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Is Catherine Earnshaw a Nineteenth Century Heroine?

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Introduction

´╗┐Cathy is a nineteenth century heroine. * With reference to appropriately selected parts of the novel, and relevant external contextual information, give your response to the view above. By definition, a heroine is a woman who would typically encompasses the qualities of nobility, courage, independence and strength. Nineteenth century English women would have struggled to accomplish any of these particular acts of heroism within their social environment as ultimately, their roles within civilisation saw them becoming a good wives and mothers and before that, obliging and caring daughters. Catherine Earnshaw appears to begin her life free-spirited, rebellious and with a wild nature. However, her inner desire craves social ambition which, in turn, shows her slowly representing culture and civilisation. Cathy certainly displays some of those characteristics which are present in a nineteenth century heroine in the early stages of the novel, such of that as rebellion and the desire to reject the conformities expected of her. ...read more.

Middle

Cathy?s father then states how she is a hateful child, ?I cannot love thee? Go say your prayers, child, and ask God?s pardon.? Although these too are examples of how Cathy possesses attributes of a nineteenth century heroine in the aspect that she is rebellious, they also exploit her arrogance and ignorance, qualities that were perhaps less common in these heroines. However, to counter this, the text also states that she became ?hardened? by her father?s statements against her which may attribute to why she is arrogant and obscene. This may cause the readers to pity her and continue to hold her as a hero despite this. Cathy?s independence as a woman and strength would have been highly appealing to nineteenth century readers as in this era, women were seen as possessions rather that and individuals. As a six year old, she asks her father for a whip as despite her young age, ?she could ride any horse in the stable?. ...read more.

Conclusion

Her education at the Grange has secured that the manners of a lady have been forced upon her as well as the conformities of a woman. Once married to Edgar, Catherine strives to maintain her independent status but the social rules indoctrinated in society leave her trapped, as once a woman married she became a possession. All her personal property became her husbands, including her body. Given the patriarchal nature of culture, it is not surprising that her marriage is what has diminished her capacity for freedom and individuality, which is why Catherine may not be viewed as a nineteenth century heroine as she has fallen to society and conformed to the patterns of it. Considering this, I believe that predominantly, Catherine Earnshaw is not a nineteenth century heroine as she ultimately allows herself to fall victim to the norms and regulations of society and all those characteristics that are mutual of her and of a heroine in the nineteenth century can also be attributed to her arrogance, cruelty and lack of regard for the feelings and well-being of others; in particular, Heathcliff. ...read more.

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