Wuthering Heights (Confinement & Parallelism) Essay
Wuthering Heights is a book of mirrored parallelisms. The ruinous and dark estate of Wuthering Heights stands opposite the lavish and high class house of Thrushcross Grange. The residents of each home carry the same demeanor as their houses with the miserable and cold people who inhabit the Heights sharing the moors with the refined Lintons of Thrushcross Grange. As the book progresses the reader will find that Bronte has not only chosen locational parallels but also parallels which transcend the two generations of characters present in the novel.The most stark example of these mirrored pairs is that between Heathcliff and Hareton. Heathcliff’s evolution is one of extreme ups and downs. The novel begins with him being taken in as a street orphan by Mr. Earnshaw and in effect becoming his son.
He lives a life of prominence in the household of Wuthering Heights and falls in love with Mr. Earnshaw’s daughter Catherine. Soon after the death of Mr.
Earnshaw, Heathcliff is forced to work as a servant under Hindley. To compound the pain he feels from being forced back into the lower class of society, he loses Catherine to Edgar Linton of Thrushcross Grange.It is at this point that he disappears for several years and then returns to the Heights a wealthy, powerful, and vengeful man. Throughout this transformation, Heathcliff is shown as having a pension for physicality and roughness. He much prefers manuel labor to books and stops using the manners taught to him by Mr.
Earnshaw once Hindley takes over. The only things that seem to remain a constant in Heathcliff are his love for Catherine and his will power to dominate those around him. Hareton Earnshaw is Hindley and Frances Earnshaw’s son.Born into a life of prominence under his wealthy parents, he is forced to work as a field laborer once Heathcliff acquires control of the Heights. He is teased for his illiteracy by Cathy and he acts as if it does not affect him but inside it causes him much pain. Hareton is also quick tempered due to his knowledge of the life he should have, and the life he is forced to live under Heathcliff. Eventually, Hareton and Cathy end up falling in love after the deaths of Heathcliff and Linton. Heathcliff and Hareton are, situationally, the mirrored images of each ther.
They both arrive in the story into the life of the upper class with Heathcliff being essentially one of Mr. Earnshaw’s children and Hareton being born into the upper class with Hindley as his father. After this, an older and more powerful person comes into their life and forces them to work as common laborers, dropping them into the lower class. This causes their inherently violent sides to come out though Hareton’s is much more direct than Heathcliffs.
Upon the death’s of their tormentors, each regains power.Heathcliff becomes more powerful with the death of Hindley and Hareton is free to pursue his education with the death of Heathcliff. Perhaps most importantly, they both end up falling in love with essentially the same people, Catherine and Cathy. This is where the similarities between the two end. Their evolution as characters is the inverse of one another’s as the story progresses.
Heathcliff starts off as a neutral character at the book’s beginning and then becomes a more caring and less violent person when he is degraded into the lower class.When he rises back into power, he becomes vengeful and controlling of everyone around him. Hareton, on the other hand, is shown to be somewhat of a bad character during his time spent as a common laborer, using violence against others and those who tease him. However, with the death of Heathcliff and his ascension into the upper class, Hareton falls in love with Cathy and becomes a better person. Bronte’s two parallel characters with similar names, Heathcliff and Hareton, suffer essentially the same pain due to a more powerful tormentor, but become each other’s opposites in spite of the circumstances.Heathcliff turns into a vengeful tormentor, and Hareton into a caring husband. Examining this aspect of Wuthering Heights it appears that Bronte is trying to express the harm caused from lust of power.
Throughout the story, Heathcliff is shown trying to gain power over others, while in contrast, Hareton only desires power over himself as exemplified by his want of an education. This moral message of abstaining from the desire of power is not only shown by the parallel of these characters, but the parallels present between the two houses and the inhabitants of the respective houses as well.