Catherine & Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte

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“Nelly I am Heathcliff!” Catherine Earnshaw makes this bold statement in Wuthering Heights (Brontë 75). Catherine is claiming identity traits that belong to another being, which is physically impossible for her to accomplish. Why is it that Emily Brontë creates such a love between Heathcliff and Catherine that they claim to be the same entity, and what is meant by both Heathcliff and Catherine claiming to be each other? There are many analyses that contemplate this very question, but the answer lies within a psychological approach. In his article Graeme Tytler mocks those who think that Catherine’s statement is “a manifestation of perfect love and states that it is instead a “part of a specific psychological pattern”(Tytler).Through Catherine and Heathcliff’s childhoods as unloved outcasts, Brontë demonstrates that their development as adults is hindered, creating a void in their personalities that they fill with alter egos. Both Catherine and Heathcliff grow up in environments of neglect and abandonment, causing them to develop voids in their personalities. Mr. Earnshaw brings Heathcliff to Wuthering Heights, and he says “but you must e’en take it as a gift from God, though it’s as dark almost as if it came from the devil” (Brontë 34). Here Heathcliff is a victim of racial profiling, which is detrimental to development because it has the affect of degrading the self worth of an individual. Heathcliff’s savior refers to him as a spawn of the “devil.” This combined with the reaction of the other tenants of Wuthering Heights makes Heathcliff an outcast. They repeatedly call him “it” and Catherine even “[spits] at the stupid little thing” as Nelly recalls (35). This unwelcoming behavior is a rejection of Heathcliff. Brontë is creat... ... middle of paper ... ...lves with each other. He makes it point that through these judgments Brontë is exemplifying that identity can never truly be determined. I will use Tytler’s alter ego theory to demonstrate that the relationship between Catherine and Heathcliff continues to adulthood because of their desires to live through one another. This alter ego theory sparked an argument that Catherine and Heathcliff use each other to fill a void that was created as a result of their neglected childhood. Tytler proves many points about the dynamic of Catherine and Heathcliff but fails to see that Catherine had love for Heathcliff. He claimed that Catherine was more self-centered and demanding, implying that she only wanted to use Heathcliff to prolong their childhood relationship. I believe that Catherine truly did love Heathcliff and related to him in way that bonds them together for life.
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