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Describe the Relationship Between the Family Members in Wuthering Heights

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Introduction

Wuthering Heights is set in the Yorkshire moors and deals with complex emotional relationships in a Victorian household. Tensions arise when Mr Earnshaw returns from Liverpool with a street orphan whom he decides to adopt and name Heathcliff: this is initially unpopular with his wife and 2 children. Although Heathcliff forms a strong bond with Catherine, hatred builds up between him and Hindley who feels he?s classless yet poses a threat to his inheritance so seeks revenge. Whilst roaming the moors with Heathcliff, Catherine becomes aquatinted with the Lintons, a fellow family of the gentry, when she is attacked by dogs outside the Grange. The son, Edgar, falls in love with her and proposes. In spite of her love for Heathcliff she decides to marry Edgar as it?s what?s expected of her. This causes Heathcliff to disappear for years and return a changed man. When we compare the Grange to Wuthering Heights we see the vast contrast in social classes. The former is a haven of respect and civility whereas the latter is a household of disorder. However both families were members of the gentry. Therefore it?s assumed Catherine would marry someone of similar social class and when Edgar proposes, both families feel it?s a good match. At that time, a person?s position in society was important in considerations of marriage so nobody would?ve even contemplated the chance that Catherine might love Heathcliff as he was viewed as inferior. ...read more.

Middle

Cathy and Heathcliff show the utmost contempt for society?s restrictions and decide to explore the moors to escape Hindley?s tyrannical behaviour. Outside the Lintons? house, Cathy is attacked by a dog so she stays until they?ve nursed her back to health. It?s several weeks until she sees Heathcliff again and when they?re reunited, Cathy?s ?much improved? manners make her appear haughty in Heathcliff?s eyes. He feels insulted and misses her outward wildness. Hindley has become an inhumane dictator so is delighted that their relationship is falling apart. Catherine?s change into a ?very dignified? lady reflects the serene atmosphere in the Linton household, stark in contrast to the volatile relationships between the Earnshaws. Their ?beautiful? house highlights the wildness and disorder of the Heights. Its external appearance of neglect mirrors the spiritual disintegration of the characters within it. This is similar to the Capulets? relationships as there is also a break down when Juliet refuses to marry Paris. Hindley falls into unrelenting grief due to the death of his wife after childbirth. His ?savage sullenness? becomes more noticeable and Heathcliff also suffers from his anger as he wants to degrade him. Hindley takes over the patriarchal role assumed by his father but his ?tyrannical and evil conduct? makes him more similar to Lord C than his father as the way in which he controls the household with an iron rod is comparable to Lord C?s aggressive power over his family. ...read more.

Conclusion

By marrying Edgar, she makes a cold calculated choice and, in her view, sacrifices herself for Heathcliff. Her utter devotion to him causes her to believes that this way she can ?aid Heathcliff to rise? out of poverty and Hindley?s jurisdiction. Likewise, Juliet is prepared to sacrifice her family name so that she can be with Romeo. Cathy?s twisted way of forming a family will have repercussions. Both Catherine and Juliet lived in a patriarchal society. Both were expected to be unquestionably obedient to their fathers. Both ignored these conventions. For Catherine, it has little impact on her relationship with her father as although her wilful behaviour tried her father?s patience, he accepts this and loves her nonetheless. Contrastingly Juliet?s father threatens to abandon her at the first sign of defiance. This can be likened to Hindley?s attitude towards Catherine and Heathcliff?s relationship as he also lacks tolerance and tries to tear them apart. Wuthering Heights was also set during a time in which a person?s position in society was everything. In the same way, Juliet was brought up in a family who arranged marriages based on power. However, Cathy decides to conform and marry Edgar, as opposed to Juliet who marries due to passionate love, not so that it would be socially advantageous. Therefore also both the female protagonists are united in their rebellious nature, one is tamed by social conventions; the other takes her life into her own hands. ...read more.

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