Wuthering Heights - childs emotions vs. adult emotions

Wuthering Heights - childs emotions vs. adult emotions

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Child Emotions vs. Adult Emotions


All appearances said that Catherine Linton was as grown up as she could be, she was married and quite past the age when one is considered an adult. But, if one would look just a little farther, they could see that in all her rebelliousness she is maintaining a carefully constructed façade, created to look adult while she spends hours of time dreaming about the childhood that she wished would last forever.

     When we first see Catherine enter Nelly’s story she selfishly wanted the gift that her father promised her despite the fact that her father had gone out of his was to help a little boy that was all alone in the world. This is the first view of the selfish little girl emotions that eventually make her seem as if she is a little girl trapped in a woman’s body. But of course in this scene she was a child so it is excused individually but as a whole when put together along with the rest of the proof that she was a childish woman it shows just the beginning of the downward spiral that was Catherine Linton’s life.

     She soon became very attached to Heathcliff. “She was much too fond of Heathcliff. The greatest punishment we could invent for her was to keep her separate from him…” (E. Bronte pg67) it was quite clear that Catherine felt very strongly for Heathcliff, maybe even too strongly. An adult knows that it’s good for them to have some time of their own but that is not how a child thinks, they think they can be with their best friend forever without end. This is probably what led to the drastic change in Catherine’s personality after returning from the Grange after her stay as a young girl. Her love for Heathcliff and want to be with him cemented her younger personality but when separated that foundation broke and she found a new self. Both from the perspective of wanting to be with her best friend forever as well as the not knowing her true self, Catherine was still showing signs of not growing up. Sure her body grew and her intelligence too as she read a lot but her personality and desires didn’t seem to be growing with the rest of her.

     As Catherine continued to grow her relationship with Edgar Linton grew as well, she seemed to all to love him like a teenager would but she was still plagued by emotions that didn’t quite fit her age.

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She had fits of anger as shown on page 86 of the book. “…sobbed out complaints against ‘wicked aunt Cathy,’ which drew her fury on to his unlucky head: she seized his shoulders, and shook him till the poor child waxed livid, and Edgar thoughtlessly laid hold of her hands to deliver him. In an instant one was wrung free, and the astonished young man felt it applied over his own ear in a way that could not be mistaken for jest” she was having a temper tantrum that is commonly associated with small children who have them when they cannot have their way.

     Just a few pages later on page 99 has another bout of childish thinking when she says she could “…aid Heathcliff to rise, and place him out of my brother’s power.” This was a foolish statement because she had no way to know if Edgar would give her any money to do so, especially since he never seemed to like Heathcliff very much. To just assume that she is going to get what she wants is childish and immature.

     Even after she is married she continues to feel childish emotions. When Heathcliff shows up in the book again after being gone for several years she begins to show the emotions of a love or best friend again, she just wants to be with him no matter how her own husband feels about Heathcliff or even the situation. She didn’t care who she annoyed or hurt, just that she got to be with Heathcliff

     Finally, at the end of her life she shows one last display of childishness. She selfishly wanted Heathcliff to love her like she loved him and still be okay with her love for Edgar at the same time. Even sick and delirious she inherently and selfishly wants and believes she can have the best of both worlds.

     We all have childish thoughts and feelings sometimes but when that is all one has that is when one can see a child trapped in an adult’s body. One with a few childish thoughts is normal but one with an overpoweringly childish way of living is and always should be labeled a child. These people cannot make adult choices nor have adult opinions because their emotions are rooted in childish dreams.


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