Discuss Bronte’s Presentation of Love in the Classic Novel Wuthering Heights Essay
The God of Love. Always painted as winged youth, slight but beautiful, often with eyes covered to symbolize the blindness of love. The saying love is blind sums up the unconventional relationship of Heathcliff and Catherine which provides the foundation for the gothic love story Wuthering Heights. Emily Bronte used her surroundings as the scenery for the novel, as she along with the characters in the novel live on the spooky and beautiful moors of Yorkshire.
She denied the conventions of her time by writing a novel indulging in the less Godly side of life, e.
g. Abuse, incest, death, the supernatural, and passion. She entwines these subjects, (shunned by other writers in her era), and many more to produce one of the greatest novels of all time.
Her novel revolves around love. Many different types are represented in Wuthering Heights, making this novel applicable to a wide audience. But why does Bronte do this? Does each relationship have some significance in their diversity? Are the relationships different to provide contrast within the story? The answers to these questions and many more can be understood by discussing Bronte’s presentation of love in the classic novel Wuthering Heights.
The monster of the moors, with a temper like thunder is even hit by cupids’ arrow. Compared with other relationships like Edgar Linton and Catherine, Heathcliffs’ provides the most passion and heartache. This is perhaps the most unanticipated relationship throughout the whole book, as when Mr Earnshaw brings Heathcliff home as an orphaned beggar boy from the industrial city of Liverpool Catherine resents the child,’showed her humour by grinning and spitting at the stupid little thing..
.’Catherine and Hindley thought themselves a lot better than the child at the time,’They entirely refused to have it in bed with them…
‘Hence they call Heathcliff ‘it’ as if he is some kind of animal or lesser than man. It is only Mr Linton who really held any compassion for the boy. Heathcliff was hated by Hindley as Mr Earnshaw treated him as his favourite.’.
..and petting him up far above Cathy who was too mischievous and wayward for a favourite.’However the fact that Mr and Mrs Earnshaw named him Heathcliff shows that they saw him as special from the very start as the name Heathcliff,’was the name of a son who had died in childhood’Doing something like this is equivalent of being given a title like King or prince as it means that Mr Earnshaw feels that Heathcliff is special enough to fulfil his dead sons role in the family, maybe now Mr Earnshaw feel that the family is complete all due to Heathcliff.
Yet against the odds Catherine and Heathcliff became friends,’Miss Cathy and he were now very thick…’and slowly their friendship progressed they became like soul mates rather than loversThe novel is swamped with evidence of this’She was much too fond of Heathcliff.
The greatest punishment he could invent for her was to keep her separate from him.”I am Heathcliff – he’s always, always on my mind – not as a pleasure, any more than I am always, a pleasure to myself – but as my own being…
”Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.’However in some ways this is contradictory as when she gets back from her spell at the Linton’s residence, Thrushcross Grange she is a new person. She assumes a new position in the Wuthering Heights. She is a much changed woman.
‘… a wild, hatless little savage jumping into the house, and rushing to squeeze us all breathless.
.a very dignified person, with brown ringlets falling from the cover of a feathered beaver…
‘She has become what she once hated. Refined. She has become one of the Linton’s, something which perhaps was always inside her as it only took her five weeks to transform. Hindley who still hates Heathcliff relishes in introducing him to Catherine as on the servants.
‘You may come and with Miss Catherine welcome, like the other servants.’Catherine greets him with little compassion and immediately compares him to the Linton’s,’…
but that’s because I’m use to Edgar and Isabella Linton…’adding insult to injury.
She treats him completely differently like he is her play-thing. She scorns him’-If you wash your face and brush your hair, it will be all right. But you are so dirty!’Heathcliff senses that she has changed, only being a tempestuous and rebellious character he refuses to change to suite her. He is Heathcliff, and in his world everyone adjusts to him thus he further isolates himself.
This kind of behaviour fits together the idea of Heathcliff being a Byronic Hero. Flawed, passionate and rejects the values of society. He demonstrates is rebellious unsociable streak when he says,’You needn’t have touched me!”I shall be as dirty as I please, and I like to be dirty and I will be dirty.’To summarise Catherine and Heathcliffs love is unlike any others in this novel.
This is because it is passionate. Heathcliff and Catherine are deeply involved further than material or sexual level. Their relationship is spiritual. This is demonstrated when Cathy dies and when Nelly comes to tell him on the moors he says,’She’s dead!’ he said ‘I’ve not waited for you to learn that.
‘This shows that their relationship is somehow very connected. It is as if a part of him died when Catherine did. This proves that their love for each other is beyond human measures. After Cathy’s death Heathcliff shrinks away into nothingness.
Heathcliff needs Catherine it is as if he cannot live without her justifying when Catherine says,’I am Heathcliff’He needs her so much that he says;’You said I killed you then haunt me’He is begging her to haunt him he is numb with pain of the loss of his dear Catherine. From then on his ultimate goal is to be reunited with his soul mate. He will not rest without her, throughout the book he slowly deteriorates. He could be compared to the living dead as it is a punishment to be alive for him because his life separates the two lovers.