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Thread: power of choice determines fate

  1. #1

    power of choice determines fate

    In the early sequences of the novel Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte, it is clear that there is one main character who demands the spotlight. Catherine is the central character who dictates the outcome of the novel through her behavior and personal choices. She begins as Catherine Earnshaw, a mere child. When she reaches adolescence she is connected to Heathcliff, her adopted brother and first love. But, she leaves Heathcliff in an effort to pursue a more elevated social standing. For that reason, she marries Edgar Linton, gaining her the title of Catherine Linton. Through the use of Catherine the author presents a theme of personal choice, and how one's personal choices or lack of choices can determine the fate of others. Catherine's personal choices create drama, which shapes the outcome for all the other characters connected to her. Bronte takes us through a full circle and generation of characters whose lives in some way or another relate to Catherine's choices. However, depending on Catherine to make a clear choice is foolish. She lacks the ability to do so. As a result of Catherine's indecissivness, the characters around her suffer. Their reliance on an individual who is so unsure of herself makes the novel more dramatic, and further captures the reader as he or she tries to predict the outcome. Bronte uses Catherine to show how an individual, given the power of choice, can influence the choices of others, and inturn affect the fate of those characters.<br><br> The most apparrant struggles in choices that Catherine faces are between households and lovers. Bronte uses parallel's in order to give the reader a sense of foreshadowing in the choices that Catherine might make. She does this through conflicting characters and enviornments. She presents diversity in Catherine's surrroundings, which ultimately leads to complications in Catherine's decision making. Catherine's earliest residence was Wuthering Heights where she lived with her brother Hindley, her father Mr. Earnshaw, and her adopted brother/ first love, Heathcliff. The Wuthering Heights property is representative of the turmoil and the disturbances of its inhabitants. It is set above the townside in a desolate part of the Yorkshire Moor countryside. "Wuthering Heights is the name of Mr. Heathcliff's dwelling. 'Wuthering' being a significant provincial adjective, descriptive of the atmosperic tumult to which its station is exposed, in stormy may guess the power of the north wind, blowing over the edge... by a range of gaunt thorns all stretching their limbs one way, as if craving alms of sun."(2) The Wuthering Heights estate has a disorderly enviorment, it experiences harsh winds, stormy weather, and it lacks sunshine as evidence of it's undergrowthed plant life. At Wuthering Heights Catherine, experiences childhood with Heathcliff, where she was exempt of any worries, and was allowed to exercise her imagination. Heathcliff is the adopted child of the Earnshaw family. As a child he was described as a "Dirty, ragged, black-haired child... a gift of God, though it's as dark almost as if it came from the devil." (30) Despite his rugged appearance Catherine was drawn to him. <br> As the children grew older, Catherine and Heathcliff grew closer. Hindley's jelousy of Heathcliff grew too, as a result of Catherine's preference to Heathcliff over himself. When Mr. Earnshaw dies, the children were left in dismay. However, Catherine and Heathcliff rely on eachother for support. Often times they would run off to the moors and fantasize about what their life would be like together. Catherine's choice to have such a close relationship with Heathcliff disturbs her brother Hindley, He sees Heathcliff as an outsider who has taken what he feels is naturally his. This sentiment is reflected through future events, which emerge from his animosity. Hindley recieves the Wuthering Heights property, and gains control of all that goes with it. As a result, he treats Heathcliff poorly and condemns him to be a servant to/at Wuthering Heights. Despite Hindley's cruelty's, the relationship between Catherine and Heathcliff never ceases. Heathcliff's standing at Wuthering Heights serves as a key influential factor for Catherine's decision making. This is shown when Catherine<br>is faced with a parallel enviornment that is very different from Wuthering Heights and Heathcliff, from which she has to form choices.<br><br> Although Catherine has an undying compassion for Heathcliff, a part of her desires a more civilized lifestyle. Through a disaray of events she is given an opportunity to fulfill this desire with the Thrushcross Grange. Thrushcross Grange, is the upper-class Linton family's residence. The enviornment here is much calmer and orderly. It is the opposite of Wuthering Heights.This is seen through it's physical aspects and location. The Grange is located near the park in the flatter, more modern part of the Yorkshire moors. It is a model home for the wealthy, and has a more inviting urbane appeal to it. This is in contrast to the gothic allure of Wuthering Heights. "The light came from thence...and we saw---ah! it was beautiful--spledid place carpeted with crimson.. and a pure white ceiling bordered by gold, a shower of glass-drops hangingin silver chains from the centre." (40)A turning point for both Heathcliff and Catherine occurs, when they decide to seek adventure outside the confinements of Wuthering Heights, and wander down to Thruscross Grange. They go down in hopes that they might spy on the Linton's party, but end up with more adventure than expected. As they watched the Linton family parade the dance floor,Catherine is unexpectedely bitten by a dog. The commotion causes everyone inside to come