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Wuthering Heights
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message 1: by SarahC, Mod of Victorianism (last edited Jan 19, 2012 07:31AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

SarahC (SarahCarmack) | 1605 comments Spoilers for this section of the reading may be found within. Chap. titles: "Mr Linton Considers the Future" through "Catherine Alone"


message 2: by Marialyce, Moderator (last edited Feb 05, 2012 12:46PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Marialyce | 1775 comments Well Linton is surely showing his staunch nature. He has again refused to see if nephew even though he knows the boy is sickly. Never really noticed before how "cruel" he is. To be annoyed with his sister is one thing, but to take it out on the child is really unfeeling and mean.

I think Laura mentioned in a previous section that she thought Heathcliff to be a criminal. Perhaps in the part of,the story that may be true for does he not literally kidnap Cathy? Truly that poor girl put up with a world of inhumanity from Heathcliff even to the point of being struck by him a number of times. Finally, with the death of young Linton, she is freed from what most likely was hell watching and caring for the whimpering Linton. That young man had not stamina and what little he might have had was knocked out of him by Heathcliff. Too bad, Linton was not man enough to fight Heathcliff. There must have been some wayto do that. Certainly Cathy is fighting him and he knows he will never be able to break her will.

I have always been confused here whether when Heathcliff digs up Catherine whether she is fully preserved in death or is it his mentally ill mind that sees her so?


LauraT (LauraTa) | 521 comments Yes Marialyce, I was thinking exactly at the kidnapping of Cathy and Nelly but also at the way he treats her generally, phisically and psicologically.
And I was suprised to see, as you were pointing out, how Cathy doesn't look to be "broken" by him.
The same thoought about his diggin Catherin up. I suppose he was not too "sane" ...


Tabitha Huynh | 4 comments I view Heathcliff's actions not the romantic hero's but deplorable. Most of his scheming comes from hate, hate for Hindley ergo Hareton, hate for the Lintons and hate for society in general. I know he even hated himself. His love for Catherine is his only grace as excruciating/exquisite/wild as it was.


message 5: by Marialyce, Moderator (new) - rated it 5 stars

Marialyce | 1775 comments I think many feel the same way, Tabitha. We are so often trying to turn Heathcliff into that romantic hero which perhaps Bronte never intended him to be.


LauraT (LauraTa) | 521 comments I don't know if she intended him to be a hero or not, and as I said in unother discussion I'm probably giuded by my background, but I sincerely can't stand Heathcliff and all his behaviours.
Probably that's the reason why when I tried years ago to read this book - I was something like 14 - I didn't like it. I coulnd't distinguish the book from its characters, and not liking them, I didn't like the whole book.
Now I've loved the book, but my opinion on them has not changed!!!


Romina (rplanas) | 25 comments Yes, Heathcliff is certainly a difficult character to like/accept, even though that probably wasn't Bronte's original intent anyway. I also consider him to be a criminal because of the way he treated his wife, Cathy, Linton, and lets not forget Hareton, who's a servant/slave in his own home. He hurt everyone around him, and the only one he actually 'cared' about was Catherine, but that care is also questionable. He was more likely obsessed with her because he couldn't have her; he felt inferior to her and when he finally proved he was 'good enough for her' (economically) she was married to another, making him go into rage. But I've gotta say, if they lived together a few years as husband and wife, do you believe he would have honestly been able to curve his temperament sufficiently and become a good husband?


message 8: by Denise, Moderator (new) - rated it 5 stars

Denise (Dulcinea3) | 425 comments I believe that Heathcliff did truly love Catherine, and that they were soulmates. They had a profound connection, so profound that others found it difficult to understand. If they had been together all along, I do think it is possible that Heathcliff could have been a good husband. As a child still, when the Lintons were coming to visit, he did make an attempt to be presentable and polite, but he was scorned and excluded. His attempts to be good were rejected, and then when he overheard what he thought was the final rejection from Catherine, it finally drove him over the edge and he no longer even made the attempt; instead he allowed his negative side to completely take over.


Amalie  | 129 comments Denise wrote: "I believe that Heathcliff did truly love Catherine, and that they were soulmates. They had a profound connection, so profound that others found it difficult to understand. If they had been togeth..."

I agree. I can't say what the nature of there love is but Heathcliff truly did love her, She is the only one he loved other than Mr. Earnshew.

