Distortions and Exaggerations in Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights

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Wuthering Heights: Distortions and Exaggerations

Heathcliff cried vehemently, "I cannot live without my life! I cannot live without my soul!" Emily Brontë distorts many common elements in Wuthering Heights to enhance the quality of her book. One of the distortions is Heathcliff's undying love for Catherine Earnshaw. Also, Brontë perverts the vindictive hatred that fills and runs Heathcliff's life after he loses Catherine. Finally, she prolongs death, making it even more distressing and insufferable.

Heathcliff's love for Catherine transcends the normal physical "true love" into spiritual love. He can withstand anything against him to be with her. After Hindley became the master of Wuthering Heights, he flogged Heathcliff like a slave. Although Heathcliff could have simply run away, his decision to endure the physical pains shows his unrelenting devotion to Catherine. Fortunately, Catherine feels as deeply for Heathcliff as he does for her, explaining to Nelly that "Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same…" Their love for each other is so passionate that they can not possibly live apart. At Catherine's death, Heathcliff hopes that she will not rest, but will haunt him until he dies. This absurdity contradicts the traditional norm that one should pray that the dead rest in peace. Near the end of the novel, we learn that Catherine has haunted Heathcliff, allowing him only fleeting glances of her. This shows that despite their physical separation, nothing can part them spiritually. When Heathcliff dies and unites with Catherine once again, the neighbors see them haunt the moors. We finally see the power of their love; Not only does this love transcend physical barriers, it transcends time as well...

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... and, that appearance causes me pain, amounting to agony." This is consistent because he has sinned the most of all characters, and therefore he suffered the worst death. In order to reprimand the monstrous characters she creates, Brontë must also create a death befitting them. She admirably does this by twisting death into something worse than it really is, leaving the reader with a sense of satisfaction that the characters deserved what they earned.

With so many distortions, many readers may not appreciate Brontë's book. She takes common elements and greatly exaggerates them. She turns love into obsessive passion, contempt into lifelong vindictive hatred, and peaceful death into the equivalent of burning in hell. In doing so, she not only loaded the book with emotions, but vividly illustrated the outcome if one were to possess these emotions.
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