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Literature: Wuthering Heights

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In the novel "Wuthering Heights" by Emily Brontė, many relevant
themes were portrayed. In this essay, I will be discussing the five most
poignant themes, which in my opinion are "Good versus
Evil","Revenge", "Status & Education","Love"
and "Selfishness". I feel that all these themes are equally important,
and in the following paragraphs, I will attempt to discuss their impact on the
reader and to the novel as a whole. Emily Brontė developed the main characters
very vividly. From the beginning of the novel, I was aware of a sense of spirit,
feelings and emotions. As the novel unraveled, I began to emphasize with the
innocent victims (Hareton, Linton, Cathy, etc.), and I had a clear vision of
what was happening in the homes and between the two families. It was very clear
to me why Heathcliff and Edgar became so hateful and vengeful; however, I felt
very angry at the cycle of abuse and misery that continued through the
generations. It seemed like nobody in either family was ever able to find peace
and harmony, and everybody who ever had any ties to the families were affected
and displayed certain attitudes and emotional afflictions. I think the overall
theme is that good eventually overcomes evil (or love is stronger than hate). In
addition, with the emphasis on spirituality and death, the reader's focus turns
to the role of God in determining the happiness or misery of our eternal soul.
It was very frustrating to read about the pain and abuse the characters were
inflicting on each other, It was evident that the Pg. 2 prejudices and attitudes
of the first generation were being passed down to the next. Young Cathy, Linton
and Hareton were all subjected to and expected to conform to the anger,
prejudices and attitudes of their families. The animosity between the two
families was being forced upon the children, and therefore could have continued
forever. However, it was very enlightening when Cathy and Hareton were finally
able to become friends and then marry. The love that had been repressed for so
long, beginning with Catherine and Hareton, was finally given a chance to
blossom. This turn of events gave me hope that good can overcome evil, and love
can be attained even in the most evil environments. Revenge is the most dominant
theme of the second half of the novel. Heathcliff first believes that if he can
avenge the death of Catherine, he will somehow grow closer to her. However, the
exact opposite occurs. When Heathcliff gives up on his plan for revenge, he is
soon reunited with Catherine in eternal bliss. Ignorance and Education were very
prominent in the beginning of the book. Especially when Heathcliff was first
introduced to the family. He was a poor orphan, with little or no education. The
rest of the family at Wuthering Heights treated him like a second-class citizen.
Heathcliff was resented, mocked and abused if he attempted to improve himself in
any way. When Heathcliff returned to Wuthering Heights, the abuse Heathcliff
suffered obviously scarred him, so the cycle of abuse continued when he
inflicted worse treatment on Hareton Earnshaw. He forced him to work in the home
as a common servant, belittled him, and psychologically abused him by constantly
badgering him. When the Linton's are introduced to the reader, it is readily
apparent that the family has a higher social status and is more educated than
the residents at Wuthering Heights are. Pg. 3 Even though I wouldn't consider
"Wuthering Heights" to be a romantic novel, love was a very important
theme. Brontė addresses the bond between Catherine and Heathcliff in a
spiritual and supernatural manner. Their love is spiritual rather than physical,
and although they seemed to be soul mates their love was never appeased. As
children, Catherine and Heathcliff had a bond that grew out of similar needs.
They grew up protecting and trying to shelter each other from the abuse from
Hindley, and consequently they developed an eternal friendship, love and
affinity. They were soul mates even as children. Brontė expands the notion of
eternal love, by creating a supernatural aspect in the story, and this is
masterfully illustrated when Heathcliff contacts Catherine's spirit after she
dies. Their souls are eternally joined, and Heathcliff cannot live in this realm
without her, only their souls joined together make one. Heathcliff eventually
dies because he has to reunite his soul to Catherine's. Selfishness was first
introduced when Mr. Earnshaw brought Heathcliff, home to Wuthering Heights. In
the beginning, Heathcliff was treated equally as a member of the family, but
after Mr. Earnshaw's death, everybody abused him (except Catherine) in any
manner or regard they wanted. As a result of this treatment, Heathcliff grew up
to be the most selfish person in the family. He was hateful, spiteful and very
vengeful. In addition, he lost respect and compassion for people, and completely
disregarded others' emotions and needs. He devastated Catherine when he
disappeared, and shattered Isabella when he married her to spite Edgar. When his
only son Linton returned to Wuthering Heights, he withheld affection, medical
attention and had no sympathy for Linton's loss of his mother. Heathcliff then
coerced young Cathy to marry Linton, therefore fulfilling his own greedy and
vengeful agenda of acquiring Thrushcross Grange. At this end, he basically
caused Linton's death through neglect and malfeasance. Pg. 4 Catherine's selfish
character was depicted when she wanted both Edgar and Heathcliff at the same
time. Catherine wanted Edgar for his status and Heathcliff for his love. Her
selfishness caused years of grief for both Edgar and Heathcliff, and
consequently she died forlorn and remiss of the true love that was destined to
be hers. Overall, I felt that "Wuthering Heights" was an excellent
novel, and was very well written. The themes Emily Brontė introduced were well
depicted, organized, established and resolved and/or analyzed. Emily Brontė was
a magnificent author, and her style, use of words and ideas make "Wuthering
Heights" a true classic. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, and would
recommend it to anyone.
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