Wuthering Heights

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The Deleterious Reactions of a Love That Could Never Be

Wuthering Heights was written during a time in which social structure and culture were very important. All people fell into a specific class depending on the reputation and wealth of their family. Catherine was considered to be in a higher class of society than Heathcliff was because she was part of a wealthy family with a large estate while Heathcliff was only a laborer. This large gap between their social status was one determining factor for the success of their love. Due to the economic forces of the era Catherine was motivated to leave Heathcliff for a man of higher status and more power. Thus causing Catherine and Heathcliff's relationship to never develop into a healthy true love due to their separation. Despite Catherine's desires for status, her and Heathcliff shared a mutual love that was both childish and obsessive. Their separation proved to be almost unbearable by Heathcliff's extreme reactions to Catherine's marriage to Edgar. Due to Catherine's abandonment he felt he was not worry enough to marry Catherine, therefore, he resulted in disappearing in order to achieve social status and wealth. Their love for one another became more obvious when Heathcliff returned. However, Heathcliff's return did more harm than good by stirring up emotions that had not been touched in either of the characters lives for a long time. Their unbalanced emotions and obsessions for one another caused by their separate social status lead them to torture and death.

In the late 1700's and early 1800's, when this novel took place, the social structure in the British society was very important. At the top of the society was the royalty, followed by the aristocracy. Both these classes held great social positions. Then there were the gentry who owned many servants and large estates, however, held little to no social position. Lastly, was the lower class, which was the majority of the population. The Earnshaw family, at the Wuthering heights, held a weak gentry's position compared to the Linton's at the Grange, who had carriages and a larger estate. Public appearance was an important factor in determining a persons social status. The Heights had no carriages and their public appearance decreased when the Mister and Mistress of the house past away causing their status to be lowered. Catherine's family was no longer stable in their gentry's position due to her parents death.

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