• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

In chapter 15 Nelly says "Far better that she should be dead than lingering a burden and a misery - maker to all about her". How far do you agree with Nelly's assessment of Catherine?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

In chapter 15 Nelly says "Far better that she should be dead than lingering a burden and a misery - maker to all about her". How far do you agree with Nelly's assessment of Catherine? Bront�'s presentation of Catherine is a very engaging one on many levels. She causes, directly and indirectly, misery and pain primarily to Heathcliff and Edgar. She can be seen as a "burden and misery - maker". However, you must also remember that during her childhood, Catherine and Heathcliff's relationship is punctuated by nothing but joy and support. Only when faced with the dilemma of choosing marriage for status or for love, does Catherine's relationships begin to alter and change. Nelly's assumed and obviously biased presentation of Catherine also influences the reader's perception especially her use of semantic fields and negative attitude. In death, however, Catherine causes coincidently more pain than she does alive, and so personally, I disagree with Nelly's assessment. Catherine develops from a mischievous little girl, to a materialistic young woman. Her self-centred attitude caused by her lack of attention and love as a child has a huge impact on the relationships she has and how she becomes a misery - maker. Catherine proves this when she says, "... dismiss that apathy... and look rather more anxious about me!" Although bringing joy and happiness to Heathcliff and Edgar, by the end of the novel both men have endured incredible pain by the selfishness of one character and her choice for a husband. Although nowadays Catherine would have been seen as a gold digger, her choice in a Victorian era would have been a perfectly intelligent choice to make. It was acceptable to base marriage on money over love because women didn't inherit anything from their relatives; everything would go to the oldest male person in the family. Therefore to secure her future Catherine chose Edgar, and his status. ...read more.

Middle

Hindley also hurt other characters as a lad: Heathcliff, "He would stand Hindley's blows without winking or shedding a tear" (pg. 46). When Hindley doesn't attend Catherine's funeral he is hurting himself! Hindley became the master of Wuthering Heights and stopped Heathcliff's schooling and forced him to work as a servant in his house, "He drove him from their company to the servants, deprived him of the instructions of the curate, and insisted that he should labour out of doors instead" (pg.52) - this treatment may also have been provoked by Frances (Hindley's wife), who hated the boy as well. Mr Earnshaw in this respect causes much pain indirectly himself, when he brings Heathcliff home with him, because he changes, "the young master had learned to regard his father as an oppressor rather than a friend, and Heathcliff as a usurper of his parent's affections and his privileges." Mrs Earnshaw is not spoken of regularly but does not appear to like the idea of a 'gipsy boy' staying in her home either, "Mrs Earnshaw was ready to fling it out of doors: she did fly up, asking how he could fashion to bring that gipsy brat into the house" (pg. 45) - this quote shows that she is hurt by both men (Heathcliff and Mr Earnshaw) indirectly. Mrs Earnshaw could be prosecuted nowadays for racist discrimination, however in Victorian Times coloured people were lower than children and had no rights. This would have added to the dilemma Catherine had to face - since she had been wealthy and respected all her life, it would have been very difficult to be known as the opposite for the rest of her life even if that did mean marrying for love and not status. Mr Earnshaw injures his daughter (Cathy), by trying to make her obedient, "Nay, Cathy. I cannot love thee; thou'rt worse than thy brother. ...read more.

Conclusion

The effects of marrying Edgar are physically improved when she begins to dress in expensive clothes and jewellery her lexical density also increases. A Victorian reader would respond to this situation in a positive way, because at the time it would be easier to understand her decision to marry Edgar. Whereas a modern reader would probably perceive Cathy as a gold digger, and would encourage her feelings for Heathcliff since nowadays women have been given equal rights and racism has been abolished from society. The modern reader would subconsciously have a bad picture formed of Catherine when she says, "I love Heathcliff but need to marry Edgar". In conclusion I believe that Nelly's assessment of Catherine being "a misery - maker to all about her" is not correct. Catherine has been a joy in parts of the book to all the characters. Only when she is forced to make a decision she finds difficult does she show signs of selfishness, and then in her own discomfort and anger does she infect her surroundings. I don't believe that Catherine is na�ve to the fact that she is the direct source of pain to those she loves, and therefore Nelly's assessment "an unfeeling child", is correct; for Catherine can control her health, emotions and other people. I agree with Nelly to the extent that Catherine is a misery - maker to all about her in the last couple of years of her life. However in death I feel that Catherine causes more pain than when she was alive because both Edgar and Heathcliff are devastated, " I feel that Nelly's assessment of Catherine is unjust because the only person who is free from Catherine's misery - making is Nelly; and Nelly who has caused a fair deal of pain should not be able to make such an unjust evaluation. A more suitable assessment of Catherine would be, "Far better that she should be dead than lingering a burden and a misery - maker to me". ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Emily Bronte section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Emily Bronte essays

  1. How do the characters of Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff and Edgar and Isabella Linton ...

    to abuse, his years of living rough had made him suspicious and wary of people, it made him quiet and reserved, Nelly said about him: 'He complained so seldom... that I really thought him not vindictive: I was deceived completely, as you will hear'.

  2. 'The real tragedy of Catherine and Heathcliff is that their separation is brought about ...

    An example is Edgar's love for Catherine made Catherine love him because of the wealth but she clearly loved Heathcliff more. Fate and family together played an important role as Hindley took Heathcliff out of school so he can stop being friends with her and then their love was broken.

  1. HOW FAR DO YOU SYMPATHIZE WITH HEATHCLIFF?

    civilised and his appearance has smartened up, only to find that Cathy has married Edgar Linton. However this wasn't a shock to Heathcliff because there were talks of this happening before Heathcliff went away, but he still blames Cathy for this betrayal later on in the novel.

  2. Catherine's conversation with Nelly

    She said, "it would degrade me to marry Heathcliff", and that "he shall never know how I love him; and that, not because he's handsome, but because he's more myself than I am". This sentence describes how Catherine believes that she would lead a poor life if she married Heathcliff,

  1. Discuss the importance of the two extracts from Chapters 4 and 26 and how ...

    no conflict between Heathcliff and Edgar, which could result in the punishment of Linton. This shows how Linton is wary of Heathcliff, which suggests that he has something to be scared of. It is obvious that Linton is preoccupied with Heathcliff's mood and there is also a suggestion that he

  2. In which ways does Heathcliff deserve to be hated and in which ways does ...

    Thrushcross Grange is now a house in turmoil. Isabella is depressed from Heathcliff and her brother disowning her, Catherine has shut herself in her room and Edgar stays in the library. Nelly finds Isabella's beloved dog hanged outside. Which was the well doing of Heathcliff.

  1. To what extent do we feel sympathy towards the character of Heathcliff?

    The way he treats Isabella is of great enjoyment for him. 'The more the worms writhe, the more I yearn to crush the entrails.' This is very graphic for someone who is innocent; he finds it thrilling seeing Isabella in despair.

  2. Is Heathcliff a monster, or just misunderstood?

    Importantly, by the end of the novel Heathcliff admits to Nelly that he no longer has any interest in violence. It's not so much that he is satisfied with that, more that he is just over it. As he tells her: "It is a poor conclusion, is it not .

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work