Conflict in Chapter 9 of Wuthering Heights Essay
Cathy’s personality changes throughout her life, mainly due to social status. Her social position causes misery and conflict especially when she decides to marry Edgar. The author, Emily Bronti??, wrote the main body of the novel as: Heathcliff is bought up into the Earnshaw family, a family who are not poor but do not act posh. There social status is not as high as Cathy desires, the Earnshaw daughter, Cathy, falls in love with Heathcliff, a scruffy gypsy boy of a lower status than them as he is an orphan. He has influenced Cathy to be boyish and scruffy like himself.
When Cathy meets Edgar it is in quite unromantic settings but gradually they agree to marry despite her love for Heathcliff. Cathy believes that Edgar can better her as around him she is lady-like and posh, she believes it will be better marrying Edgar as he has a high social position, is rich and is handsome (everything she desires), ”Why do you love him Miss Cathy? ‘… ‘Because he loves me. ” however she does not marry the man she truly loves as he can’t give her what she desires. ‘It would degrade me to marry Heathcliff. ‘ Throughout Emily Bronti??’s novel, Cathy’s personality constantly changes, not gradually but in extreme changes.
Throughout her childhood, Cathy has been influenced by a lower social status, to be wayward from girl hood but a happy and pleasant child. Nelly quotes in chapter 5, ‘a wild wick slip’, referring to Cathy. Since Cathy met Edgar her social status and personality has changed. She becomes spoilt, angry and a horrid person, her behaviour shows the reader that she is clean-cut and feminine due to her social status, ‘she dared hardly touch them lest they should fawn upon her splendid garments,’ but that has also changed her to be mean and self obsessed, ‘I’ll cry- I’ll cry myself sick! Later in Cathy’s life she marries Edgar and yet again her personality changes.
She is still spoilt and snobby but to the extremes and her personality changes to the extremes, maybe due to her high social status. As Cathy’s social status changes, her personality becomes worse. Bronti?? wrote wuthering heights in the 19th century when social class was of high priority so in the novel, wuthering heights, it contributes to Cathy’s desires.
Emily Bronti?? was a contrast of her character, Cathy, she was unsocial and reserved but yearned for the freedom of the moors, as she lived in the Yorkshire moors like her characters in ‘wuthering heights’, Cathy wants a high social position and her attitude to the Heights and the moors suggest that she should never have become part of the civilised world. In the 19th century not many women wrote novels as men were superior to women, society’s unwillingness to accept women as authors made Bronti?? publish her books under a male pseudonym and when they did write novels it would be Gothic Horror as that was the only genre people wrote about.
Gothic Horror consists of lonely building (wuthering heights), death (All the main characters), a tragic heroine, lots of description (weather, unwanted description), emotion (love and revenge), darkness (its always gloomy and there are not many happy times at either Wuthering Heights or Thrushcross Grange, twisted (incest) and a villain ( Heathcliff and Cathy). However, in ‘wuthering heights’ Cathy’s personality always reflects the moors, most of the time it’s gloomy, just like she is, whereas when she is happy with Heathcliff it is always sunny upon the moors.
Cathy’s Bronti?? has created Cathy’s character with different temperaments and personalities by the use of her language. During the novel Bronti?? has used the technique of using a name more than once, like Cathy. The use of the same name creates another personality for them, this can make the reader get a false perception of her at the start of the novel, and this can also make her character more complex. Until the truth unwinds the reader believes Cathy’s character is more complex with another personality; rude and disrespectful.
Social position in the 19th century was directly tied to possession of property, in ‘wuthering heights’ Cathy wants a high social position which makes he character seem greedy as she doesn’t opt for love but for security instead. In Chapter 9 Bronti??’s language suggests the elemental quality of their love and shows how clearly she understands her own feelings, ‘My love for Linton is like the foliage in the woods.
