This story has two separate social classes that each one of these characters come from, Catherine Earnshaw Linton who grew up in a middle class English countryside cottage called Wuthering Heights, Isabella Linton Heathcliff who grew up in an upper class English society in a mansion called Thrushcross Grange. The way in which, Bronte sets up these character and the environment give you a great image of what the characters are going to be like. Wuthering Heights is a dwelling characterized by fiery emotions, primal passions, bitter vengeance, and evil. The Thrushcross grange is a peaceful, beautiful abode, which symbolize all that is good and lovely. In this Romantic novel Bronte includes these two places to create a contrast between good vs. evil.
Bronte bring this contrast to light in the way she describes Wuthering Heights as a house set high upon a hill where it is exposed to extreme weather conditions.
Bronte talks about the storms that rattle over the heights in full fury. The name it's self-symbolic of its nature, "Wuthering being a significant provincial adjective, descriptive of the atmospheric tumult to which it's station in exposed in stormy weather"ÃÂ. (4) She describes the house as harsh, cold where, "the narrow windows are deeply set in the wall and the corners defended with large jutting stones"ÃÂ. (4) She depicts it as having a "pervading spirit of neglect,"ÃÂ (4) being filled with un-cheerful things such as drab dÃÂÃÂ©cor and cruel dogs.
The Thrushcross Grange is altogether opposite from the Heights. Bronte's description is not as in-depth; the reader is still able to gather many images of the peaceful abode. The Grange is set within a lush, protected valley and is encompassed by a high stone wall. It is filled with books, music, and other lovely objects. Our first encounter with Thrushcross Grange, we are told that, "the light come from thence."ÃÂ (48) It is described as "beautiful a splendid place carpeted with crimson, and crimson-covered chairs and tables and a pure white ceiling bordered by gold, a shower of glass-drops hanging in silver tapers."ÃÂ (48) So after describing these two places your can see the symbols that the two places represent. One can gather from this that the characters that lived in these two places would be Bronte's contrast between good and evil.
As the time goes on in this story both Catherine and Isabella will switch places and live in each other's dwellings. This give Bronte her story line for good and evil and how it changes people and makes them behave.
Catherine Earnshaw Linton is an intensely emotional character. From the time she was a child, she made choices based on her urges and feelings, and would become irritated if her will was not maintained. One time she became violently abusive when Nelly insisted on supervising her visit with Edgar. She pinched and slapped Nelly, shook Hareton when he began to cry, and then slapped Edgar when he attempted to intervene. This sort of unstable emotional state made Catherine very frail that she often became ill after an outburst. In the argument that she had with Heathcliff and Edgar, she became very ill and eventually died. It could be argued that her tendency for passionate outbursts drained the life from her. Catherine is a strong young woman and she is defiant of authority since young age. "She was never so happy as when we were all scolding, her at the same time, and she defying us with her bold, saucy look, and her ready words"ÃÂ (43). This shows her great need for attention and she had this need since she was a child and went on throughout her marriage to Edgar. It could be argued that both Cathy and Isabella's need for attention drove them to marry the men they did. Isabella was upset about her brother's attention toward Cathy and not toward her. Cathy did everything in her power to get her brother Hindley's attention by paying attention to Heathcliff as much as she could. She knew how her brother despised Heathcliff.
Catherine is a complex and shallow character in the way she answers why she is marrying Edgar, Nelly asked her "you love Mr. Edgar, because he is handsome, and young, and cheerful, and rich, and loves you"ÃÂ (78). Nelly asked her if he did not possess the four attractions would she still marry him and she said "no"ÃÂ (78). Did Catherine not bring all this on herself? When she told Nelly that she could not marry Heathcliff because it would degrade her. The fact that Heathcliff heard this is what started his plot against Catherine, which led Heathcliff to the demise of the Linton's. Cathy knew what she was doing she predicted that she would be flung out of heaven on to Wuthering Heights and this gave her joy. She knew she would walk the earth and not be at peace. Perhaps their love was so powerful that it could only be contained within the realm of the dead.
The contrast between Isabella and Cathy are like night and day. Isabella who was brought up is a peaceful happy abode makes this choice to marry Heathcliff because she has this romantic elution that Heathcliff would be her hero and take her away from the Grange and they would live happily every after. Heathcliff plan was in action since he first left Wuthering Heights. Then he found out Isabella secret from Catherine "that the love Edgar has for me is nothing to that she entertains for you"ÃÂ (104) and tells Heathcliff he then set's out to use Isabella to destroy the Linton's and take everything they have. I believed Isabella was attracted to Heathcliff because of this brutality it did not disgust her. He is brutal to Isabella he see her as weak, cringing and undeveloped. Isabella it would seem that she has enjoyed, and even provoked him and could be sadistic. Isabella's was greatly unhappy in her marriage to Heathcliff she found Wuthering Heights dirty, uncivilized and unwelcoming. Heathcliff did not let her sleep in the some room with him and the rest of the people in the house all had their own demons that they were dealing with. She was miserable and regretted her marriage. Her lack of moral strength and her ladylike education has in no way prepared her for her married life so when she loses her pride she has little else to fall back on. Money is worth nothing when it puts women in unfortunate position because they depend on men like Isabella who could not escape from Heathcliff without the help of her brother who is pique at his sister for deserting him for his enemy.
It could be said that both of these women thought they had control over their marriages and destiny but they did not. Edgar thought he owned his wife, and had a right to restrict her behavior. We can imagine Catherine's affection for Edgar in terms of property and her emotion were the property of Heathcliff. As for Isabella her tendency towards impotent cruelty shows up in her verbal taunts. Although the weak are unable to physically express their hatred, they can like Isabella, use verbal abuse to hurt their enemy's emotions. They did not have the ability to shape and control their lives or their marriages but in the end Cathy did will herself to death and Isabella left Heathcliff. For both of them it was too late.
The power of good is stronger than the power of evil and the good will someday dominate.
What kind of person would not marry their soul mate and marry a man for money instead? What about the sadism and cruelty and how it affects the characters throughout the novel?