The Double Characters in Wuthering Heights

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The Double Characters in Wuthering Heights

In Bronte's novel, Wuthering Heights, a person has the capacity to attain happiness only if his external state of being is a true and accurate manifestation of his internal state of being. The "double character" which Catherine "adopts" in order to simultaneously maintain her relationship with the high brow Linton family and her low class friend, Heathcliff (66), is also manifested by most of the other main characters in the novel, though the split is usually less obvious in the other characters. It is less obvious because rather than being split between two contrasting external states (only one of Catherine's reflects her internal state), the characters are usually split between their internal experiences of the world and their external facades. For all of the characters, the possibility of happiness depends on a consistency between their internal and external ways of being. Catherine, in her inability to attain happiness, is the most clear example of this in the novel, but the novel's other three crucial characters: Heathcliff, Cathy (II), and Hareton, also demonstrate this.

Catherine and Heathcliff's relationship is a primary example of possible happiness disabled by the inconsistency (internal vs. external) of one of its participants, Catherine. Catherine holds up a façade of "ingenuous cordiality" to gain the love of the Linton children (Isabella and Edgar) to hide her true "unruly nature." She allows this "unruly nature" to come out only when she is in the privacy of her home, Wuthering Heights, with Heathcliff (66). Catherine splits herself into two personalities. She demonstrates her "unruly" one in the company of her true friend, Heathcl...

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...sing to always be together (in marriage).

Sources Cited and Consulted

Bronte, Emily. Wuthering Heights Oxford University Press, 1996.

Christ, Carol T. Foreword. Emily Brontë: Wuthering Heights: An Authoritative Text. Ed. William M. Sale, Jr., and Richard J. Dunn. Norton Anthology Edition. New York: Norton, 1993.

Dawson, Terence. Physical and Psychological Settings: The Polarized Houses in Emily Bronte's 'Wuthering Heights'. 7 Nov. 2000 .

McCarthy, Terence. "The Incompetent Narrator of Wuthering Heights" Modern Language Quarterly 42 (1981): 48-64.

Shunami, Gideon. "The Unreliable Narrator in Wuthering Heights." Nineteenth-Century Fiction 27 (1973): 449-68

Strobos, Semon. "Heathcliff and Nelly Dean in Wuthering Heights." The Nassau Review 6 (1993): 131-39.
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