Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

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Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

In chapter nine, we are introduced to the issues surrounding different

ideas of love through Catherine's dilemma. The author uses a variety

of imagery and ideas to separate superficial love from true love.

We are shown that her love for Edgar, a gentleman residing in the

estate of Thrushcross Grange, is indeed superficial. Catherine tells

Nelly that she has just accepted Edgar's proposal, yet she does not

seem satisfied with her choice:

"I accepted him, Nelly; be quick, and say whether I was wrong!" Say

whether I should have done so - do!"

This immediately implies that she is not confident of her own

judgement - she seeks assurance and comfort that her choice was the

correct one by pleading to Nelly, her servant. This is extremely odd,

as the majority of people would not commit themselves to lifetime

relationships without being sure that it is the right choice to do so.

We are shown that the reason behind her doubt is that her "love" for

Edgar is plainly superficial. Nelly also understands this, and asks

Catherine, bluntly, if she loves him. She replies firmly:

"Who can help it? Of course I do."

I believe that her manner in responding to this question completely

contradicts the words which that she actually speaks. She replies in a

very 'matter-of-fact' tone, which suggests that her reasoning behind

her love should be visible and obvious to all. She suggests that no

woman could resist him, which, combined with the previous point,

implies that he is desirable due to his outward appearance and status

- he is "marriage material". Hence, Catherine has shown us that her

love for Edgar is the same love that any woman would feel for him,

which is not true love; it is merely attraction. She furthers this by

declaring that she does not want to be a "beggar", which she believes

would be the outcome of marrying Heathcliff.

I also believe that Catherine is trying to convince herself of her

love for Edgar. This was shown earlier by her asking Nelly for

reassurance, but it is shown further when Nelly asks her why she loves

Edgar:

"I love the ground under his feet, and the air over his head, and

everything he touches, and every word he says - I love all his looks,

and all his actions, and him entirely, and altogether. There now!"

This response also puzzled me - it has been worded in a very

impersonal fashion. She uses dry, unlovable vocabulary in her

description, such as "ground", "feet" and "air". It is a list of

clichés, and instead of giving the intended outcome of proving her

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