Time will change it, I’m well aware, as winter changes the trees- my love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath- a source of little visible delight, but necessary. ‘ Bronti?? also refers to elements in her writing when she shows the reader that the Earnshaw family are like storm and the Linton’s are calm, therefore Cathy has a strong personality with a bad temper which is reflected by her actions throughout her novel, her stormy personality suggests a reason for a lot of the misery in ‘wuthering heights’ (e. g. n chapter 9 when she looked for Heathcliff outside in the rain all night because he overheard her criticize him). Emily Bronti?? uses language techniques like the change of narrator, each narrator has a different way of telling things, Nelly is always very exaggerated in what she says and includes her opinions a lot, this is so the story is presented directly to the reader so that it is presented to the reader as a drama. There are eight narrators through the book: Ellen Dean, Lockwood, Heathcliff, Catherine, Zillah, Linton, Cathy and Isabella.
Before Cathy decides to marry Edgar in Chapter 9, she is influenced by Heathcliff character therefore scruffy, she likes to be with Heathcliff but when she meets Edgar the greed in her personality outstands the love which she has with Heathcliff. In the Yorkshire moors, where Emily Bronti?? lived, it was desolate and isolated but in her novel Cathy is presented with two people to love so in Chapter 9 it causes a lot of misery and conflict.
When Cathy is of a higher status than Heathcliff she has not changed towards him but he has changed towards her, Heathcliff begins keeping track of how much time she is spending with Edgar and how much time she is spending with him. When Edgar sees Cathy’s wild side, he is not impressed, ‘In an instant one was wrung free, and the astonished young man felt it applied over his own ear in a way that could not be mistaken for jest, He drew back in consternation.
This shows that Cathy begins to adopt a double character, behaving one way with Heathcliff and another with Edgar, neither Heathcliff nor Edgar like her other personality, this causes a lot of conflict between them especially when Cathy does not help Heathcliff’s jealousy in chapter 9 when she compliments Edgar but criticises Heathcliff, ‘It would degrade me to marry Heathcliff now’. Social class has effected Cathy’s decision in love; even though she did not love Edgar it still affected her love between Heathcliff as he believed she did love Edgar.
She married Edgar for the security and mainly the high social position and money he had, she also wanted to marry Edgar so that she could then in turn help Heathcliff, she wanted to help the most important person in her life, ‘If all else perished, and he remained, I should still continue to be; and if all else remained, and he were annihilated, the universe would turn to a mighty stranger: I should not seem a part of it… Nelly, I am Heathcliff! He’s always, always in my mind: not as a pleasure, any more than I am always a pleasure to myself, but as my own being.
Throughout ‘wuthering heights’ Cathy has made numerous decisions about her love life, her confusion between Heathcliff and Edgar changes her personality and eventually kills her. When conflict occurs between Heathcliff and Edgar, Cathy says that she is in no way blameable,’ I am in no way blameable in this matter’ but she also says something more ominous. She is so determined to have her own way that she is ready to die to get it, ‘I’ll try to break there hearts by breaking my own’. This shows that in conclusion to Cathy’s change in social status, she dies.
In chapter 9, Cathy’s social class was both low and high; it is at this time in ‘wuthering heights’ she decides to marry Edgar. It’s only after Cathy and Edgar get married that she has a high social position but her social position doesn’t change as drastically as her personality. Her social position is responsible. Cathy’s personality change causes a lot of misery within ‘wuthering heights’. It not only affects the relationships with Cathy but with relationships between other people, for example: Heathcliff and Edgar resent each other and Heathcliff and Isabella got married because he was on the rebound.
In conclusion, Cathy’s desire for social status plays a big part of her personality changes and her choice for social position is responsible for the misery and conflict within the novel but best showed to the reader in Chapter 9. It is clear that Cathy truly loves Heathcliff, ‘I am Heathcliff’, and tries to trick herself into thinking that it is best to marry Edgar and would help Heathcliff when in fact she is just fulfilling her own desires.
Cathy’s true personality is the one she grew up with: spoilt and greedy. This has effected her decisions and other peoples. Her spoilt personality has contributed to her death as she starved herself because she was greedy for love and couldn’t get her own way. Her death also contributed to Heathcliff’s extremely bitter character therefore to Linton Heathcliff’s death. Overall Cathy’s personality has caused a lot of misery and conflict within the novel even after she died.