As for Heathcliff being a criminal, I've read worst ones in novels but he is bad we can't justify his behaviour which brings me to Nelly Dean. Her narration is completely bias. The critics have shown it and we can understand it.

Another thing: If we talk about the first impressions, all these characters have bad first impressions about Heathcliff and why because he is a "gypsy". Just look back that's what everyone call him or refer seeing him for the first time. So isn't there lot of racial discrimination? So is Heathcliff really a complete BLACK personality or is it how the narrator paints him?


Tabitha Huynh | 4 comments @Amalie "Gypsy" traditionally indicated dark hair/eyes and a nomadic lifestyle. His lack of background perhaps was what the author was meaning in that they called him a gypsy. I don't think it was intended that Heathcliff was black although his personality is certainly black in the sense it was cold, unforgiving and relentless in it's pursuit of everyone's demise. That said, have you guys watched the 2011 film version of Wurthering Heights? In this adaptation Heathcliff was played by a bi-racial actor....and the movie turned Heathcliff into a necrophiliac!


message 11: by SarahC, Mod of Victorianism (new) - rated it 4 stars

SarahC (SarahCarmack) | 1605 comments Yes, we discussed this point earlier in the threads, check back if you are interested. Somehow, I am not seeing the "gypsy/racial" element as a revolving point of the story, as I have read farther into the story. I think in the early childhood years, he was looked down as much because he ran wild, was dirty, and showed no interest in proper dress or behavior -- but that seems as much due to neglect within the family, as to social comment (from author or characters?) due to race.

I think counter to the point about racial discrimination was that he WAS brought home, adopted into the family, and favored by old Earnshaw. He wasn't brought home and treated by him as a lesser class really.

I haven't seen any but the Merle Oberon film version and that was many years ago. I get the impression from the sidelines though, that many of the films haven't captured much of the what the novel offers.


message 12: by SarahC, Mod of Victorianism (new) - rated it 4 stars

SarahC (SarahCarmack) | 1605 comments The question has been asked or pondered several times, lately in Romina's message 7, -- what would Cathy and Heathcliff have done if they had found a way to be together? What would that relationship have been like? It is almost hard to form a thought of that because so much of this story is about their separateness.

Another student of Emily Bronte posed that each Heathcliff and Cathy actually chose their separation and then lived kind of encapsulated within the loneliness they each created afterward. Heathcliff channeled his toward revenge and self-destruction and Cathy maybe a milder resentment and self-destruction of her own. What do you think?


message 13: by Denise, Moderator (new) - rated it 5 stars

Denise (Dulcinea3) | 425 comments SarahC wrote: "Another student of Emily Bronte posed that each Heathcliff and Cathy actually chose their separation and then lived kind of encapsulated within the loneliness they each created afterward. Heathcliff channeled his toward revenge and self-destruction and Cathy maybe a milder resentment and self-destruction of her own. What do you think?
"


I'm not sure that Cathy did choose the separation. Edgar had proposed, but by the end of her conversation with Nelly, I think she was starting to realize that she really wanted Heathcliff. However, Heathcliff had only heard the first part of their conversation and left, and as a result, Cathy was left to marry Edgar. If Heathcliff had not run off, she might have chosen him, after all.


message 14: by SarahC, Mod of Victorianism (new) - rated it 4 stars

SarahC (SarahCarmack) | 1605 comments Cathy already had strong leanings of marrying Edgar though, or she would not have had the conversation that Heathcliff overheard. And after Heathcliff left, it was still her own clear choice, no one was forcing her -- especially with the fact that she was only 16 and did have some time ahead of her in the whole aspect of choosing marriage.

Perhaps Cathy chose to live with the idea of Heathcliff, rather than the actuality of him. He chose to run away before hearing even an entire conversation, and then lived with the idea of her afterward. (Much like the spirit of her, after her death.) That was key in the interpretation I was reading --that in a way they were both avoiding actual, physical love and absorbing the loneliness afterward that this circumstance caused.


Romina (rplanas) | 25 comments SarahC wrote: "Cathy already had strong leanings of marrying Edgar though, or she would not have had the conversation that Heathcliff overheard. And after Heathcliff left, it was still her own clear choice, no on..."

