Love and Revenge in Bronte’s “Wuthering Heights”
Overthrew novel, which features an unusually Intricate plot, traces the effects that unbridled hate and love have on two families through three generations. Ellen Dean, who serves both families, tells Mr.. Lockwood, the new tenant at Thrush cross Grange, the bizarre stories of the house’s family, the Lint’s, and of the Earns haws of Withering Heights. Her narrative weaves the four parts of the novel, all dealing with the fate of the two families, into the core story of Catherine and Heathenish. The two lovers manipulate various members of both families simply to inspire and torment each other in life and death.
Heathenish dominates the novel. Ruthless and tyrannical, he represents a new kind of man, free of all restraints and dedicated totally to the satisfaction of his deepest desires no matter what the cost to others or himself. He meets his match in Catherine, who Is also his Inspiration. Her visionary dreams and bold identification with the powers of storm and wind at Withering Heights are precisely what make Heathenish worship her. When Catherine betrays Heathenish by marrying Ralph Linton, Heathenish feels she has betrayed the freedom they shared as children on the moor. He exacts a terrible revenge. However, he is no mere Gothic villain.
Somehow, the reader sympathizes with this powerful figure who is possessed by his beloved. Introduction 1801, Mr.. Lockwood became a tenant at Treacherous Grange, an old farm owned by a Mr.. Heathenish of Withering Heights. In the early days of his tenancy, he made two calls on his landlord. On his first visit, he met Heathenish, an abrupt, unsocial man who was surrounded by a pack of snarling, barking dogs. When he went to Withering Heights a second time, he met the other members of the strange household: a rude, unkempt but handsome young man named Hearten Awareness ND a pretty young woman who was the widow of Headstall’s son.
During his vaults, snow began to fall. It covered the moor paths and made travel impossible for a stranger in that bleak countryside. Heathenish refused to let one of the servants go with him as a guide but said that if he stayed the night he could share Harpoon’s bed or that of Joseph, a sour, canting old servant. When Mr.. Lockwood tried to borrow Josephs lantern for the homeward journey, the old fellow set the dogs on him, to the amusement of Hearten and Heathenish. The visitor was finally rescued by Zilch, the cook, who hid him in an unused chamber of the house. In 1801, Mr..
Lockwood became a tenant at Treacherous Grange, an old farm owned by a Mr.. Heathenish of Withering Heights. In the early days of his tenancy, he made two calls on his landlord. On his first visit, he met Hateful, an abrupt, unsocial man who was surrounded by a pack of snarling, barking dogs. When he went to Withering Heights a second time, he met the other members of the strange household: a rude, woman who was the widow of Heathenishly son. During his visit, snow began to fall. It covered the moor paths and made travel Lockwood tried to borrow Josephs lantern for the homeward Journey, the old fellow
Form and Countersigning Heights is a story of passionate love that encompasses two generations of two families, the Awareness and the Linton. It is a framed tale narrated by two different characters, one with intimate knowledge of the families (Newly Dean) and one unacquainted with their history. The first narrator is the stranger, Mr.. Lockwood. A wealthy, educated man, Lockwood has chosen to rent a house in the isolated moors, saying that he has wearied of society. Yet his actions belie his words: He pursues a friendship with Heathenish despite the latter’s objections and seeks information about all the citizens of the neighborhood.
Lockwood is steeped in the conventions of his class, and he consistently misjudges the people he meets at Withering Heights. He assumes that Hearten Awareness, the rightful owner of Withering Heights, is a servant and that Catherine Linton is a demure wife to Heathenish. His statements, even about himself, are untrustworthy, requiring the corrective of Newly Dean’s narrative. Lockwood cultivates Newly Dean’s friendship when a long illness, brought on by his foolish attempt to visit Heathenish during a snowstorm, keeps him bedridden for weeks. Newly has been reared with the Awareness and has been a servant in both schooled.
She has observed much of the central drama between the two families, but her statements, too, are colored by prejudice. Newly dislikes Catherine Awareness, who behaved selfishly and treated the servants badly at times, and she supports Edgar Linton because he was a gentleman. Patterns of dualism and opposition are played out between the first and second generations as well. Heathenish, the physically strongest father, has the weakest child, Linton Heathenish. By dying young, Linton dissolves the triangular relationship that has so plagued the older generation, undermining Heathenishly influence.
