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Discuss Nelly Dean's account of Heathcliff's Arrival in terms of what it reveals about the contrasts Between Hindley and Catherine and what it Reveals about Heathcliff's character As a boy.

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Introduction

Gregory Andrews 12S Discuss Nelly Dean's account of Heathcliff's Arrival in terms of what it reveals about the contrasts Between Hindley and Catherine and what it Reveals about Heathcliff's character As a boy. In Chapter four, Nelly Dean begins her narration of the novel. Lockwood, who is still confined to his bed at the time, begins a conversation with Nelly that leads to her detailing the events of Catherine and Heathcliff's childhood, including Heathcliff's initial appearance at Wuthering Heights and the subsequent events leading to his inclusion into the family. Mr Earnshaw left on a business trip to Liverpool, promising to bring his children gifts on his return. When he does return he brings with him an orphan boy, Heathcliff. The children's hopes are dashed, as the presents that were promised to them have been broken or forgotten to accommodate Heathcliff. From early in the chapter we can tell that there is a definite dislike for Heathcliff on the part of Nelly, who has no real reason to dislike him except for a lack of tolerance and possible increase in workload. This comes across quite plainly in Nelly's narrative. Hindley and initially Cathy share this dislike for him, as he is leeching their father's attention from them. Heathcliff's initial description does not paint a positive image of him. ...read more.

Middle

This change is probably brought about by him having to adapt to a new environment, which is encouraged by him owning Earnshaw's favour over Hindley, which allows him to command some power. We learn that Earnshaw once had a son called Heathcliff who died at a young age, so when he chooses to call Heathcliff the same name, we get the distinct impression that Earnshaw's compassion for the child is not completely selfless. Heathcliff is essentially being used as a replacement, giving Earnshaw another chance to be a father to the son he lost. "...They had christened him 'Heathcliff'; it was the name of a son who died in childhood..." This means that he seems to greatly favour Heathcliff, as he doesn't want to see any flaw in Heathcliff, as in his eyes it reflects the same things on the son he lost, which he cannot cope with doing. "He took to Heathcliff strangely, believing all he said..." Heathcliff is not at all welcome in the eyes of Hindley who calls him a 'beggarly interloper', as if he is trying to usurp Hindley's position as Earnshaw's son, trying to steal his affections, to almost replace Hindley. As Earnshaw chooses not to fault Heathcliff, his aggression is in turn directed at Hindley, which leads to him harbouring a lot of resentment for both of them. ...read more.

Conclusion

Even at this young age he has much adoration for Cathy, priding her above others and not seeking to hurt her. He comes from a very empty background, both financially and emotionally, which would explain how his unique way of forming relationships with people in later life, especially with Cathy as he is able to focus all this pent up emotion on her, and he doesn't fully understand how to. His unfeeling behaviour to begin with is very uncharacteristic of any youth, especially Heathcliff, suggesting that his past life was hard, and it for a time, continued to be at Wuthering Heights. Once given the chance flourish he has the opportunity to vent this malice in the only way he knows how, like in later life. The contrast between Hindley and Cathy only begins to present itself when they accept that Heathcliff is going to be a staying with them. At this point they branch off in completely opposite directions. Cathy takes Heathcliff off on a much more positive route, becoming his friend and willing to accept him into the family. Hindley has a flatly negative response to him, and when he realises that he's going to be alone in his negative feelings, and often get punished for him, it instils bitterness in him. There is a deep felt hatred between the two of them, whereas there is a strong bond of friendship between him and Cathy, showing how different their personalities are, even though they are siblings. ...read more.

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