Yes, I too think Cathy was more into the idea of being with Heathcliff than actually being with him for real. I think that she knew in her heart that being with him was not going to make her truly happy. The thing is that there is a Cathy before and after her accident. The Cathy before would have never chosen Edgar, she would have undoubtedly chosen Heathcliff. On the other hand, the 'new' Cathy realized that although she loved Heathcliff, it was an immature love, they would have never really been able to live a peaceful existence, which is why she chose Edgar. Edgar provided a stable, safe existence, which Cathy didn't know she craved until then due to her volatile upbringing. Cathy CHOSE to love Edgar in a mature manner, although she always knew that her 'passion' would be H. The fact that H. didn't actually even have the courage to ask Cathy in person what she felt about him shows actually just how immature he is and incapable of dealing with difficult situations and perhaps staying to fight for her... he simply got angry and ran away with this childish idea that 'he would show her' and everybody that he was a worthwhile person, while showing the opposite with his actions. Cathy's and Heathcliff's love never evolved, it remained the typical teenage 'first love' passion that causes more hurt than happiness, which is exactly what happened.


Romina (rplanas) | 25 comments Denise wrote: "SarahC wrote: "Another student of Emily Bronte posed that each Heathcliff and Cathy actually chose their separation and then lived kind of encapsulated within the loneliness they each created after...

I don't think she would have chosen Heathcliff even if he hadn't run off because at that point she had no real future with Heathcliff, he was simply a hired hand... and her brother would definitely not accepted their union. They would have had to run away and that relationship wouldn't have lasted very long. Then again, like I said before, if it was pre-accident Cathy, she would have gone with H., but life at the Lintons showed her a totally different possibility, a life H. couldn't provide.



Romina (rplanas) | 25 comments SarahC wrote: "The question has been asked or pondered several times, lately in Romina's message 7, -- what would Cathy and Heathcliff have done if they had found a way to be together? What would that relationshi..."

Maybe they did choose their self-destruction, but Cathy (if I remember correctly) was actually quite content living with the Lintons, she was anything but self-destructive. It was only AFTER H. came back that she started to feel guilty and H. manipulated the situation and he manipulated her. He woke up those selfish and wild feelings she had repressed. If H. hadn't come back, I think Cathy would have been fine throughout her life.


Romina (rplanas) | 25 comments Amalie wrote: "Denise wrote: "I believe that Heathcliff did truly love Catherine, and that they were soulmates. They had a profound connection, so profound that others found it difficult to understand. If they ..."

I dont know if Nelly can be considerd to have had a completely bias narration, I mean she did say that although Heathcliff was horrible with everyone, he never treated her very badly, which comes to show that she is objective... as objective as a one person narration can be. Besides, all we have is her narration anyway, and if it is 50% accurate, then H. still continues to be a criminal. Like I mentioned already, H's love for Cathy was more of an obsession, or a typical teenage passion, it was anything but mature because if you love someone for real, you would wish for their happiness and H. came and destroyed the life Cathy had built. He was egotistical, selfish, cruel, violent, and self-serving.


message 19: by Marialyce, Moderator (new) - rated it 5 stars

Marialyce | 1775 comments Almost like the one who got away. This was a love of the mind I think. They each made up scenarios in their mind of what they were to one another. Their love was unfulfilled. It was never consummated in any way.

I think we have all had times when we wonder what would have been if we had married someone else, or thought of former boyfriends/girlfriends and wonder what life would have been should we have married them.

In Cathy and Heathcliff's case it was a grand obsession. They wanted so much to love that it overwhelmed their being and shaped them into what they became. Cathy died to escape it, while Heathcliff went on to be angrier, meaner, and filled with scorn for everything and everyone. Their love was volatile and ultimately it was to be the death of both of them.


Tabitha Huynh | 4 comments Marialyce wrote: "Almost like the one who got away. This was a love of the mind I think. They each made up scenarios in their mind of what they were to one another. Their love was unfulfilled. It was never consummat..."

