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Discussions and prep tasks

Love and relationships in Wuthering Heights

June 3, 2007 by msbarnsley · 7 Comments · Uncategorized

1. Generate a list of the marriages and love relationships in Wuthering Heights.

Ask yourself what makes a good relationship, and generate a set of criteria for evaluating the marriages/relationships in the novel. Rank the relationships in order, from most to least passionate, then from most to least loving. Provide textual evidence for your rankings.

2. Write a brief description of the couple’s relationship, referring to specific textual examples

3. Consider each character’s motivations for becoming involved in his or her relationship (beyond “s/he was in love!!”). Which characters fall in love and/or marry for “good” reasons? For “bad” reasons? Why do the characters who make “bad” choices feel compelled to make them?

4. Do you think Bronte approves of or endorses each relationship, based on the way the relationship is described in the novel and the fate of the characters in the relationship.
5. Think about the future of Cathy and Hareton. Ostensibly, they have a chance for a happy relationship. Does the text provide any hints that these characters, too, are doomed?
6. Write an essay about the relationship in Wuthering Heights that you find most interesting. Discuss character motivation and the nature of the relationship. Use textual support to validate your claims about the novel. You may wish to focus on particular scenes in the novel, such as Catherine’s explanation for her love for Heathcliff in Chapter 9; Nelly’s description of Edgar and Catherine’s married life in Chapter 10; Isabella’s
description of her married life with Heathcliff in Chapter 13; or Nelly’s description of the beginning of Cathy and Hareton’s relationship in Chapter 32.

7 Comments so far ↓

  • buttro

    2. Relationships in Wuthering Heights

    Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw
    Heathcliff and Catherine are deeply in love with each other as well as being stepsiblings because Heathcliff was adopted. Catherine was young and wild until she spent some time at Thrushcross Grange after being attacked by a dog. On her return to Wuthering Heights Catherine had matured and become more of a lady. She was still in love with Heathcliff however she said, “it would be degrading to marry Heathcliff”. Therefore Catherine decides to marry Edgar and Heathcliff is left alone. Evidence of Catherine’s strong feelings can be found in a conversation she had with Nelly Dean, “Heathcliff is more myself then I am.” Heathcliff is obsessed with Catherine throughout the whole novel and never tries to hide it. While Catherine is dying Heathcliff says to her “I cannot live without my life! I cannot live without my soul!”
    Catherine and Edgar Linton
    Catherine marries Edgar because “if [she marries] Linton, [she could] aid Heathcliff to rise, and place him out of [her] brother’s power?” Catherine describes her relationship with Edgar like “the foliage in the woods; time will change it, I’m well aware, as winter changes the trees.” The major conflict in this marriage is that Catherine loves Heathcliff more and her description of Edgar is juxtaposed by her saying “he is more myself then I am”, referring to Heathcliff. Catherine and Edgar have one child called Catherine who ends up marrying Hareton the son of her uncle Hindley.

    Heathcliff and Isabella Linton
    Heathcliff marries Isabella for the sole purpose of revenge, as he aims to control both the Heights and the Grange when Edgar dies. Isabella loves Heathcliff in an adolescent way because she is only young at the time and does not know any better. On the other hand Heathcliff treats Isabella poorly and evidence of this is that she is not permitted to leave the Heights. Isabella gives birth to Linton Heathcliff. This name alone is evidence of the power Heathcliff had at the time. Catherine eventually leaves Heathcliff and evidence of her feelings towards him can be found in this passage: “I recovered from my first desire to be killed by him-I’d rather he’d kill himself! He has extinguished my love effectually, and so I’m at my ease.”
    Hindley and Francis
    Hindley and Francis fell in love while Francis was at boarding school. They were truly in love as Hindley had never been happier. However, Hindley is forced to keep their relationship a secret because Francis is from a lower social class. When Francis dies Hindley becomes extremely miserable resulting in his downfall.

    Hareton and Young Cathy
    Hareton and Cathy’s relationship is symbolic of Heathcliff and Catherine’s love. Heathcliff treats Hareton poorly just as Hindley treated Heathcliff poorly. Together they face the same problems faced by Heathcliff and Catherine.

