Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights - Infanticide and Sadism

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Wuthering Heights: Infanticide and Sadism I would like to begin by simply defining the terms infanticide and sadism. Webster's Dictionary defines infanticide as the killing of an infant or the suffering of an infant. The same source defines sadism as both a disorder in which sexual gratification is derived by causing pain or degradation to others and simply pleasure in being cruel. Now, while reading Wuthering Heights, I was giving every character the benefit of the doubt. I was accounting their rough life to simple hard times. However, after reading "Infanticide and Sadism in Wuthering Heights" my eyes were opened to the perversion of the world portrayed in Wuthering Heights. To start off, I would like to take a good look at the suffering of the children. Each child does not have the benefit of their mother for a very long period of time. "Catherine Earnshaw is not quite eight when her mother dies; Cathy Linton's birth coincides with her mother's death; Hareton's mother dies the year of his birth; and Heathcliff is an orphan by the time he is seven. Even the children who receive motherly care throughout childhood do not receive it long after they reach puberty. Linton Heathcliff loses his mother when he is not quite thirteen- Linton, of course, is a child all his life- and Isabella Linton is orphaned when she is fourteen. The only exceptions- and these unimportant - are Hindley Earnshaw and Edgar Linton, who are sixteen and eighteen respectively when their mothers die (and even their mothers are apparently not very motherly)." (Thompson 139). Bronte does away with all of the mothers. Why does she so that? She kills off the mothers to help better accent the children's struggle against all the psycho adults who are all out to kill them. The first child to receive this kind of treatment was Heathcliff when he first arrived and Mrs. Earnshaw wanted to "fling it outdoors." This sort of treatment was subjected to every child in the book, and without their mothers, there was nobody to protect thern. Hareton Earnshaw lives a more dangerous life than most of the children. He lost his mother the year of his birth and spent a great deal of his childhood hiding from his father, whose first instinct when drunk is to kill his son. Hareton manages to survive, but Linton Heathcliff is not so lucky.

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