out, where they find Catherine in agitated pain. They take her inside, while Heathcliff is denied entrance, and is forced to leave Catherine behind. Heathcliff takes this as an insult, thus carries a negative sentiment towards the Grange and all those who relate to it. The differences in Catherine's surroundings also serve as barriers that she must over come when she makes decisions. Barriers that inevitably seperate the two households, and the characters around<br><br> Catherine is ordered to stay at the Grange for five weeks in order to recuperate. During her time at the Grange, she takes a liking to such a luxurious lifestyle, and becomes intrigued with both Isabella and Edgar Linton. Here she enjoys more refined forms of amusement, such as reading, and fine clothing. Catherine enjoys the company of the Linton children Edgar and Isabella, who are similar in age to her and Heathcliff, all in there teens. Catherine not only notices differences in the activities of the Linton family, but of the people too. For instance, Edgar Linton is more dignified than that of Heathcliff, and leads a much more structured lifestyle. He is more passive, and does not present any form of agression. These are qualities that she is fond of. As time progresses the Linton family influences Catherine into becoming a more sophisticated young woman. In addition to this, Edgar and Catherine's relationship further develops, and they become engaged. When Heathcliff gets word of Catherine's engagment, he feels betrayed. The one person that he cared the most about has chosen somone else over him. This injures his pride, and his sense of self-worth declines. These feelings are only intensified when Catherine and Edgar visit Wuthering Heights. Catherine, with no notion of how Heathcliff felt about the situation comments on his rough appearence, "Why, how very black and cross you look!and how ---how funny and grim! buth that's because I'm used to Edgar, and Isabella Linton. Well, Heathcliff, have you forgotten me?" (44) This remark leaves Heathcliff feeling shameful, and full of resentment. Before, his appearance was not of importance to Catherine. His rugedness to her was a part of his detached and captivating appeal. To say that she is now used to Edgar and Isabella Linton, is almost like saying that she prefers there appearance over his. It is a reflection of her strive to be in the ranks of high-society, yet still maintain a close relationship with both Heathcliff and Wuthering Heights. She has to decide between the two, but she wants to have both.Heathcliff over hears Catherine talking to Nelly, a servant at Wuthering Heights, and close mentor to Catherine. When she talks to Nelly she reveals her motives for wanting to marry Edgar, "That will do to explain my secret, as well as the other. I've no more business to marry Edgar Linton than I have to be in heaven;and if the wicked man in there, had not brought Heathcliff so low I shouldn't have thought of it. It would degrade me to marry Heathcliff, now;so he shall never know how I love him; and that not because he's handsome, Nelly, but because he's more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same and Linton's is as different as a moonbeam from lightning, or frost from fire."(68) Heathcliff had only listened to the part up until she had said that it would degrade her to marry Heathcliff, and then he left. Her conversation with Nelly show's Catherine's indecissivness. It show's how even though she wishes to be considered and upper classman, she still desires to keep her connection with Heathcliff, which she knows is a stronger bond than she has with Edgar. However Heathcliff has allowed himself to be belittled by Hindley, and that has allowed her to see the reality of the situation, which is that she cannot achieve clout by marrying Heathcliff. She eventually decides to marry Edgar, despite her strong feelings towards Heathcliff.<br> Catherine's choices, in a sense, divide the two households, and the people she cares about.<br><br>In response to Catherine's choice, Heathcliff decides to leave Wuthering Heights and find a way to set himself above Hindley, Catherine, and Edgar. When he leaves,Catherine tries to find him, but she does not succeed, she becomes sick after being out all night. Catherine is reliant on Nelly for comfort. For this reason, she asks Nelly to come work for her at the Grange. Nelly consents to this, and leaves Wuthering Heights to take care of Catherine at the Grange. Heathcliff returns as a wealthy and established gentlemen, no one know's where he went or what he did to get his money, but they are stunned by his sudden alteration. "I was amazed, more than ever, to behold the transformation of Heathcliff. He had grown a tall, athletic, well-formed man; His countenance was much older in expression, and decision of feature than Mr. Linton's; it looked intelligent; and retained no marks of former degradation. A half-civilized ferocity lurked yet in the depressed brows, and eyes full of black fire, but it was subdued; and his manner was even dignified." (81) Catherine's origninal choice to marry Edgar is the basis for Heathcliff's transformation, and subsequently the cause for all events that follow. Once again Catherine puts her choices into question. This change in Heathcliff causes Catherine to re-think her origninal choice to marry Edgar, which further creates conflict. This turmoil is reflected through their actions and behavior that develops in response to her uncertainty. <br><br><br>Heathcliffs strive for acceptance from Catherine. Her decision to marry Edgar and live at the Grange has caused him to seek revenge and act out in similar ways. He pursues to take over Wuthering Heights, by encouraging Hindley to foolishly gamble away his inheritance. Hindley thus is at the mercy of Heathcliff. Hindley dies a few years later leaving Heathcliff with Wuthering