  • tim

    1. Relationships in order of love

    1. Heathcliff and Catherine (unrequited love)
    2. Hindley and Frances
    3. Hareton and young Cathy
    4. Catherine and Edgar (married)
    5. Heathcliff and Isabella (married)
    6. Linton Heathcliff and young Cathy (married)

    Relationships in order of passion

    1. Heathcliff and Catherine
    2. Catherine and Edgar
    3. Hindley and Frances
    4. Hareton and Cathy
    5. Heathcliff and Isabella
    6. Linton Heathcliff and young Cathy

    2. Write a brief description of each couple’s relationship- specific examples

    Heathcliff and Isabella- passionate but unrequited: Catherine; “I am Heathcliff”, “so he shall never know how I love him”: Heathcliff; “I cannot live without my soul!” (after Catherine’s death)

    Hindley and Frances- love each other (after Frances’ death) “[Hindley] grew desparate; his sorrow was the kind that will not lament” but and delight in each other’s cruelty to others, “a few words from [Frances]…were enough to rouse in [Hindley] is old hatred of [Heathcliff]”.

    Hareton and young Cathy- starts off very confused, as they both think the other dislikes them, “’A companion’, [Hareton] cried; ‘when [Cathy] hates me”… “’It is not I who hates you, it is you who hates me’ cried Cathy [to Hareton]”.

    Catherine and Edgar- on Catheine’s behalf it is about money which can be used to help Heathcliff “’in my soul and in my heart, I’m convinced I’m wrong [about marrying her]’…’I can aid Heathcliff to rise’…’My love for Linton is like foliage in the woods, time will change it”. Edgar is infatuated with her however, “he possessed the power to depart [from Catherine], as much as the cat possesses the power to leave a mouse half killed”.

    Heathcliff and Isabella- Isabella originally loved Heathcliff, and pictured him as “a hero of romance”. However he views her with contempt, because she cannot see this love is unreturned, “I hardly regard her in the light of a rational creature…I did not love her”. Heathcliff’s scornful attitude towards Isabella cause “her to hate [Heathcliff]” although they remain married.

    Linton Heathcliff and young Cathy- Their marriage is very much forced by Heathcliff the elder, and so is fruitless and unhappy.

  • davo

    1)
    marriages: love relationships:
    mr and Mrs Linton Catherine and Heathcliffe
    mr and mrs earnshaw edgar for catherine
    Heathcliffe and isabella isabella for Heathcliffe
    edgar and catherine Nelly for hindley
    hindley and frances Haerton and cathy
    linton and cathy vidler and joseph

    criterea:
    is the love for money?
    is the love mutual?
    do they love anybody else ?
    is the love for revenge?

    order of relationships from most passionate to least passionate:
    Vidler and Joseph
    Heathcliffe and Catherine
    Hindley and Frances
    haerton and cathy
    the rest

    order of loves from most loving to least loving relationships:
    Heathcliffe and Catherine “may you not rest, as long as i am living, you said i killed you- haunt me then”
    Haerton and cathy
    Edgar for Catherine
    the rest dont really love each other

    (2)
    Heathcliffe and catherine love each other beyond anything, thy grew up together and become ‘one’ spiritually. They cannot be happy without one another. Their relationship is intimate but not sexual. Catherine cannot love Heathcliffe because he is of a lower class than her. This breaks both their hearts. “i am heathcliff”

    Edgar and Catherine are in a relationship which results in marriage. Catherine loves Edgar but only because he loves her so much. Edgar is infatuated by Catherine and loves her wholely, the love is never wholely reciprecated. “I have such faith in Linton’s love that I believe I might kill him and he wouldn’t wish to retaliate” They marry because they are both isolated and because of class structure at the time.

    Heathcliff and isabella’s love is never mutual. Heathciff marries Isabella for money and class, he marries her to gain access to Thrushcross Grange. isabella falls in love with heathcliff as a teenager, so is obviously blinded by age and a desire to love. heathcliff always makes sure Isabella is fully aware he is not in love with her, hence his hanging of her dog.

    Hindley marries Frances while he is away at boarding school, he keeps the marriage a secret because Frances is from a lower class, they do have a genine love. When hindley is with Frances he is happy and as pleasant as he could possibly be while she existed, her death eventually brought about his demise. They were both immature and cruel, which suited one another. “Frances pulled [Heathcliff's] hair heartily, and then went and seated herself on her husband’s knee, and there they were, like two babies, kissing and talking nonsense by the hour…”

    Linton and Cathy were forced to marry out of Heathcliff’s spite. They never truly love each other and Linton eventually dies.

