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Wuthering Heights - Isabella character study.

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Introduction

WUTHERING HEIGHTS- ENGLISH LANGUAGE COURSEWORK Isabella is not a well developed character in the novel. In many ways she remains a child and many of her reactions are very childish. Her keen wit does not seem to be used to good purpose. She madly falls 'in love' with Heathcliff; this feeling rapidly changing into just as strong sense of hatred. 'he's a lying fiend, a monster and not a human being!.....The single pleasure I imagine is to.....se him dead!' Isabella had much in common with her brother, for they are both products of their class. She is conscious of her breeding and social status, appropriately dignified (until she meets Heathcliff) and in general, temperamentally passive. Everyone liked her, with her yellow hair, delicate indoor complexion, and 'dainty elegance'. Just as Edgar is physically inferior to Heathcliff, she is inferior to Catherine, physically and in personality. Living a socially unnatural life, for her class and wealth entitle her to a wider range of contacts, she wanted a husband to gain independence and conventionally desirable status of a married lady-it is ironic that she makes a most unconventional match. ...read more.

Middle

So you could easily see things as her own fault for deluding herself that Heathcliff was interested in her- she had a wild passionate idea that he would be romantic but unfortunately the reality turned out to be different. Catherine represents wild nature, in both her high, lively spirits and her occasional cruelty, whereas Isabella represents culture and civilization, both in her refinement and in her weakness. You could argue that it is Heathcliff who has behaved badly by mistreating her and that we could feel sorry for her because she is out of her depth and only a silly child. Heathcliff, who is said to never to read books, comments scornfully on the fact that his young bride Isabella had pictures in him a hero of romance. So wildly deluded with this sheltered daughter of Thrushcross grange, she is expected chivalrous devotion to her, and 'unlimited indulgences.' Heathcliff's mockery makes us aware of our own bookish expectations of him, for he his definitely not a hero, and we are warned to avoid Isabella's error in 'forming a fabulous notion of my character.' ...read more.

Conclusion

( If he wakens at the novel's end, it is only physically. His forthright judgement on his action is: .....As to repenting of my injustices, I've done no injustice, and I repent of nothing-I'm too happy, and yet I'm not happy enough.') There could be a variety of reasons for and effects of using Isabella as a narrator. A change of perspective. We got the novel from a variety of voices. The civilised Lockwood, the Christian 'normality' of Nelly and so on. Isabella gives us a change. The romantic ideas that Isabella has are shown to be silly. Could it be that the reader follows her journey of self-discovery through her narration and so we too come to realise the silliness of our romantic ideas of fictional characters like Heathcliff-in flesh/reality, they are monsters, not some romantic fantasy for young women to chase. We follow her journey of self-realisation. Other reasons are to gain our sympathy for her situation, to emphasise her plight but also pathetic enslavement to the romantic ideal. ...read more.

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