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Wuthering Heights English Coursework: How does Bronte convey a sense of Heathcliffs character? - WJEC English Lit.

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Introduction

Wuthering Heights English Coursework: How does Bronte convey a sense of Heathcliff's character? Bronte depicts Heathcliff differently to us throughout different stages of the book. Heathcliff's character changes in both the sense of his attitude to other people, and his overall appearance. The character we see in the present is very different to the young Heathcliff we see. In Chapter 1, Mr Lockwood is narrating, so we see Heathcliff through the eyes of a stranger. This means that Mr Lockwood's depiction of Heathcliff is unbiased. At the point Lockwood meets Heathcliff, Cathy has already died as have Hindley and Linton. However, Hareton and Catherine are alive. The fact that these characters are living/dead, must be taken into consideration when we evaluate Heathcliff's character as their death/birth may have had an impact on the development of his character. The fact that Lockwood is narrating gives us an unbiased evaluation of Heathcliff as a character, due to the fact Lockwood doesn't know what Heathcliff used to be like. This means that any comment Lockwood makes about Heathcliff, is most likely an accurate representation of Heathcliff. For example, where Lockwood calls Heathcliff 'reserved', Lockwood's comment is based upon what he sees in front of him, so we learn a lot about Heathcliff's character through Lockwood's narration. Lockwood describes Heathcliff as his 'troublesome neighbour'. This suggests that Heathcliff portrays a sense of mischief. Throughout the chapter, Lockwood keeps stating that Heathcliff is even more socially inept that himself, this is important as it highlights to us just how solitary Heathcliff is. The solitary view we see of Heathcliff leads us as readers to want to know why he is acting in this unsociable manner. The word troublesome implies a sense of danger, which we find enticing as it conveys a message of more trouble to come, thus making us wanting to read more and making Heathcliff's character highly complex. ...read more.

Middle

By making this comparison, we learn a lot about Heathcliff's character and the way he is very compelling and the complete opposite to the 'good' character of Edgar. Throughout the passage, Cathy talks about Heathcliff as if he was a drug, something addictive that she NEEDS. We see that she truly can't live without him here: 'my love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath: as source of little visible delight but necessary'. This shows us that her entire life is built on the foundations of her relationship with Heathcliff; therefore we can see that Heathcliff's character is one that people remain loyal to. She refers to Heathcliff as being her ('i AM Heathcliff'), and that 'my greatest miseries in this world have been Heathcliff's miseries'. This shows us that because she is a part of him and vice versa, she is addicted to him and if he goes, a part of her does to. This makes Heathcliff seem to be dangerous to get involved with, because of the addiction he has caused within Cathy and the way she is dependent on Heathcliff for survival. Heathcliff's character is put across here as being someone that once you love you can't live without, whereas Edgar is portrayed as just a trophy husband who means nothing and is just for show. The way Bronte compares the two characters very clearly, means we can see the distinguishable differences between them both, which highlights Heathcliff's character even more. In Chapter 16, Cathy dies. Nelly narrates through the events that follow her death. Nelly says that she 'wished yet feared, to find him (Heathcliff)'. Nelly say's this once Cathy dies, and Nelly is attempting to inform Heathcliff of the sad news. This quote is significant because it shows us that Bronte trying to portray Heathcliff as being fearsome. It is also important because Nelly is worried about telling him, as she knows he will be upset as the relationship between the two of them was very powerful. ...read more.

Conclusion

Heathcliff and Catherine's relationship is complicated. Heathcliff's attitude towards Catherine is one on pure hatred and malevolence. He is exceedingly blunt to her, with the marry Linton or leave you father to die without you situation. Heathcliff also is plain mean; he says he doesn't 'love her' and that he 'doesn't care for her tears'. Heathcliff also tries to degrade Catherine; he says that Edgar will think she's gone off for some 'amusement' and that 'it's normal to desire amusement.' This shows us that Heathcliff's aim is to make people feel bad for the actions they have taken, but it also hints at his relationship with Cathy, Catherine's mother. This shows that he perhaps still makes a link between mother and daughter, but wishes he didn't which is why he is being so cruel to Catherine. Catherine's attitude towards Heathcliff is slightly softer. Catherine is like her mother in the sense that she believes there is good in Heathcliff, this shows there must still be enough of Heathcliff's original character left, for Catherine to feel that way. In conclusion, Bronte conveys Heathcliff's character differently throughout different points in the book. We see the gradual evilness build up inside him. We notice things that make us think that it could possibly lead to something in the future, for instance young Heathcliff blackmailing Hindley. He does exactly the same thing later on in life, but on a grander scale. By using this technique, Bronte has the audience hooked so that they will find out whether their predictions are going to be correct. Heathcliff's character is conveyed using non-naturalistic devices as well, like pathetic fallacy and supernatural tendencies. This makes the whole book more interesting, and bold. Heathcliff's character goes through a cycle, from a slightly dishevelled child to an evil old man. By doing this, we learn about how and why he has turned out the way he has, which helps us understand his motives. By Hayley Toms ...read more.

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