“Like mother, like daughter” Essay
Wuthering Heights is a novel with certainly interesting and engaging characters. Each character has a similarity to another, which helps bring the book together. The book is placed in Northern England on the moors of Yorkshire, it is an isolated place and the people that live there know only themselves. There are two main households in which the story takes place: Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange. They are complete opposites. Emily Bronte uses parallelism often in the book, for the characters and the story line.
A lot of the story line in the first half seems to repeat or at least corresponds to the events in the second half. The second generation also correspond to the first in many ways. Some may even say that a few are duplicates of one another. I do not think however; that this is the case for Cathy Earnshaw and her daughter Catherine Linton. Although they may look similar and have certain aspects of similarity Catherine is not a duplicate of Cathy. The pair differ in many ways when it comes to family life and the environment in which they grew up in.
Catherine Linton loves her father and he seems to be the single most important person in her life. This might have been because she had no siblings like her mother had. She wished that she had had just one. “Pretty Linton! I wish you were my brother. ” Catherine enjoys life and loves her life at Thrushcross Grange where she is happy and lives in a loving atmosphere, which results in her becoming a caring and loving young lady. Cathy showed her loving and caring side when she consented to marry Linton so that she could stay by her father’s side and nurse for him while his illness overcame him.
Catherine had much more sense about her than her mother did; she knew right from wrong and could effectively control her emotions and her temper, even when confronted be beings such as her tormenter Heathcliff. At no point in the novel did she become furiously abusive, like her mother, apart from perhaps, her early meetings with Hareton. “Get away this moment! How dare you touch me? ” She is constantly grounded and clear headed. I believe that one of the main reasons Catherine stayed so clear headed was because she did not experience a relationship like Cathy’s and Heatchcliff’s.
It was the relationship that was the source of all the tragedy in Cathy’s life, her longing for Heathcliff and his for her which had been forbidden. Heathcliff did play a prominent role in both generations of Wuthering Heights and Cathy and Catherine’s lives. However, the relationships both of the girls’ relationships with him were very different. Cathy and Heathcliff had been “soul mates” since childhood and were deeply in love with one another, this unfortunately left Cathy often in emotional chaos. Catherine Linton’s love for Heathcliff was nothing less than hatred and his for her was equal.
We watch as Catherine changes from a cheerful, bright and lovely young child into a foul-tempered and sullen woman, while she lives at Wuthering Heights, this is probably because of the way she is treated and learns to live her life. Heathcliff blames her for her mother’s death; she also must remind him of the betrayal of Cathy’s love for Heathcliff. He often has sudden outbursts of rage at Catherine- “damnable witch! Off with her! Do you hear? Fling her into the kitchen! I’ll her Ellen Dean, if you let her come her into my sight again! ”
This anger and abuse slowly turned Catherine into her mother, the effect of Heathcliff. Cathy Earnshaw’s life started very different to her daughters unlike Catherine, Cathy’s father did not love her. “Nay Cathy, I cannot love thee; thou’rt worse than thy brother. Go say thy prayers, child and ask God’s pardon. I doubt thy mother and I must rue the day we ever reared thee. ” This must have hit Cathy hard about the meaning of love; Heathcliff seemed to be the only one who did in her childhood. Cathy would constantly misbehave and seemed only happy when she was being punished or scolded. She was never so happy as when we were all scolding her, at the same time she defying us with her bold, saucy look, and her ready words. ”
Cathy’s father was a strict harsh man, and her mother Mrs Earnshaw was a rich a snobbish woman; which obviously impacted on Cathy’s beliefs and upbringing. Unlike her daughter, Cathy never seemed to want to control or hide her anger “She never had power to conceal her passion it always set her whole complexion in a blaze. ” Cathy was conceited all through her childhood, and this could have been the lead to her immaturity in later life.
Cathy’s personality is probably in my opinion is what makes her character such an important and considerable part in the book. She is known to be arrogant, bold, defiant and wilful yet, had the “bonniest eye, and the sweetest smile. ” She is a girl that will react in an aggressive and abusive way if she doesn’t get her way. The first look at her spoilt and abusive character is at the beginning “when she learnt the master had lost her whip attending the stranger, showed her humour by grinning and spitting at the stupid little thing. ”
Looking at Catherine Earnshaw as a child she would never have done that. Cathy may come across as a strong and powerful woman but her anger outbursts often lead her to catch illnesses and her final argument involving Edgar and Heathcliff eventually resulted in her death, so underneath her strong and conceited personality there was an insecure and emotional character, whom often lets out passionate and violent outbursts e. g. including slapping and pinching Nelly for supervising her visit with Edgar, shaking Hareton while he is crying, and then slapping Edgar for trying to help.
The passion that shines through also comes through in Catherine’s character although not in anger but in love and compassion (at the beginning of her life anyway) Weather this has anything to do with the environments in which the two grew up or just the fact that they are mother and daughter is arguable. Her child like behaviour carried through to adulthood. She always had to be the centre of attention and did not care for others; not even her own family. This is shown in her abandonment of Hinderly for Heathcliff as a child and it carried through when Hinderly needed her, after his wife Frances died and he occurred a drinking problem.
She did not even stop Heathcliff from taking advantage of him. Cathy’s selfish side lead her to great misery however, her greed for a luxurious lifestyle stopped her from marring her love, but marring a stable, clean and wealthy man who could give her material things. Although she married Edgar she never really chose between them this caused pain for both of them. These were Cathy’s views on marriage and her daughter’s views though in the same situation were quite different. They had contrasting views and experience when it cam to love and marriage.
Catherine was desperately in love with Heathcliff- the love they shared was the most powerful source of the book. Cathy did not want to marry Heathcliff; she saw it be degrading her. This shows her high pride and ego which resulted in her not marring for love but money and goods. In comparison Catherine was forced into marring Linton, with which she wanted a sister-brother bond with. This marriage was forced upon them due to Heathcliff’s greed for money and power, just like his love Catherine. Catherine unlike her mother wanted to marry for love; this is obvious when she falls in love with Hareton, uncannily like Heathcliff.
This is when the girls similarities shine through, they both fall in love with degrading men and both treat them badly although in reverse. Cathy and Heathcliff treat each other as equals but soon Cathy abandons him for money and power, where as her daughter leaves money and power to follow her heart. This proves my point that maybe Catherine is the innocent and angelic Cathy. You can see this in her appearance, they are said to be identical apart from the Catherine’s blue eyes and blonde hair compared to Cathy’s dark hair and dark side, the more mischievous and evil side? … sinking sun behind, the mild glory of a rising moon in front; one fading, and the other brightening, as I quitted the park, and climbed the stony by-road branching off to Mr Heathcliff’s dwelling. ” I see this extract as the proof of Catherine being the innocent Cathy. It’s implying that as the fiery sun dies e. g. Cathy and the mild moon rises (Catherine). The moon is the calm and tranquil source of light instead of the bright and abusive ball of fire.