Hearten Awareness, abused like Heathenish and demonstrating surprising similarities of character, nevertheless retains some sense of moral behavior and is not motivated by revenge. Catherine Rawness’s daughter, as willful and spirited as her mother, does not have to make the same difficult choice between passionate love and socially sanctioned marriage. Instead, Catherine Linton and Hearten Awareness are left to help each other and inherit the positive legacies of the past, enjoying both the social amenities of Treacherous Grange and the natural environment of Withering Heights. Of the meaning of romance.
By contrasting the passionate, natural love of Catherine and Heathenish with the socially constructed forms of courtship and marriage, Emily Bronze makes an argument in favor of individual choice. Catherine and Heathenish both assert that they know the other as themselves, that they are an integral part of each other, and that one’s death will diminish the other immeasurably. This communion, however, is doomed to failure while they live because of social constraints. Heathenishly unknown parentage, his poverty, and his lack of education make him an unsuitable partner for a gentlewoman, no matter how liberated her expressions of independence.
Bronze suggests the possibility of reunion after death when local residents believe they see the ghosts of Heathenish and Catherine together, but this notion is explicitly denied by Lockwood last assertion in the novel, that the dead slumber quietly. The profound influence of Romantic poetry on Bronze’s literary imagination is evident in her development of Heathenish as a Byronic hero. This characterization contributes to the impossibility of any happy union of Catherine and Heathenish while they live. Heathenish looms larger than life, subject to violent extremes of emotion, amenable to either education nor nurturing.
Like Frankincense’s monster, he craves love and considers revenge the only fit Justice when he is rejected by others. Catherine, self- involved and prone to emotional storms, has Just enough sense of self-preservation to recognize Heathenishly faults, including his amorality. Choosing to marry Edgar Linton is to choose psychic fragmentation and separation from her other self, but she sees no way to reconcile her psychological need for wholeness with the physical support and emotional stability that she requires.
Unable to earn a living, dependent n a brother who is squandering the family fortune, she is impelled to accept the social privileges and luxuries that Edgar offers. Yet conventional forms of romance provide no clear guide to successful marriage either; both Edgar and his sister, Isabella, suffer by acting on stereotypical notions of love. Edgar does not know Catherine in any true sense, and his attempts to control her force her subversive self-destruction. Isabella, fascinated by the Byronic qualities with which Heathenish is so richly endowed, believes that she really loves him and becomes a willing victim in his scheme of revenge.
What remains is a paradoxical tenement about the nature and value of love and a question about whether any love can transcend social and natural barriers. Another theme that Bronze examines is the effect of abuse and brutality on human nature. The novel contains minimal examples of nurturing, and most instruction to children is of the negative kind that Joseph provides with his lectures threatening damnation. Children demonstrably suffer from a lack of love from their parents, whose attention alternates between total neglect and physical threats. The novel is full of violence, exemplified by the dreams that Lockwood has when he stays in
Withering Heights. After being weakened by a nosebleed which occurs when Heathenishly dogs attack him, Lockwood spends the night in Catherine Rawness’s old a congregation in church, then of a small girl, presumably Catherine, who is trying to enter the chamber’s window. Terrified, he rubs her wrist back and forth on a broken windowpane until he is covered in blood. These dreams anticipate further violence: Handle’s drunken assaults on his son and animals, Catering’s bloody capture by the Linton’ bulldog, Edger’s blow to Heathenishly neck, and Heathenishly mad head-banging when he learns of Catering’s death.
Heathenish never recovers from the neglect and abuse that he has experienced as a child; all that motivates him in adulthood is revenge and a philosophy that the weak deserve to be crushed. Hearten presents the possibility that degraded character can be redeemed and improved through the twin forces of education and love, yet this argument seems little more than a way of acknowledging the popular cultural stereotype and lacks the conviction that Bronze reveals when she focuses on the negative effects of brutality. A third significant theme of Withering Heights is the power of the natural setting.
Emily Bronze loved the wildness of the moors and incorporated much of her affection into her novel. Catherine and Heathenish are most at one with each other when they are outdoors. The freedom that they experience is profound; not only have they escaped Handle’s anger, but they are free from social restraints and expectations as well. When Catering’s mind wanders before her death, she insists on opening the windows to breathe the wind off the moors, and she believes herself to be under Pensions Crag with Heathenish.