    Haerton and Cathy fall in love and is symbolic of the way true love should be executed, as they learn from the previous gneration’s mistakes.

    (3)
    Heathcliff’s motives for his union with Isabella were to gain money and power over thrushcross grange, which therefore gave him power over his opressors, the lintons.

    Catherine’s motives for marrying Edgar were to ‘move up’ in class. Which gave her higher social esteem and more money, with this power she gained she aimed to use to further heathcliff and take him out of the control of her brother.

    Linton and Cathy’s marriage was arranged, and they never really had their own personal motives for the marriage.

    Hindley and Frances married each other for love and their own personal satisafaction. Frances got to escape to a better way of life and edgar got what he wanted from her.

    (4)
    Bronte is a true believer in love. She rebels against the common acceptance of marriage for title.
    Catherine and Heathcliffe – yes
    edgar for Catherine- no
    Heathcliffe and isabella -no
    Nelly for hindley-doesn’t express
    hindley and frances – yes Haerton and cathy-yes
    linton and cathy -no vidler and joseph-god does

    (5)
    It is hard to discern what happens, it seems that they will do well, as they have learnt from the previous generation.

  • tim

    The rest apart from the essay.

    And an edit to Hareton and young Cathy’s relationship: starts off very confused, as they both think the other dislikes them, “’A companion’, [Hareton] cried; ‘when [Cathy] hates me”… “’It is not I who hates you, it is you who hates me’ cried Cathy [to Hareton]”, but come to like each other.

    3. Reasons for love and marriage

    Edgar and Catherine- Edgar is infatuated with her because she has the ability to be overwhelmingly charming towards him, and she is beautiful. She marries him because she wants to use his money to raise Heathcliff’s status.

    Hindley and Frances- presumably for love but not much is known, she might have married for money as it is assumed she is poor.

    Heathcliff and Isabella- Isabella loved Heathcliff because he was handsome and probably because she wanted a husband, but turned quickly to hating him. Heathcliff never made any pretense of like her, and married her only so he could get revenge on the Lintons and Earnshaws.

    Linton and young Cathy- forced to marry each other by Heathcliff so he could get his revenge.

    Cathy and Hareton- they like each other

    4. Does Brontë endorse the relationships?

    Heathcliff and Catherine- yes
    Hindley and Frances- yes
    Heathcliff and Isabella- no
    Edgar and Catherine- no
    Linton and Cathy- no
    Cathy and Hareton- yes

    5. Are there hints in the text that Hareton and Cathy are doomed?
    It is hard to discerne what will happen in the lives of Cathy and Hareton, as their feelings are often confuse for each other.

  • penman

    1. Love is a word thrown around in Wuthering Heaights oftenly, but the attitude and events that happen involving the characters make it obvious that love is a not truly found in some of the relationships. Love is an intense feeling or deep affection. From this I order the relationships in Wuthering Heights as such:
    i. Heathcliff and Catherine E
    ii. Hindley and Frances
    iii. Hareton and Young Cathy
    iv. Catherine and Edgar
    v. Heathcliff and Isabella
    vi. Linton Heathcliff and Young Cathy

    2. Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw- An all consuming relationship, “I am Heathcliff”. They only found their love with death ( Bronte’s way of saying a relationship like that can not exist in real life).

    Hindley Earnshaw and Frances- Married and had a child called Hareton.

    Edgar Linton and Catherine Earnshaw- Catherine marries Edgar for “social position”.
    Edgar and Heathcliff become enemies and revenge is needed by Heathcliff. Heathcliff and Catherine are soul mates and love each other but Edgar marries catherine first. This infuriates Heathcliff, as he loves Catherine but they can not be together. Catherine and Edgar’s relationship is fake and they are not lovers merely partners.

    Heathcliff and Isabella Linton- Is a marriage based on Heathcliff’s venture for revenge on Edgar. No true passion or love from Heathcliff, and eventually none from Isabella.

