Wuthering Heights essay - Holcombe 1 Alex Holcombe English...

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Holcombe 1 Alex Holcombe English 185-8 Ashly Bennett 11/7/07 TO MARRY FOR LOVE OR SOCIAL POWER? Through the complex characters in Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë shows the contradiction between societal conformity and desire. Often when a character attempts to become more civilized their desires impede the process. Also, desire causes people to change their nature instead of staying true to their personality. The first part of the novel centers on Catherine being caught in a love triangle with Heathcliff and Edgar Linton. Her desire is with Heathcliff, but because of civilization and her need to be in high standing socially she has little choice but to marry Linton. Heathcliff further complicates the situation when he returns from his absence a more civilized and socially acceptable man, proper enough for someone like Catherine to marry. Through the example of Catherine and Heathcliff, Brontë demonstrates how the pressure to conform to society complicates relationships. In contrast, she focuses the second part of the novel on Catherine’s daughter’s (also named Catherine) similar love triangle. By making the right choice and deciding to marry the person she feels most passionate about, Young Catherine shows the positive results that come out of following desire and looking past other factors, such as wealth and social status. Catherine is the epitome of the social conflict between desire and civilization. Her actions throughout the novel, such as choosing to marry Linton, are driven by her
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Holcombe 2 social ambitions yet there is still a part of her motivated to break social conventions, such as loving Heathcliff and throwing outrageous temper tantrums. The pressure to conform to society and the contrasting desire to stay true to herself cause the conflicting loyalties to Heathcliff and Linton that eventually lead to Catherine’s downfall. Catherine describes the difference in her feelings towards Linton and Heathcliff: “My love for Linton is like the foliage in the woods. Time will change it, I’m well aware, as the winter changes the trees—my love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath—a source
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This essay was uploaded on 02/19/2008 for the course ENGL 185 taught by Professor Wronski,c during the Fall '08 term at Cornell University (Engineering School).

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Wuthering Heights essay - Holcombe 1 Alex Holcombe English...

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