Her fondest memories are of the times on the moors; the enclosed environment of Treacherous Grange seems a petty prison. In contrast to Catherine and Heathenish, other characters prefer the indoors and crave the protection that the houses afford. Lockwood is dependent on the comforts of home and hearth, and the Linton are portrayed as weaklings because of their upbringing in a sheltered setting. This method of delineating character by identifying with nature is another aspect of Emily Bronze’s inheritance from the Romantic poets. Themes and Meaningless books have been scrutinized as closely as Withering Heights.
It has been analyzed from every psychological perspective; it has been described as a spiritual or religious novel. Broadly speaking, it is the story of an antihero, Heathenish, and his attempt to steal Withering Heights from its rightful owners, Catherine and Handled Awareness. Thus, in this complex story of fierce passions, Heathenish is portrayed as a cuckoo, who succeeds in dispossessing the legitimate heirs to Withering Heights. His revenge is the driving force behind the plot, though he betrays occasional glimpses of affection for Hearten, the young man whom he has ruined. Withering” is a dialect word descriptive of the fierceness of the Yorkshire climate, with its “atmospheric tumult. The title of the novel refers not only to the farm house and its inhabitants but also to the effect that Heathenishly desire for Cathy has on him and those around him. As the story progresses, his nature becomes successively educated and wealthy-the meetings with Cathy further lacerate his soul and bring ruin to all those around him. Heathenishly ultimate revenge is to make Hearten, Handle’s son, suffer as he did. “Withering,” “tumult,” and “stunted growth” apply equally to nature and humans in this novel.
Yet no hatred as powerful as Heathenishly can sustain itself; it burns too fiercely. When his desire for vengeance has run its course, Heathenish achieves his greatest wish-to be united with his beloved Catherine. This reunion can take place only in the grave and the spirit world beyond it. During Heathenishly life, Withering Heights was a hell; it will never become a heaven, but as the second generation of Awareness and Linton children grow up free of Heathenishly corrupting influence, Emily Bronze suggests, a spiritual rebirth is possible.
Optimism peeps through her dark vision. Conclusion meaning of Heathenishly exultation in death can be clarified by the one occasion when he displays that same emotion in life: Handle’s funeral. At that time, Newly observes “something like exultation in [Heathenishly] aspect” (p. 230), and the reason for it is obvious: triumphant revenge against the pain and humiliation that Handled made him suffer in childhood. This link between exultation and revenge implies that Heathenishly own death also concerns revenge against pain and humiliation that he has been made to suffer.
But this time, the victim of revenge is none other than himself–or, more precisely, as we shall see, his own life. By allowing obsession with the Ghost to usurp the awareness necessary to sustain his own life, Heathenish avenges himself on the humiliating sense of neglect that life made him suffer. He makes death signify his rejection of life as unworthy of attention. His “life- like gaze” (p. 411) in death views the living with the same “sneer” of contempt with which Unloved once regarded him. The relationship between Heathenish and Catherine thrives as long as vulnerability to the same domestic source of Unloved (I. . , Handled) unites them. Entry into adulthood frees them from that environment, yet even greater discord follows. Each meets the other in mere poignancy. Heathenish reproaches Catherine for abandoning him: “Catherine . I know you have treated me infernally–infernally! ” (p. 138). Catherine is Just as convinced that Heathenish has abandoned her: “You have killed me and thrives on it” (p. 195). Yet in the midst of this embittered opposition, each protests passionately that he or she loves the other–and only the other. It could not be otherwise.
Even as a married couple, the result would have been the same. Without a third party on whom to blame the pain of rejection, Heathenish and Catherine are mode both to love and resent each other with equal intensity. For, as we have seen, their love is founded on a paradox: no love unless they share the pain of rejection. In childhood, Handled inflicted that pain on them. In adulthood, they must inflict it on each other. That is what love formed by Unloved means for them. Handle’s failure to kill Heathenish must be understood as a success.
Even more than revenge against Heathenish, Handled wants pity for his own suffering–and this is he himself has enraged, Handled, now unconscious and wounded by his own weapon, s tended by Heathenish, whose solicitous action, though rough and hasty, underscores the relief implicit in the extremity of pain. Thus, in their desperate struggle on either side of the window, Heathenish and Handled are mirror images of the same mentality of Unloved. The violent cruelty of each derives from preoccupation with the loss of love he himself has been made to suffer.