    Hareton and Young Cathy- starts off very confused, as they both think the other dislikes them, “’A companion’, [Hareton] cried; ‘when [Cathy] hates me”… “’It is not I who hates you, it is you who hates me’ cried Cathy [to Hareton]”.

    Linton Heathcliff and young Cathy- Their marriage is very much forced by Heathcliff the elder, and so is fruitless and unhappy.

    3. Heathcliff’s marriage was based simply on revenge love was never prominent from his side. It was to gain power and kudos over the Linton’s. He would get this by gaining influence on Thrushcross Grange and having money and power from the Linton’s.

    Catherine marries in order to move up in the social tree. Love is never really a major player in her reasons for being with Edgar. She is based around social standing, because social standing gives a certain amount of power and Catherine wanted this.

    Linton and Cathy both were arranged marriages so they really never had a reason to marry they were just forced to.

    Hindley and Frances married because they were in love. Frances saw a much higher standard of living and Hindley spent time with his “soul mate” and got what he needed from her.

    4.Bronte is a believer in true love but her symbolizing of love in the book makes reason to believe that she may oppose the definte love, such as Heathcliff and Catherine. Although she definitely does endorse love in her novel in some of the relationships. She is showing that love and relationships are good when she talks about Heathcliff and Catherine, Hindley and Frances, Hareton and Young Cathy. In the other three relationships ( as seen above) it is obvious by her writing that she doesn’t endorse these sort of relationships.

    5. Taking knowledge from the previous generation they have a head start as they see the damnation of the other generation. It is though not concise within the book that Hareton and Cathy are doomed.

  • Bobbo

    1) Generate a list of the marriages and love relationships in Wuthering Heights.
    Heathcliff-Catherine Earnshaw
    Hindley Earnshaw-Frances
    Edgar Linton-Catherine Earnshaw
    Heathcliff-Isabella
    Linton-Cathy
    Cathy-Haerton

    2) Write a brief description of the couple’s relationship, referring to specific textual examples
    Heathcliff-Catherine Earnshaw
    Consuming relationship that drives Heathcliff and Catherine insane as Catherine wants to enhance her social status and that is the only reason she marries Edgar Linton, “I AM Heathcliff! He’s always, always in my mind”, they want to be with each other and Heathcliff found that they will only be truly together upon their deaths, “He neither
    wept nor prayed; he cursed and defied: execrated God and man, and gave himself up to reckless dissipation”.

    Heathcliff-Isabella Linton
    Isabella was blindly in love with Heathcliff and because of her stubbornness did not stop until she got what she wanted, Heathcliff warned her of his ways, by hanging her dog before their marrige, but she goes ahead with it only to find out what a mistake she has made, “Is Mr. Heathcliff a man? If so, is he mad? And if not, is he
    a devil”, the realisation of her mistake drove her away.

    Linton-Cathy
    This was a relationship manipulated by Heathcliff to gain control over the two houses, Linton was his son and once he married Cathy he would gain control over Thrushcross Grange, and once he died at a young age the house was then in the position of Heathcliff.

    Cathy-Haerton
    They marry out of love for each other, and they learn from the mistakes of the last generation.

    Hindley Earnshaw-Frances
    Hindley loved Frances very much and when she died after childbirth he became a raging miserable alcoholic.

    3) Consider each character’s motivations for becoming involved in his or her relationship (beyond “s/he was in love!!”). Which characters fall in love and/or marry for “good” reasons? For “bad” reasons? Why do the characters who make “bad” choices feel compelled to make them?
    Heathcliff began the relationship with Catherine at a young age. It sprung out of their passion for the moors and their wild and adventurous nature. Along the line he marries Isabella for a bad reason, and that is so he can eventually gain control over Thrushcross Grange.
    Catherine had a more social life style in mind, although she enjoyed being with Heathcliff and had strong feelings for him she married Edgar Linton for the social status. This was a bad reason to marry Edgar, she only wanted the materialistic joys out of the relationship.
    Isabella marries Heathcliff because he is interesting and mystic. She needs a husband and the best option would be the good-looking and very interesting neighbour. Heathcliff unfortunately does not reciprocate the feeling for Isabella, he warns her of his wicked ways, by hanging her dog, and then marries her as a part of his revenge plan to take over Thrushcross Grange.

