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Social Classes in Wuthering Heights.

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Social Classes in Wuthering Heights Wuthering Heights, a gothic novel written by Emily Bronte in the early nineteenth century, describes the conflict and the passionate bond between Catherine Earnshaw and her rough but romantic lover, Heathcliff. In the beginning of the book, Heathcliff, an orphan is made a part of the Earnshaw family. This adoption is not readily accepted by the older brother, Hindley, who sees the new child as a rival to his claim of dominance in the family. However, Catherine, the sister is quickly attracted to young Heathcliff, so different from anyone she had ever known. As the two grow older, Heathcliff finds himself falling in love with Catherine. Mr. Earnshaw soon dies, leaving Hindley in charge of the Wuthering Heights manor. Hindley treats Heathcliff abusively as revenge for taking his spot in the family. Heathcliff accidentally overhears a conversation between Catherine and Nelly (the maid) where Catherine says that it would degrade her to marry Heathcliff. After hearing this, Heathcliff strives to make himself more acceptable to Catherine by moving up in the social system. ...read more.


However, he does this by cheating and taking advantage of people. Heathcliff takes advantage of Hindley's state of alcoholism and takes over Wuthering Heights. Heathcliff also takes advantage of Edgar Linton's will my making young Catherine (the daughter of Catherine Earnshaw and Edgar Linton) marry Linton (the son of Heathcliff and Isabella Linton) so he could acquire Thrushcross Grange (where Edgar Linton lives). Bronte seems to have mixed opinions of the lower class by characterizing Heathcliff positively and negatively. Lockwood, the narrator of the novel, describes Heathcliff as "...a dark-skinned gipsy in aspect, in dress and manners a gentleman, that is, as much a gentleman as many a country squire: rather slovenly, perhaps, yet not looking amiss with his negligence, because he has an erect and handsome figure-and rather morose." (page 3, lines 24 - 28). Lockwood ponders what Heathcliff is, whether he is a gentleman or a gipsy, whether he is of importance. Heathcliff, crazed with grief, visits Catherine's grave 18 years after she has passed on. ...read more.


She wants the characters of Catherine and Heathcliff to come together without these constraints on their love. She shows that England's rigid and highly structured class system is not the right answer to society. In the end, Heathcliff's story ends tragically. He gains the wealth needed to achieve social standing, but in so doing he destroys himself and his family, including Catherine's daughter whose own happiness he disregards. Instead of the love that he wanted so much, he finds that others now fear him and his anger. Bronte again is telling the readers a moral lesson, to follow the heart and one's deepest desires, ignoring what society tells you is the only 'right' way to lead your life. Only in death can Heathcliff and Catherine be free again as when they were children, to love one another no matter what others think of them. She suggests that in death they have at last freed themselves from society's restrictions, and can finally be together again, walking along the moors, as they did when they were children, and ignorant of the unspoken 'rules' which would keep them apart in life. Katie Nagy Wuthering Heights paper May 27 2003 ...read more.

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