Catherine died to escape her grand obsession! Very insightful. Hmmm...I've always viewed it as Catherine's inability to cope, a less romanticized point of view for sure. Thank you Marialyce for the very reason we have discussions....I am off to ponder....


message 21: by SarahC, Mod of Victorianism (last edited Feb 16, 2012 07:49AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

SarahC (SarahCarmack) | 1605 comments On your messages 17 & 18, I think our viewpoints differ in how we view the two main characters. I see Catherine Earnshaw's choices more rooted in herself than driven by Heathcliff's return or manipulation. She states earlier that she will never give up Heathcliff, and my belief is she never had -- whether he was absent or not. The first scene upon his return, doesn't seem that she is cautiously or slowly readmitting him into her world, but full-force actually. Edgar says surely he will be admitted into the kitchen, as that should be his "place," but symbolically I believe, he enters fully into the drawing room.

I may be odd in thinking this, but I think the equality, or equal footing, of Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff is one of the fascinating things about this story. I don't really see that he comes in and steals her life from her. I don't really see Heathcliff operating as typical teenage love, it seems like so much more is going on here. I think his passions DO mature, but not in the accepted sense of the ideal sense as you mentioned.


message 22: by SarahC, Mod of Victorianism (new) - rated it 4 stars

SarahC (SarahCarmack) | 1605 comments Tabitha wrote: "Marialyce wrote: "Almost like the one who got away. This was a love of the mind I think. They each made up scenarios in their mind of what they were to one another. Their love was unfulfilled. It w..."

Tabitha, I agree -- I think if we didn't air our differing viewpoints here, we would be missing a great chance -- this novel certain draws forth our differing ideas!


message 23: by SarahC, Mod of Victorianism (new) - rated it 4 stars

SarahC (SarahCarmack) | 1605 comments I think Cathy Linton, here in Ch. 29 emerges as a character of her own. As a reader, we have just witnesses what a retched person Linton had become at this point, in the discussion between him and Nelly. And then Cathy returns to W.H. without much fight with Heathcliff really, because she chooses to return to Linton to do what she can with the last relationship she has left. I think her spirit has really emerged here and seems that Heathcliff has no chance of capturing or diminishing it any more. I think this onward is one of the best sections of the novel.


message 24: by SarahC, Mod of Victorianism (new) - rated it 4 stars

SarahC (SarahCarmack) | 1605 comments The very end of Ch. 29, I also find interesting because here is the beginning of the admissions of Heathcliff. He tells Nelly here, he had sought to meet his Cathy for 18 years...."it was a strange way of killing, not by inches, but by fractions of hair breadths, to beguile me with the spectre of hope..."


Amalie  | 129 comments Tabitha wrote: "Marialyce wrote: "Almost like the one who got away. This was a love of the mind I think. They each made up scenarios in their mind of what they were to one another. Their love was unfulfilled. It w..."

I way busy these days and now so many points I don't know where to start :o

But for Cathrine's character, I guess, well some of the ideas here I feel like we are repeating. Any way I don't understand her exactly so are violent outbursts does look immature and spoiled and all but her has been analysed by many forms of literary criticism, including: psychoanalytic and feminist.

So one view is Catherine passionate and selfish girl/woman suffering from severe bipolar tendencies. Her anxieties - partly self-imposed, partly caused by her mental disorder. So the question is did E.B. intended all these? Who knows?


Amalie  | 129 comments Marialyce wrote: "I think many feel the same way, Tabitha. We are so often trying to turn Heathcliff into that romantic hero which perhaps Bronte never intended him to be."

Marialyce, Tabitha I think Heathcliff embodies the so called literary Byronic hero - basically a variation of an anti-hero defined as a brooding and tormented semi-romantic male and often described as clad in black and having dark eyes or hair. Generally, he expresses a hateful attitude towards the world and himself and is dominated by obsessive love for one woman. He is not the only one, Rowling’s Severus Snape is such another. But the twist is Heathcliff also has a major personality flaw like Shakespeare's anti-heros: pride Then he has qualities of Shakespeare's Villains: desire for revenge Like what he does with the next generation, truly villainous. For me, he the most complex character written during Victorian era along with characters such as Edward Rochester and Sydney Carton.


Amalie  | 129 comments Marialyce wrote: "I have always been confused here whether when Heathcliff digs up Catherine whether she is fully preserved in death or is it his mentally ill mind that sees her so? ..."

Gothic elements, I'm guessing, that's what E. Bronte was aiming at but it also can be his intense desire to see her again, he saw what he wanted to see or at this point he's not in his normal sense. I guess readers can take it anyway we like. But I do like to quote Plath's "Daddy" poem. She says about her father:
"I was ten when they buried you.
At twenty I tried to die
And get back, back, back to you.
I thought even the bones would do."

she's speaking of a spiritual union with her father.