    4. Do you think Bronte approves of or endorses each relationship, based on the way the relationship is described in the novel and the fate of the characters in the relationship.

    I think Bronte disapproves of relationships, all of the relationships in this book end badly or without a meaning, they are false and not fulfilled. They only bring pain and heart break into each of the characters, I think that Bronte must have been religious because all the way through the book it seems that all will be resolved upon death.

  • buttro

    6. The Essay of LOVE

    Wuthering Heights is a novel that explores revenge, desire and love. These themes evolve from the complicated relationships within Thrushcross Grange and Wuthering Heights. In particular, Emily Bronte focuses on the love between Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff. However, to fully understand the sometimes-distorted plot, a reader has to interpret a number of other relationships within the novel.
    The characters in Wuthering Heights form relationships because they desire revenge or love. It is these relationships that cause the many individual conflicts faced by the characters, especially Catherine and Heathcliff. Both of these characters and this is strongly evident when Catherine states; “Heathcliff is more myself then I am” and “I am Heathcliff”. Heathcliff’s love is just as strong and this can be seen in the actions he takes throughout the novel. After overhearing Catherine say, “it would degrade me to marry Heathcliff”, he leaves only to return with a deep desire to seek revenge on all those who have wronged him in the past including Catherine.
    A reader finds the relationships in Wuthering Heights complicated and bizarre for a number of reasons. The names in both households are very confusing because there are two Catherine’s, two Mrs Earnshaw’s, a number of Linton’s and a Linton Heathcliff. The relationship between Heathcliff and Catherine can also be seen as bizarre in today’s society because they are stepsiblings. This relationship is further complicated because of Catherine’s marriage to Edgar Linton. This makes Heathcliff very jealous as he says he will “crush his [Edgar’s] ribs like a rotten hazelnut.”
    Heathcliff wants to replace Edgar as Catherine’s husband and this is shown symbolically when Catherine dies Heathcliff takes Edgar’s hair out of the locket and puts his own in. However, Nelly gets both the locks of hair and intertwines them and puts them back in the locket, symbolising their intertwined lives. Earlier in the novel Heathcliff knows that he can’t just get rid of Edgar so he tries to better himself in order to become a more suitable partner but still the animal inside him prevails. The love between Heathcliff and Catherine is childish and there is no evidence of adult emotions between them. They are happiest together when they isolated from society on the moors behaving like children. This is juxtaposed by Catherine’s factual and economic love for Edgar rather then a sexual and emotional love.
    Catherine was young and wild until she spent some time at Thrushcross Grange after being attacked by a dog. On her return to Wuthering Heights Catherine had matured and become more of a lady. She was still in love with Heathcliff but did not want to marry him. This shows how their love was childish because when Catherine became more lady-like she realised that it “would be degrading to marry Heathcliff.” On the other hand Heathcliff is obsessed with Catherine throughout the whole novel and never tries to hide it. While Catherine is dying Heathcliff says to her “I cannot live without my life! I cannot live without my soul!”
    In order to fully understand Heathcliff’s love for Catherine a reader must understand his marriage to Isabella. Heathcliff marries Isabella for the sole purpose of revenge, as he aims to control both the Heights and the Grange when Edgar dies. Isabella loves Heathcliff in an adolescent way because she is only young at the time and does not know any better. Isabella eventually leaves Heathcliff and evidence of her feelings towards him can be found in this passage: “I recovered from my first desire to be killed by him-I’d rather he’d kill himself! He has extinguished my love effectually, and so I’m at my ease.” In understanding the relationship Heathcliff has with Isabella we know that Heathcliff cannot love any other woman but Catherine. Towards the end of the novel Hareton and young Cathy symbolize the same situation that Heathcliff and Catherine were in when they were young, but we never know if there relationship is successful or doomed to fail.
    Heathcliff and Catherine’s relationship is the main focus of the novel “Wuthering Heights”. Emily Bronte crafts the characters so that the reader sees them both as villains but at the same time likes them because they understand the complicated relationship they have. The themes of love, desire and revenge are most evident in the character of Heathcliff as he desires power, loves Catherine and wants to revenge all the characters that have wronged him in the past. Heathcliff and Catherine’s love “resembles the eternal rocks beneath–a source of little visible delight, but necessary. “

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