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How do the characters of Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff and Edgar and Isabella Linton reflect the environment in which they were brought up? How are these characteristics revealed in either chapter 8, 10 or 11?

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Introduction

How do the characters of Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff and Edgar and Isabella Linton reflect the environment in which they were brought up? How are these characteristics revealed in either chapter 8, 10 or 11? Cathy was brought up in a wild and harsh place, the Yorkshire moors, in an isolated farmhouse set on top of a wind blasted hill: Wuthering Heights. Dark and brooding in appearance Lockwood describes it in chapter 1 as 'strong: the narrow windows are set deeply in the wall, and the corners defended with large jutting stones.' There is also 'a quantity of grotesque carving lavished over the front.' Inside in the main room is the huge fireplace and 'a vast oak dresser' reaching up to the exposed, dark-beamed roof, 'a frame of wood laden with oatcakes and clusters of legs of beef, mutton and ham' and 'sundry villainous old guns' on the chimney. Around this house the characters entire lives are based, the dark timber, the oppressive sullen blackness of the place. Wuthering Heights, ancestral home of the Earnshaws, here they are born, live and die. Catherine's personality was formed in these surroundings, the bleak, desolate moorland, the hills rolling out for miles and fading into distant nothingness. ...read more.

Middle

It was more than a household it was a community of its own. Even so it was far less isolated than the Heights, the Lintons themselves were far more involved in society. Guests and parties, an extremely rare event at Wuthering Heights, were commonplace at the Grange. Although the Lintons are the neighbours of the Earnshaws they live in very different environments, especially after old Earnshaw's death and the descent of Wuthering Heights into Hindley's tyranny. The little Lintons: Edgar and Isabella were brought up in a genteel world, a cosy cuddly place where they were waited on by household servants, loved dearly by their parents, went to high class parties, mixed with some of the wealthiest and most powerful people of the day and were never exposed to anything bad or ugly, obscene, harsh or brutal, abuse, violence, cruelty, destruction, hard work. They did not know what hardship or poverty or anguish was because they had neither seen it nor experienced it. The result was a pair of spoiled children, immature brats in Heathcliff's eyes, who fought over nothing, cried over nothing and knew nothing about the real world. Easily frightened, spineless, lazy little babies who 'fancied the world was made for their accommodation'. ...read more.

Conclusion

The household seems destined to destruction from within by Hindley with his drinking and gambling. He 'gave himself up to reckless dissipation'. Cathy and Heathcliff seem fated to unhappiness as well: Cathy clearly has ambitions to climb the social ladder by befriending the Lintons, she wants the rich and comfortable lifestyle they are offering instead of the abuse and neglect she is receiving at the Heights, even though she knows they are totally incompatible as friends, never mind relatives. Heathcliff, by now rapidly losing his self respect and esteem, becomes ever more emotionally dependant on Cathy. As everything else falls apart around him, Cathy is the one thing he holds on to. Although Cathy is equally in love with him, she knows that Heathcliff in his present state is useless to her ambitious designs. Heathcliff can see that the only possible outcome of a union between Cathy and Edgar, which seems inevitable now that they have 'forsaken the disguise of friendship and confessed themselves lovers', can only be unhappiness for Cathy and himself. As for Heathcliff, as he 'sinks beneath his former level' and 'acquires a slouching gait and ignoble look' his future looks worse than Hareton's, a miserable life at Wuthring Heights under Hindley and a descent into ever deeper depths of heathen barbarism. Especially now his only friend and soul mate, the last check on his character, is to leave him. ...read more.

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