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Examine the relationship of Catherine and Heathcliff as presented in the first nine chapters of the novel

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Introduction

English Essay 7/10/01 Zenas Yiu Examine the relationship of Catherine and Heathcliff as presented in the first nine chapters of the novel The relationship of Catherine and Heathcliff is central to the story of Wuthering Heights. Most events in the novel stem from this relationship and it plays a crucial part in getting Bronte's ideas across to the readers. Their physical and social difference makes their relationship fascinating and their different characteristics the more so. Their relationship was first hinted at when Lockwood reads Catherine's diary. She exclaims 'Poor Heathcliff' showing her sympathetic attitude to Heathcliff differentiated treatment - "won't let him sit with us, nor eat with us any more...he and I must not play together". Here, in the early stages of the novel, Bronte gives us a glimpse of their close relationship as childhood playmates. She elaborates further on in the novel via the mouth of Nelly Dean. Nelly first mentions the start of their relationship as a perpetually physical bond - "The greatest punishment we could invent for her was to keep her separate from him." ...read more.

Middle

The turning point came in the relationship when they got caught at Thrushcross Grange. His love for Catherine is clarified as he recounts the adventures of Thrushcross Grange to Nelly - "...We laughed outright at the petted things, we did despise them! When would you catch me wishing to have what Catherine wanted?" Although Heathcliff might not know it himself, it was a declaration of his love for Catherine, showing that his care for Cathy exceeded that for himself. Another testament to their strong bond is their shared attitude of the Lintons. They do not understand the world of Thrushcross Grange, and therefore they both think lowly of the Lintons' behaviour. However, their shared view on such things changed considerably when they were separated from each other. Hindley's intentions were clear when he deliberately sent Cathy to Thrushcross Grange, separately her from Heathcliff both physically and socially. When Cathy came back to Wuthering Heights, she appeared to be a different person - "...a very dignified person, with brown ringlets falling from the cover of a feathered beaver, and a long cloth habit...a grand plaid silk frock, white trousers, and burnished shoes...". ...read more.

Conclusion

and mine (souls) are the same, and Linton's is as different as a moonbeam from lightning, or frost from fire." The idea of Cathy and Heathcliff being one soul is repeated later on - "I am Heathcliff - he's always, always in my mind." However, this love is tinted by her decision to marry Edgar. Her reason for choosing Linton over Heathcliff borders on being ridiculous - "if I marry Linton, I can aid Heathcliff to rise, and place him out of my brother's power." This bears a touch of self-deceiving attitude and springs from Catherine's indecision to choose from the two. By adding in practical complications in the relationship between Cathy and Heathcliff, Bronte stresses the symbiotic relationship between them and their love, which cannot be destroyed by Hindley's attempted physical separation or Cathy's marriage to Edgar. In just the first nine chapters of the book, Bronte has laid down strong hints to Cathy's life thereafter in her contradiction between her symbiotic relationship with Heathcliff and attraction to Edgar. Her feelings towards Heathcliff overshades that of Edgar and it is this unique and frustrating double relationship that inevitably leads to her death. The clash and conflict between the two make Wuthering Heights a passionate read. ...read more.

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