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Shvoong Home>Arts & Humanities>Arts>Wuthering Heights Summary

Wuthering Heights

Book Summary   by:KamaongBato     Original Author: Emily Bronte
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> Wuthering Heights Catherine Earnshaw, beautiful but headstrong - the quintessence ofuncontrolled passion - appears only in the first half of Emily Bronte’s masterpiece owing to her early death, but her presence looms like a ghost over the rest of the novel’s protagonists till the very end.She reappears in the second half of the book as young Catherine Linton (referred to herein as Cathy for distinction), whose striking resemblance invokes, on the part of Heathcliff, “only maddening sensations.” Cathy’s capacity for defiance, haughtiness, and pride makes her a living image of her mother, perchance she has been sent by fate to fulfill Heathcliff’s despondent wish. On the surface, their resemblance is not purely physical, but involves that of character and temperament. Both marry in the name of love, but for different reasons.Catherine Earnshaw marries Edgar Linton, not because she loves him, but for the sake of Heathcliff whom she wishes to deliver from the oppression of Hindley and aid him to rise above his rank .On the other hand, Cathy marries her cousin Linton regardless of her disdain for him upon learning he is being used by Heathcliff as instrument of revenge, just so she could return to Thrushcross Grange to comfort her dying father .Catherine’s love for Heathcliff transcends everything, heedless of the wrong and injury it might cause.In the confrontation with Linton in their very home, she forsakes her role as wife of Edgar and sides with the belligerent Heathcliff, daring her frail husband to face the intruder, even throwing away the keys to the fire, barring the farmhands from entering to succor their master.Cathy develops disdain for the sickly, spineless Linton with whom she used to be infatuated, but she does not leave nor forsake him, even when nobody at Wuthering Heights wants to aid her in her misery. For her part, Catherine’s betrayal of Edgar Linton is unjustified; a devoted and kind husband, he does not deserve the humiliation he suffers before his rival and his own household.Catherine’s (and Heathcliff’s) love takes no account of the pain it may inflict to others, certainly without regard to the sufferings they did bringupon themselves. “I wish I could hold you,” says Catherine, bitterly, “till we were both dead!I shouldn’t care what you suffered!I care nothing for your sufferings!” An outburst, it is, occasioned by the thought he would soon forget her.He in turn wishes she would not rest in her grave as long as he lived.Indeed, their love is almost frightening in its passion; it takes on a gruesome aspect: Heathcliff digs up her grave on the night of her burial, and wants to open her casket to embrace her once more. Twenty-three years since her death, he bribes the sexton to rearrange her grave so he could be near Catherine when he too died .When one reflects on their passion, what comes to mind is the punishment meted out to sinners in the second circle of Dante’s inferno, where the souls of wayward lovers are caught forever in a tempest that never rests.

Published: August 05, 2011   
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