Raven Symoné

Raven Symoné

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Vengeful Repetition in WH

  Wuthering Heights is essentially a story focused on repetition. On the surface, this recurring theme is clear through things like Catherine and young Catherine, with a simple repetition of names. But as the book continues, repetition in a deeper sense is revealed. Many critics agree that the story essentially repeats itself with regard to conflicts: first with Hindley bothering Catherine and Heathcliff, and then later with Heathcliff bothering Hareton, Linton, and young Catherine. This repetition is obvious and is well supported throughout the text. 
Initially, when Heathcliff joins the Earnshaw family, he is very quickly loved by both Hindley’s father (as the new “baby” of the family) as well as Catherine. Hindley’s jealousy is obvious very quickly as he does not want to give up the privilege of being the young man of the house: “…The young master had learned to regard his father as an oppressor rather than a friend, and Heathcliff as a usurper of his parent's affections and his privileges; and he grew bitter with brooding over these injuries” (Brontë 55). Hindley quickly looks for ways to seek revenge on, essentially, his replacement by Heathcliff. When Hindley returns from college as head of the estate, he swears to seek revenge on Heathcliff for, in his opinion, ruining his childhood. His vengeful attitudes are blatantly spoken in chapter three and prove the beginnings of the vengeful cycle that is Withering Heights: “He [Hindley] has been blaming our father… for treating H. [Heathcliff] too liberally; and swears he will reduce him to his right place” (Brontë 30). When Hindley dies, and Heathcliff eventually becomes the master of Wuthering Heights, his vengeful attitudes to get back at how Hindley treated him soon come to surface.
     When Heathcliff ends up taking care of Hareton, he essentially treats him as Hindley and shows that he will truly do anything to inflict pain on the closest person who treated him so poorly: “He had the hypocrisy to represent a mourner: and previous to following with Hareton, he lifted the unfortunate child on to the table and muttered, with peculiar gusto, "Now, my bonny lad, you are mine! And we'll see if one tree won't grow as crooked as another, with the same wind to twist it!” (Brontë 119). Heathcliff soon bothers Linton, his own son, and young Catherine, his deceased love’s daughter, seeking revenge on all three of the children living in his estate. Young Catherine believes that Heathcliff torments Linton and herself because he sees that they are in love, and becomes jealous of what he never had with young Catherine’s mother. Regardless, it’s clear that the tormenting of Linton, young Catherine, and Hareton are part of the repeated storyline that Wuthering Heights is. Although the head of the estate changes, the estate that is Wuthering Heights always is full of vengeful feelings; whether Heathcliff is enduring them or forcing them on others. Whether Heathcliff is truly a spiteful human being or he truly feels threatened by Linton, young Catherine, and Hareton is a psychological journey in itself.

Works Cited
     Brontë, Emily. Wuthering Heights.  New York: Scholastic, 1961. Print.

1 comment:

  1. Jake, I agree that Heathcliff just acted as Hindley did. In a sense, while growing up, Hindley was Heathcliff's father. There was no other male character to play that role after old Mr.Earnshaw's death, so it needed to be substituted. As they say the apple doesn't fall too far from the tree and Heathclffe's actions didn't change too much from Hindley's, save for the fact that he never got drunk, unless you count his weakness, Catherine, as his form of intoxication. But essentially this scheme of revenge can just be seen as a boy trying to follow his elder. Children are easily influenced.