"Wuthering Heights" by Emily Bronte.

Essay by sparklemaxHigh School, 11th gradeA+, September 2003

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"Love as a destructive force in Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights"

In relation to the novel Wuthering Heights , the term "destructive force" is connected to the force which thwarts Catherine's existence. Indeed, my target is to show that her deep love for Heathcliff destroys her life, for it is incompatible with her need for conformity. Thus, a real dilemma is placed upon the heroine: if she chooses to improve her social condition, she equally chooses death, as her love for Heathcliff, which is her elixier of life, cannot be satisfied. If she opts for true love, she will lose her individual freedom. This dilemma creates in Catherine an inner conflict, which leads to her death.

Cathy is placed in a real dilemma as she has to choose between deep, passionate love and conventional love which is based on social ambition, the two being incompatible. Whereas her love for Heathcliff "resembles the eternal rocks beneath", her love for Edgar is "like the foliage in the woods".

These contrasting similes convey the contradiction between Cathy's feelings about Heathcliff and Edgar. We know that rocks are basic and structural in the sense that they hold everything in place. The reader therefore realizes that Cathy depends on the strength of buried feelings about Heathcliff. These feelings are contrasted by her feelings about Edgar. Foliage is colourful and reaches high in the sky. The latter feature is suggestive of Edgar's status. Cathy is not drawn to him because he is "necessary" like Heathcliff, but because he is "handsome, rich", and could enable Cathy to become "the greatest woman of the neighbourhood". The similes furthermore juxtapose eternity with ephemerality. Cathy actually knows that her love for Heathcliff is indestructible, whilst her love for Edgar will not last.

The writer's use of...