Heathcliff and Hareton Earnshaw in Wuthering Heights Essay

Heathcliff and Hareton Earnshaw in Wuthering Heights Essay

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Discuss the portrayal of Heathcliff and Hareton Earnshaw in WutheringHeights.
Are they products of nature or nurture?

I am going to look at the nature and nurture of both Hareton Earnshaw
and Heathcliff, of Emily Brontë's 'Wuthering Heights', and try to
decide whether these two characters are products of their nature or
their nurture. A person's nature is the way they are born, their 'raw
state of mind', the parts of their character unaffected by outside
influence. A person's nurture is the way they are brought up, and they
way they are influenced and shaped by society.

The Lintons and Earnshaws are part of the Gentry class of Victorian
England; they are both landowning families, fairly high up in the
class hierarchy. But the genetic natures of the families are entirely
different: the Lintons are well behaved, subdued, spoilt, steady,
sensible and arrogant; in comparison, the Earnshaws are strong willed,
moody, generous, free spirited, easily influenced, laid back and
non-formal. The nurture of the characters is connected very strongly
to social status: Heathcliff is denied social status initially by his
birth and subsequently by Hindley, which creates great hatred in
Heathcliff: this denial of status is perceived much more seriously
than what we consider serious today. Catherine chooses Edgar over
Heathcliff for reasons of social status, even though she and
Heathcliff are so similar. Hareton is also denied social status, which
turns his attitudes against the Gentry class and creates rifts between
him and other characters: for example, it makes Cathy and Linton, who
would be his equals, look down on him. Social status is so important
to the characters it is used as a weapon against enemies, and a tool...


... middle of paper ...


...s him education,
but also the gift of friendship and love which enables Hareton to
become a more complex character with greater respect not only from
other people, but of other people too. In Heathcliff's death, Hareton
can become what he was always supposed to be.

Even though Hareton is affected very greatly by his nurture, we see
his nature too. We see his pride, his passion and sensitivity; we see
that he is very close to nature: all of these things are genetic
character traits, visible in Hareton's father and aunt, Hindley and
Catherine Earnshaw. With Heathcliff, his nurture enhances parts of his
personality, whereas in Hareton's nurture, his nature is dulled and
moulded so it is less extreme. This is done by denying Hareton of
experience. At the end of the novel, Hareton is very much a product of
his nature; Cathy's nurturing allows this to change.

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