The physical decomposition doesn't stand in the way. And then in Emily's poem "Remembrance" (which I also teach)
"Then did I check the tears of useless passion --
Weaned my young soul from yearning after thine;
Sternly denied its burning wish to hasten
Down to that tomb already more than mine. "


message 28: by Zorro (last edited May 25, 2012 09:23AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Zorro (ZorroM) Heathcliff is a Gypsy

"The Romani are an ethnic group living mostly in Europe, who trace their origins to the Indian Subcontinent. Romani are widely known in the English-speaking world by the exonym Gypsies (or Gipsies)."

Making Heathcliff a gypsy helps give the impression that he has supernatural powers too. Gypsies have 'abilities' that English maidens do not have. They are very mysterious.

I see him as a vampire almost. I think Bronte was using the gypsy/vampire myth to give Heathcliff the impression of superhuman qualities.


message 29: by Marialyce, Moderator (new) - rated it 5 stars

Marialyce | 1775 comments Zorro wrote: "Heathcliff is a Gypsy

"The Romani are an ethnic group living mostly in Europe, who trace their origins to the Indian Subcontinent. Romani are widely known in the English-speaking world by the ex..."


Yes, I can see how you can picture him as such. He does suck the life out of the people he comes in contact with.


Grace Hendrian | 16 comments Cathy and Heathcliff both have rather vampirish tendencies. They quite effectively "suck" the life out of those around them. They act that way to eachother as well, both consume the other one's life. Theirs is a very selfish love, on both sides.


Grace Hendrian | 16 comments I think one of the reasons Catherine married Mr. Linton is that she could dominate him in their relationship. It is mentioned often what a forceful personality she has. Linton has a pretty weak character, easy for Cathy to rule and, in her own way, love even. She and Heathcliff both have strong personalities. By their loving an idea of eachother, they never have to commit and truly meet eachother's needs. They can both have their way.


message 32: by Zorro (new) - rated it 1 star

Zorro (ZorroM) Grace wrote: "Cathy and Heathcliff both have rather vampirish tendencies. They quite effectively "suck" the life out of those around them. They act that way to eachother as well, both consume the other one's lif..."

Summary sparknotes: " While the sexton was digging Edgar’s grave, Heathcliff had him remove the earth from his beloved Catherine’s, and he opened her coffin to gaze upon her face, which he says is still recognizable. Heathcliff asserts that Catherine will not crumble to dust until he joins her in the ground, at which point they will share the transformation together. He says that he forced the sexton to remove one whole side of her coffin—the side not facing Edgar—and that when he dies, he will require in his will that the corresponding side of his coffin be removed, so that he and Catherine might mingle in the earth. Nelly chastises him for disturbing the dead, and Heathcliff tells her that Catherine’s ghost has tormented him every night for the last eighteen years. He explains that he has felt her presence without being able to reach her. "

This scene was very vampirish... Catherine the "undead" comes to Heathcliff every night...her body has not decomposed. He was not able to reach her but will in death.


message 33: by Zorro (last edited May 25, 2012 09:58AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Zorro (ZorroM) Marialyce wrote: "I have always been confused here whether when Heathcliff digs up Catherine whether she is fully preserved in death or is it his mentally ill mind that sees her so? "

I think that today we would call this 'magical realism'. We, the readers, suspend disbelief. Then we see the scene or action of the characters as they see it. If it is real to them, we the readers accept it as real.

Is the intention of the author of this tale magical realism? Or is it about mental illness? I think it is up to the reader to decide for herself what we want it to be.


message 34: by Zorro (new) - rated it 1 star

Zorro (ZorroM) Young Lynton is so pitiful to me. I imagine he could be a young, sick boy suffering from leukemia. How could anyone treat him so badly?


message 35: by Marialyce, Moderator (new) - rated it 5 stars

Marialyce | 1775 comments Zorro wrote: "Marialyce wrote: "I have always been confused here whether when Heathcliff digs up Catherine whether she is fully preserved in death or is it his mentally ill mind that sees her so? "

I think that..."


Or, that she is a saint....

..and I though Lynton had consumption...


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