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Thread: Wuthering Heights and class conflict

  1. #1
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    Wuthering Heights and class conflict

    I was thinking about this novel the other day, and thought that maybe the characters of Heathcliff and Cathy represent different sides of the economic spectrum. Heathcliff is a gypsy, at the very bottom of the social ladder, almost a pariah. He is an orphan/abandoned child, and gets a chance to raise his social status after being adopted by the Earnshaws. However, he becomes angry when the rich, represented by Cathy, remain just as aloof and indifferent to him after he becomes wealthy as before.
    Then, Cathy dies, thus symbolizing the destruction of the upper class, leaving Heathciff lost in grief. After Heathcliff's death the two are reconciled; implying that the only way the upper lower classes can be reconciled is through the destruction of both.
    Maybe this is obvious theme I am just now noticing, or perhaps it's something not regularly touched upon.

    What are your thoughts?
    Last edited by Stendhal; 07-13-2010 at 09:52 PM.

  2. #2
    Registered User Yongen He's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stendhal View Post
    I was thinking about this novel the other day, and thought that maybe the characters of Heathcliff and Cathy represent different sides of the economic spectrum. Heathcliff is a gypsy, at the very bottom of the social ladder, almost a pariah. He is an orphan/abandoned child, and gets a chance to raise his social status after being adopted by the Earnshaws. However, he becomes angry when the rich, represented by Cathy, remain just as aloof and indifferent to him after he becomes wealthy as before.
    Then, Cathy dies, thus symbolizing the deo struction of the upper class, leaving Heathciff lost in grief. After Heathcliff's death the two are reconciled; implying that the only way the upper lower classes can be reconciled is through the destruction of both.
    Maybe this is obvious theme I am just now noticing, or perhaps it's something not regularly touched upon.

    What are your thoughts?
    First of all, it's only mentioned in the book that Heathcliff looks like a Gypsy, there is no further evidence of his birth. The theme of WH as class conflicts has already been discussed by many people. Here are some links, take a look and hope they are helpful.
    http://academic.brooklyn.cuny.edu/en...r/1695329.html;http://www.lotsofessays.com/viewpaper/1695329.html;http://www.cliffsnotes.com/study_gui...geNum-467.html
    Last edited by Yongen He; 08-07-2010 at 03:02 AM.

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    Yes there are many references to class conflict in Wuthering Heights. However, in the case of Heathcliff you are dealing with a character who does all he can to get back at the family that scorned him when she was poor. Rich or poor Heathcliff is a difficult character and the gypsy blood is what gives him a somewhat mysterious edge. So it is not only a question of money but personality as well.

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