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Destructive Relationships in Wuthering Heights
Many people in the world are trying to find a perfect companion.
Some of these may marry and not know what their new husband or wife is like.
This kind of situation often leads to separation or hostility. Other
situations may develop between two friends that stem from jealousy, desire
for revenge, uncaring parents, etc. Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights
displays several characteristics of destructive relationships. Three of
these are uncaring parents, marriage without knowing the person, and
Uncaring or unsympathizing parents are shown throughout this story
to be an element of destructive relationships. Because Heathcliff gained
all the attention from Mr. Earnshaw, Hindley became disassociated from his
father. This separation continued until after Mr. Earnshaw had died.
Another example is between Hindley and Hareton. Hindley became such a drunk
and a gambler that he could not properly care for young Hareton. This led
to a separation between Hareton and his father as well. One primary example
of an uncaring parent is shown between Heathcliff and his son Linton.
Heathcliff did not even want his son for anything except enacting a part of
his revenge. This is shown by Linton's fear of Heathcliff and Heathcliff's
enmity toward his son. Linton even says "... my father threatened me, and I
dread him - I dread him!"(244) to express his feeling about Heathcliff .
The hostility and separation between father and son in this book shows that
uncaring parents can cause serious damage in relationships with their
This element of destructive behavior may stem from an unhappy
marriage in which the husbands or wives don't know each other. This had
happened between Isabella and Heathcliff. Isabella did not really know
Heathcliff when she married him, but after she had married him she saw that
Heathcliff was not a gentleman at all. To declare her feelings she wrote "
Is Heathcliff a man? If so, is he mad? And if not, is he a devil? I shan't
tell my reasons for making this inquiry; but I beseech you to explain, if
you can, what I have married ..."(125). Another example of this is when
Catherine married Edgar Linton. Although she had been happy at the
beginning of the marriage, she thought having parties all the time was
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going to be fun. Yet, after a while, she became bored. She also realized
that she loved Heathcliff more than Edgar and would always love Heathcliff.
This enlightenment created separation between Edgar and Catherine during
the final hours of Cathy's life. An additional marriage which was made that
was doomed was the one between Catherine and Linton. Because this was a
forced marriage, Cathy had not yet learned all she could about Linton.
Because she did not know until after the marriage that Linton was selfish
and inconsiderate, she became distressed and grew isolated in the house.
These three failed marriages described in this novel show that knowing the
person you will marry is very important.
While these marriages took place, jealousy also took a hold in some
relationships. One example of this is when Mr. Earnshaw starts to favor
Heathcliff over his own son, Hindley. Because of this, Hindley becomes
jealous of young Heathcliff and sets out to make Heathcliff's life a
nightmare. Hindley's jealousy becomes evident when he says ,"... be damned
you beggarly interloper! and wheedle my father out of all he has; only
afterwards show him what you are, imp of Satan."(35). Jealousy was also
found very notably in the relationship between Heathcliff and Edgar Linton.
The jealousy between them is expressed when Heathcliff and Edgar start a
hostile conversation after Cathy's homecoming at Christmas near the
beginning of the book. As the story progresses these two become bitter
enemies who will not speak to one another. Another relationship which
jealousy ruined is the one between Hareton and Linton. These two become
jealous of each other over Cathy's affections. This relationship ends as
Hareton and Linton hating each other. These relationships show that
jealousy can ruin a relationship very quickly.
The jealousy, neglect, and unprepared nature of the many
relationships in this book indicates that many of the relationships in this
book have gone "sour". In spite of all these destructive elements one
relationship may succeed. This is the one between Cathy and Hareton.
Because there is no more jealousy or neglect, and because they are getting
to know each other, their relationship has a good chance of succeeding.
Because all the other failed relationships in this book containing the
elements; jealousy, neglect, and ignorance concerning the nature of your
companion; one can conclude that these elements will destroy any