Language Allows for the True Portrayal Identity of Others in Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

Language Allows for the True Portrayal Identity of Others in Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

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Identity is how we define ourselves, how we see ourselves within our communities and it is what we portray to others. In the novel Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë the eloquent use of language allows for the true portrayal of the identities of all the characters in the story. Emily uses anecdotes and metaphors to portray her characters in all their glory. Wuthering Heights is about the consecutive search for one’s true identity by two primary characters. This essay will specifically focus on Catherine and Heathcliff’s search for their identities. Heathcliff and Catherine both vary in social status as the book progresses, each of their respective sexes play a large role in their identities and the choices they make also influence their final identities; these three main factors are what create the identity problem for both Catherine and Heathcliff.
“I am surrounded with her image! The most ordinary faces of men and women- my own features- mock me with a resemblance that she did exist, and that I have lost her!” (324) this quote is said by Heathcliff to Nelly Dean. The language used by Emily Brontë allows for the reader to visualize the faces that Heathcliff must see. The word “image” describes Catherine, Heathcliff can visualize Catherine everywhere, he sees her in all that he does and everywhere he goes there is no escaping that which embodies her true identity, her face. The “faces”, which represents ones identity, the identity shown to society, it’s the first thing that a stranger meets and the last thing a friend says goodbye to. The community and the people of Wuthering Height resemble and embody the woman that Heathcliff has lost. Heathcliff associates his own identity with that of Catherine’s and so when Catherine dies he ...


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... images the story of Catherin and Heathcliff’s struggle to find one another and themselves at Wuthering Heights was able to be understood by the reader. The central theme of identity search was clear because of the words chosen by Emily, the passages from the text above and the central line “I am Heathcliff” (82). The social status and sew of the characters is what ultimately lead to the choices they made which in turn determined their final identities, the ones that they were destined to get but did not want. Catherine and Heathcliff both made their decision on who they wanted to be and how they wanted to be defined. Their identities are what they died with and although they were buried beside eachother that’s not how they lived their lives. Identity is a balance between outer and inner perception and once one realizes what they want it’s hard to balance the two.

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