Wuthering Heights - How does Bront present Catherine
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Adeebah Iqbal Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights How does Brontë present Catherine in Chapter 12, pages 122-124? Catherine earnshaw is one of the most significant characters in Wuthering Heights, as the novel is based on her uncontrollable, passionate love for Heathcliff, and its devastating consequences. Therefore, Brontë displays Catherine in many ways, for example in her youth she is shown as strong-willed, carefree and rebellious. However, in the chosen extract Cathy is shown as highly agitated and delusional. Much of the language and structure in the extract shows dimensions of Cathy's character, and the feelings which she is experiencing, as well as reflecting the attitudes and values seen in Victorian times. The syntax throughout the extract is one of long complex sentences; for example the paragraph beginning "a minute previously she was violent..." is one sentences separated by punctuation. It is not rare for this syntax to be used in Victorian novel as it was commonly used by Victorian authors. The novel focuses on the mysterious connection Cathy feels with Heathcliff, who is her soul mate and more herself then she is. However, upon seeking higher status Cathy breaks the connection and marries Edgar Linton, consequently the line "That's a Turkey's, she murmured to herself," shows the deep isolation she feel upon leaving Heathcliff.
The magnificence of nature is also shown in the line "the down is flying about like snow!" this deep imagery has assonance in the 'o' sound. This is a euphonic sound and thus reflects the majesty of nature. There is a semantic field of death in this paragraph, for example "Shot," "Skeletons," "shoot" and "red." This suggests that Cathy's death is impending. It shows that her separation from Heathcliff is the cause of her death and thus shows the inexplicable bond they share. Furthermore, it suggests that Cathy is aware of her impending death; this is representative of attitudes and values in Victorian times, as they held an acute fascination of death. The close relationship between Cathy and Nelly is seen in the way that Nelly addresses Cathy. "Give over with the baby work!" shows Nelly bossing Catherine playfully and speaking to her much as a mother would treat her daughter. Although at the time most servants would not address their mistress in this manner, Nelly is an exception as she was Cathy's foster sister and reared her from an early age after her mother died. Cathy is shown as a hysterical woman; she talks "dreamily" and hallucinates throughout the passage. This stereotype of a "hysterical woman" was a common conception in Victorian times as women were regarded as out of control, and should, therefore, be controlled by their fathers or husbands.
For example here Cathy wants to get out but at the beginning of the novel when she appears to Lockwood she is trying to get in through the window. This is because a window is a barrier, and Wuthering Heights is about breaking barriers and taboos, for example falling in love with someone who is below your status and an outsider. Also Cathy then asks Nelly to "let her have one breath," this shows how she is metaphorically suffocating under her marriage to Edgar. Bronte uses Pathos to invoke a deep sympathy from the reader for Cathy as she struggles between following her hear and staying within the limits of what is acceptable in Victorian attitudes and values. The words "a cold blast" are mono-syllabic as they allow you to feel the air as it hits Catherine's face, and also they forma contrast to the long words previously used, this reflects the suffocation of marriage compared to the carefree wind of the moors. Finally, the line "our fiery Catherine was no better than a wailing child" reflects the change we see in Cathy. She is always shown as rebellious and fiery, however this subverts Victorian attitudes and values towards women, yet once she is married she is no longer "fiery" this shows that marriage turns girls into women that are acceptable to society. In contrast, Cathy is not a liberated into a woman but reduced to a child, the union causes Cathy loses her strong will and passion
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