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"Wuthering Heights" Emily Bronte. What Do You Learn Of Heathcliff's Character And Actions In Chapter 6? How Does Bronte Present Thrushcross Grange? How Important Is Social Class In The Novel?

2540 words - 11 pages

Heathcliff is a character of mystery in the beginning of the novel; his youth seemed to be spent on the streets of Liverpool before Catherine's father took him home and looked after him. As a young boy, he was quiet and the reader didn't get to read many long speeches by him to help us understand his character better, like we did for all the others; he always seemed to be in the background of a main scene because he didn't verbally communicate with anyone. As the novel progresses into Chapter 6, we get to hear a tale of his excursion with Catherine to Thrushcross Grange told by Heathcliff himself: in this tale, he unintentionally included aspects of his character in the account that we had ...view middle of the document...

Since Thrushcross Grange was the place where Catherine "lost" her original self, it is ironic that the place looked so inviting and luxurious.The obvious differences in social standing between the Linton's and Heathcliff are shown in many ways in this extract; the fact that both Catherine and Heathcliff had a hard time getting to Thrushcross Grange- they had to cross a bog and climb through bushes, etc.- shows the gap between the lower class and the upper class in Victorian times; it was very hard to cross over this gap from lower class. The obstacles in the way also portray a sense of irony, because although the house looks inviting and full of warmth, it is quite hard to actually get to it and be welcomed into the Linton fold. Even though they both manage to get to Thrushcross Grange, they are only on the outside looking in: "...and clinging to the ledge, we saw [inside]" ["Wuthering Heights"; page 48 (1)]. When Catherine is inside the Linton's house, Heathcliff is looking in through a window, which links in to Lockwood's second dream when Catherine was trying to get in through a window. In the dream, the window symbolised the barrier between the living and the dead, but in Heathcliff's case, the window symbolises the gap between him and Catherine that was initiated when Catherine was taken into the house. Heathcliff's reaction to seeing inside the Linton's home was unexpected; he began by describing the interior in great detail using language to depict the luxurious taste of it all, such as "a shower of glass-drops" and "a pure white ceiling bordered by gold." This may suggest an underlying longing for expensive and lavish things, but he contradicts this by saying "I'd not exchange, for a thousand lives, my condition here, for Edgar Linton's at Thrushcross Grange" ["Wuthering Heights"; page 48) (1)]; this describes his hate for Edgar Linton, because Heathcliff's home life is told as being preferable to living with him.Heathcliff's nature is described in a way that had not previously been portrayed before; his cruelty and nastiness is exposed to the reader who would be shocked at the thoughts of such a small child; "... I might have the privilege of flinging Joseph off the highest cable, and painting the house-front with Hindley's blood!" ["Wuthering Heights"; page 48 (1)]. Using blood as a kind of paint could be linked into a primitive ceremonial device within savage tribes. The feeling of Heathcliff is shocking and is not expected of anyone, let alone a child. His cruelty also extends to animals as well; his reaction to the dog that had a hold of Catherine's leg was to try to hurt it to make it let go. This response is the same as Lockwood's in his second dream of Catherine; to make the ghost of Catherine let go of his wrist, Lockwood attempted to injure her. Both of their primary reactions involved violence, which says a lot about Heathcliff's character and nature- being lower class, he was expected to be uneducated and crude, which he...

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