Heights and Hindley's son, Harenton. While this is happening he makes continual visits to Catherine at the Thrushcross Grange in order to show Catherine how he has changed, and to make her realize what she has missed out on. His actions are all in an effort to gain the affection of Catherine. Heathcliff's presence at the Grange and with Catherine perturbes Edgar. He dislikes the amount of affection Heathcliff recieves from Catherine. This further creates tension between Heathcliff and Edgar. They both find eachother to be a threat. Eventually Edgar demands Catherine to make a choice about who she will be with. "'You must answer it;Will you give up Heathcliff hereafter, or will you give up me? I t is impossible for you to be my friend, and his at the same time; and I absolutely require to know which you choose.'" (101) Catherine does not know how to respond to Edgar's demand, she simply state's that she will not give him an anwser, and she will not be forced to make a decision between the two. Consequently, she goes into a self-absorbed fit of madness. She uses her sickness and weak mental state as an excuse to avoid the situation. Catherine's refusal to make a choice generates conflict for the other characters. <br><br> Heathcliff's rash behavior only intensifies as Edgar makes an efforts to keep him away from Catherine . Heathcliff wishes to be with Catherine. However, he still feels like an outsider, and seeks a way to reach her. In order to do this, he misleads Isabella Linton, Edgar's sister, into believing that he is interested in her. She is easily mislead by his act, and becomes infatuated with Heathcliff. She is naive enough to the point where she agrees to run away from the Grange to Wuthering Heights and marry him. Edgar is inferiorated at the idea of Isabella marrying Heathcliff, and threatens to cut off all ties she has to the Grange and himself. Isabella ignores Edgar's requests, and joins Heathcliff at Wuthering Heights. Heathcliff creates this drama in hopes to have taken control away from Edgar, so that he may be closer to Catherine. Catherine's inabliltiy to make a clear decision about what she wants causes Heathcliff to act out, Edgar to become envious, and Isabella to become seperated from her family.<br><br>Catherine's choice to leave Wuthering Heights has indirectly has caused Isabella to suffer. Heathcliff's injured pride from Catherine's choice makes him bitter. He cannot find happiness, therefore he takes out his frustration on Isabella. The contrast from Isabella's prim and proper lifestyle at the Grange to a more unstable life style at Wuthering Heights, leaves Isabella feeling lost. "You'll not be suprised, Ellen, at my feeling particularly cheerless, seated in worse than solitude, on that inhospitable hearth, and remembering that four miles distant lay my delightful home, containing the only people I loved on earth...--where must I turn for comfort?" (119) She suffers in the sense that she no longer has the comforts of the Grange, and is subject to Heathcliff's malcontent. She loses her sense of hope, and begins to realize that Heathcliff never loved her, he just used her to get to Catherine. Isabella finally leaves Heathcliff and Wuthering Heights, and gives birth to a son who she names Linton. <br><br>Catherine lacks the ability to see past her own selfishness and how it affects others well being. Another character who is dependent on Catherine, is Edgar. He turns out to be dissapointed by Catherine's choices. Edgar who is usually very passive, becomes envious of Catherine's fondness for Heathcliff. He expresses his disaproval of their relationship, which is unlike his personality. Normally he is very submissive, and accomadates Catherine's wishes. Edgar's alteration in personality indicates the conflict that Catherine has created by her inability to make a choice between Heathcliff and Edgar. Although Edgar has plainly stated that he does not wish Catherine to have a relationship with Heathcliff, Catherine continues to fraternize with Heathcliff behind Edgar's back. Edgar finds out what is happening, and forbids Heathcliff and any further associations with Heathcliff from entering his household. Her choice to continue a relationship with Heathcliff betrays Edgar's trust for Catherine. By betraying his trust, he holds her actions against her and carries a grudge against Heathcliff and anything that is connected to him. "'No'...'It is needless. My communication with Heathcliff's family shall be as sparing as his with mine. It shall not exist!'" (125)<br><br>Catherine's choices has divided households,the people closest to her, and the generations of family members that follow.<br>By bringing Nelly to the Grange, Catherine has arranged the position for Nelly's future. Nelly is also caught between households, as her loyalties are to both Catherine and Heathcliff. Nelly acts as a mediator between familys and households. However the stubborn attitudes of those around her complicate her efforts to create peace. "... I came to a <br>stone where the highway branches off... a rough sand-pillar, with the letters W.H. cut on its north side, on the east, G., and on the west, T.G. It serves as a guide-post to the Grange, Heights, and village." (92) This is representative of the different paths Nelly is caught between as time progresses.

  2. #2
    well done. i am of the opinion that even if we try to avoid it all humankind is affected by the actions of others rather like a stone being skipped across the pond. it just happens. how we let it affect us is our business but affect us it does. from the person who dropped the a bomb to a person who stirs up gossip in a little village that causes a revolution we are all affected.

  3. #3
    la la la
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    adult school
    wow u write alot

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