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Nature Vs. Nurture In Emily Bronte's "Wuthering Heights"

908 words - 4 pages

The story of Heathcliff, the sadistic protagonist of Emily Bronte's "Wuthering Heights" is so upset that Edgar Linton does not want his lovely daughter, Cathy, to hear it. Heathcliff and Cathy, two prominent characters in the novel, interact in the second half of the novel. Heathcliff's passages reveal that the tortured character comes about from a childhood without the care of parents (33) while Cathy's goodness (164) reflects her being raised by a loving father. The different supervision each character experienced while growing up is reflected by their behavior, showing that nurture is a greater factor over one's personality than nature.

Beginning her description of Heathcliff with the ...view middle of the document...

Nelly describes Cathy as a sheltered, gentle, book-loving young daughter of Edgar. In addition, Cathy is said to be extremely well mannered within this section. Edgar tries to protect his daughter from having to know about an evil soul such as Heathcliff, attempting to prevent the malicious outside force from corrupting her personality. The passage even contains Cathy crying over the miseries of someone she has only met twice so far. She also has a pretty convincing argument as to why she should meet Linton again, foreshadowing her disobedience of her father by going to meet Linton, her only companion outside of Thrushcross Grange. This disobedience will be the main factor in her future encounters with Heathcliff.

Cathy's extreme kindness and Heathcliff's great roughness contrast very well. Heathcliff's description shows him as a wild, undisciplined being. Cathy, on the other hand, is portrayed as a very nice, helpful daughter and a devoted friend to Linton. Heathcliff's lack of education (Catherine being his only educator) also differs from Cathy's "lessons for a couple of hours" that she has. Heathcliff's vow to "grow up as rude [as a savage]" is far from Cathy's melancholy over not being able to meet Linton again. There is not much that is similar between the two characters, due to both of them being on opposite ends of the spectrum. This lack of similarities is what makes these two characters interesting to follow throughout the novel.

The language in these passages is quite interesting. Nelly uses much harsher language in the passage with Heathcliff than the passage with Cathy, representing the behavior of the two characters. The paces of the narratives also differs, with Heathcliff's being a more...

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