Wuthering Heights presents the theme of love within and outside of
marriage. This book has a major female character whose marriage
conflicts in some way with her ideal of love.
Catherine's first love is Heathcliff. She falls in love with him as
both grow up together. Yet she finds a different kind of love with
Edgar Linton. Catherine decides to marry Edgar, who can satisfy her
civilized side. When Heathcliff returns to her life, she is torn
between marriage and ideal love.
Catherine serves as a symbol of Bronte's Romanticism. She is a
character who tries unsuccessfully to reconcile her wild nature with
her civilized side.
In Wuthering Heights, Catherine's love for Heathcliff begins while
both are children. Heathcliff, though an orphan, is raised as an equal
to Hindley and Catherine while their father is alive to control the
Heights. Young Hindley is even jealous of the preferential treatment
his father gives to the outsider. Even at this time, Catherine's
feelings for Heathcliff are obvious. "She was much too fond of
Heathcliff", Nelly tells Mr. Lockwood, "The greatest punishment we
could invent for her was to keep her separate from him." They are best
friends throughout childhood, but are separated for the first time
when Catherine must stay at Thrushcross Grange while her leg heals.
She returns to the Heights a young lady, her class brought out by the
Lintons' influence. However, although she no longer shares
Heathcliff's wild appearance, she continues to feel a deep internal
identification with him. When Heathcliff is banished from a meal with
the Lintons, Nelly m...
... middle of paper ...
...ied for wealth, for higher
status, for land, for a comfortable life, but rarely for true love and
fulfillment. In choosing partners, both sexes are warned of those who
are lazy, poor, lower class socially, or are unmannerly. Men are
warned against women who do not obey and who are not pretty. Women are
warned against men who are irresponsible, poor, or not handsome. In
both novels, the male lover is revered for his wealth and powerful
personality. Edgar Linton, Bingley, Darcy, Heathcliff and Rochester
are all at least fairly wealthy, and all three have powerful, strong
personalities. Rochester and Heathcliff are the only characters who
are not seen as very handsome.
Jane Bennet, Elizabeth Bennet, Jane Eyre and Catherine Earnshaw all
remain celebrated characters for their beauty, grace, strength and
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