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Wuthering Heights - 'Throughout most of the novel, Heathcliff's darker nature surfaces as the reaction to a world of social conventions from which he feels alienated from.

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Introduction

Wuthering Heights 'Throughout most of the novel, Heathcliff's darker nature surfaces as the reaction to a world of social conventions from which he feels alienated from.' Paying particular attention to the social and historical dimensions underpinning the novel, discuss this view. This novel is of extremes predominantly containing a serious study of human problems such as love and hate, or revenge and jealousy. Lack of love is what caused his dark exhilaration. This also formed the character of Heathcliff; dark, menacing and brooding. He was unloved from the beginning as his biological parents abandoned him. Love can create a good person and lack of love can corrupt that same person. How Heathcliff emerged as a character depended all on the amount of love he was receiving. If he was to have had a true environment of love instead of a constant rejection he could have become a respectable and civilized gentleman. Wickedness, love, and strength marks Heathcliff's many-faceted existence. His dark actions are produced by distortions of his natural personality. Although Heathcliff was once subjected to vicious racism due to his dark skin colour and experienced wearisome orphan years in Liverpool, this distortion has already began when Mr. Earnshaw brought him to Wuthering Heights, a 'dirty, ragged, black-haired child'. Already he was injured to hardship and uncomplainingly accepted suffering. Heathcliff was not well received and indeed rejected by the household when Mr. ...read more.

Middle

She loved him a lot but then abandoned him and broke his heart by marrying Edgar who represents more of the imposed order of society, the conventional and cultivated. He is the kind of person to whom she can depend and rely upon any situation that may arise. That mistaken life path that Catherine chose to take is what I think hurt Heathcliff most. Especially as they had a promise of growing up together us 'rude as savages,' and then returns from Thrushcross Grange as a 'very dignified person.' The only person whom he loved abandoned him and her true nature completely for someone with wealth, position and 'fine clothes and flattery.' It was that tragedy which was when all passion burst forth and all was lost. Having such an obsession towards Catherine, her hasty decision lead to insecurity, rage, jealousy and meanness of character. This division within themselves helps them recognize their need for each other. This endurance of physical, mental and spiritual division whilst alive, allows them only tragically to experience when in death, complete entity within themselves. It was not until the arrival of her death that she willingly admits on how her 'greatest punishment' that could be bestowed upon her is the separation from Heathcliff. It is here when she also surrender the truth of her love. His passion for Catherine involved more than love it was obsession, which solidified more as he reached maturity. ...read more.

Conclusion

Heathcliff has never been able to fit into the social conventions of that time and tries the best to do so. When he asks Nelly Dean to make him clean and smart he is laughed at by the Earnshaws and Lintons who were very cruel to him. No one treated him nicely and didn't seem to care about him. They thought that someone so dark skinned as him and as a gypsy would never be able to be like them. Heathcliff then reached the point where he has had it and eventually disappears for three years to change his own life and win Catherine over with his successes. Doing this he also proves everyone wrong as the dark skinned gypsy could be a gentleman in dress and having manners. From the day he arrived he chose to fight a battle that no one would attempt to begin all because how he was maltreated by everyone. Heathcliff has been lead to treat people with contempt and behaves antisocially. He is merciless in destroying their lives as no one ever loved him and besides, they destroyed his. So now he is diabolical in exacting punishment on those who have harmed him. It must be assumed that his obsession with Catherine, yearning to be with her, and his longing for death was what ultimately killed him. It is amazing to see how love and the social conventions that seemed to be so important in those times lead Heathcliff to become such a madman having wild moods and unpredictable actions. ...read more.

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