Clashing Contrasts in "Wuthering Heights"

Essay by chicky9315High School, 12th gradeA+, February 2006

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The juxtaposition of sharply disparate elements, i.e. "clashing contrasts," can give rise to violence. Such is certainly true of Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights. In fact, the entire novel could be analyzed using comparison and contrast. Examples of the "clashing contrasts" are found in the violence between Heathcliff and Edgar, Heathcliff and Linton, Heathcliff and Hindley, Catherine and Isabella, and Heathcliff and Isabella. Other contrasts which serve to explicate the plot and relationships are the differences between Heathcliff and Edgar, Hareton and Linton, and Nelly and Lockwood.

Edgar and Heathcliff are the perfect example of clashing contrasts. These two men are so different from one another that it is no wonder that violence was the way they expressed their mutual hate for one another. Their first encounter was at Wuthering Heights. The Lintons came over for Christmas and Edgar made a rude comment about Heathcliff's hair. "Heathcliff's violent nature was not prepared to endure the appearance of impertinence from one whom he seemed to hate.

He seized a tureen of hot apple sauce and dashed it full against the speaker's face and neck." The two boys' struggle to win Catherine's heart leads them to try to hurt one another in the process.

Catherine agrees to marry Edgar and Heathcliff leaves Wuthering Heights for three years because he is so hurt by this engagement. When he returns, he is a changed man on the outside, but he still has his sinful ways about him. One time, he visits Catherine while Edgar is out and the two get into a heated argument. Edgar is told about this and gets two servants to follow him in to the kitchen to make Heathcliff leave. He questions Catherine and, "Heathcliff, who had raised his eyes at the former speech, gave a sneering laugh at the...