Wuthering Heights

In Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte, the characters are quite intricate and engaging. The story takes place in northern England in an isolated, rural area. The main characters involved are residents of two opposing households: Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange. Wuthering Heights is a tale of a powerful love between two people, which transcends all boundaries, including that between life and death. The author, Emily Bronte, uses parallelism in this novel. Much of what happens in the first half of the story corresponds to events in the second half. This parallelism also extends to the characters; the first generation of characters is comparable to the second generation. Some might argue that these characters are duplicates of each other and that they share many traits. This is not the case for Catherine Earnshaw and Cathy Linton, a mother and her daughter. These two characters are different in numerous aspects of their personalities and lifestyles.

Catherine Earnshaw and Cathy Linton differ a great deal when it comes to their family life. Catherine?s father did not love her because she was forever misbehaving. He once told her, "[N]ay Cathy, I cannot love thee; thou?rt worse than thy brother. Go, say thy prayers, child, and ask God?s pardon. I doubt thy mother and I must rue the day we ever reared thee!" Relating to Lockwood, Nelly noted that young Catherine was such a "wild, wicked slip" (37) that she never seemed as content as when she was being scolded. She was born into a rich, well to do solid family. Her dad, Mr. Earnshaw, was strict man; her mom, Mrs. Earnshaw, was a devoted, quite snobbish woman. Catherine was conceited all throughout her youth, which is clearly a contributing factor to her immaturity. She also shows how she likes and loves to be given excessive attention. This causes her problems all the way until she becomes an adult. A very important aspect of Catherine is, of course, her personality. She can be described as conceited, mischievous, willful, and "had the bonniest eye, and sweetest smile" (45). The readers can clearly see the special traits and features that make her unique in a special way. As a little girl, she has a very strong attitude. She is the type of girl that will react in a rather aggressive way when she doesn?t get what she wants. She is so used to always getting what she wants, that when the opposite happens, she throws a tantrum. One of the first examples of this was, "when she learnt the master had lost her whip in attending the stranger, showed her humor by grinning and spitting at the stupid little thing" (41).

Catherine was an intensely emotional character. From the time she was a child, she made choices based on her urges and feelings, and would become irritated if her will was not maintained. One time she became violently abusive when Nelly insisted on supervising her visit with Edgar. She pinched and slapped Nelly, shook Hareton when he began to cry, and then slapped Edgar when he attempted to intervene. This sort of unstable emotional state made Catherine very frail that she often became ill after an outburst. Following an argument she had with Heathcliff and Edgar, she became very ill and eventually died. It could be argued that her tendency for passionate outbursts drained the life from her. Catherine is a strong young woman and she is defiant of authority since young age. "She was never so happy as when we were all scolding, her at the same time, and she defying us with her bold, saucy look, and her ready words" (46). This, besides showing her as a mischievous child, shows a characteristic strongly underlined in her-- the need for attention. Catherine also treated her brother Hindley poorly. As a child, she neglected him in favour of Heathcliff. As an adult, Catherine made no effort to help Hindley with his drinking problem after Frances died, nor did she try and prevent Heathcliff from taking advantage of Hindley. Catherine's selfish character was depicted when she wanted both Edgar and Heathcliff at the same time. She wanted Edgar for his life and Heathcliff for his soul. She didn't want to choose between the two of them, and therefore she never did. Thus, she caused pain for Heathcliff and Edgar. With Catherine, her heart and mind are divided: she loves