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Chapter nine is an important chapter, a pivotal point. Discuss why, focusing particularly on the significance of the conversation between Cathy and Nelly.

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Introduction

Chapter nine is an important chapter, a pivotal point. Discuss why, focusing particularly on the significance of the conversation between Cathy and Nelly. Comment on Cathy's decision to marry Edgar Linton and what this reveals. Consider how Bronte portrays Cathy's dilemma and subsequent illness. In chapter nine, Cathy reveals to Nelly that Edgar Linton proposed to her and that she has accepted. She wishes to find out Nelly's opinion on the whole affair. Cathy also reveals her love for Heathcliff, to which she also seeks Nelly's advice. The chapter is a pivotal point purely because the nature of Cathy and Heathcliff's relationship has changed, and their feeling towards each other are very different by the end of this chapter to what was previously thought. During the chapter Cathy confines in Nelly is a lengthy conversation to which Heathcliff overhears part of, leading to disastrous consequences. In this conversation Cathy uses a great deal of imagery to express what she is feeling towards both Edgar and Heathcliff. The conversation between the two women is of paramount importance in the chapter, and indeed the novel. Without it, we would not know Cathy's true feelings regarding Heathcliff. ...read more.

Middle

What the reader may be confused by is why Nelly, who knew Heathcliff was listening, did not interrupt Cathy to tell her what he had just heard. However, was this a dramatic device used by Bronte in order to get the protestation of love from Cathy? Cathy also describes the differences between herself and the two men with an interesting quote: "Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same; and Linton's is as different as a moonbeam from lightening, or frost from fire." She is just describing here how different she sees herself and Edgar. She believes that her and Heathcliff are one together. She means a similar thing as to the soul reference when she says, "I am Heathcliff!" Cathy simply means that they are so much alike that they could not possibly have so much love for anyone else. It is something that she mentions on many occasions, including "He's always, always in my mind: not as pleasure... but as my own being." She is a part of Heathcliff. Although Catherine loves Heathcliff, she also loves Edgar at the same time - she merely loves them in different ways. ...read more.

Conclusion

This is purely down to social hierarchy. Cathy earlier spoke of how it would degrade herself to marry Heathcliff, because he has no house, and no name for his own, unlike Edgar Linton. When Cathy marries Edgar, she immediately becomes one of the gentry. Cathy realises that she cannot marry Heathcliff, but still confesses her love for him all the same. Chapter nine is a pivotal point because if the circumstances had been even slightly different, we would have a completely different novel. Heathcliff may not have run away, which would have meant Cathy would most certainly have caught a fever whilst out looking for him. The passion between Cathy and Heathcliff remains rooted in their hearts, impervious to external contingencies. The text consistently treats the love between Catherine and Heathcliff as an incontestable fact of nature. Nothing can alter or lessen it, and they know this. Heathcliff and Catherine know that no matter how they hurt each other, they can be sure of never losing their shared passion and ultimate mutual loyalty. Catherine can decide to marry Edgar, certain that this outward act will have no effect on her and Heathcliff's inner feelings for one another. Similarly, it is in the knowledge of their passion's durability that Heathcliff later undertakes his cruel revenge. Suzanne Keller 12SA - English Literature BU ...read more.

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