Importance Of Human Nature In Emily Bronte's 'Wuthering Heights'
AP English 12
Salomone Pd. 4
WH Essay: “Cruelty towards others is always also cruelty towards ourselves” (Paul Tillich) Cruelty functions in literature as a multilayered device, endearing or alienating characters that are the target or perpetrator, respectively. The perpetrators reduce the targets’ humanity to no more than property, which usually entails feeling indifferent or taking pleasure at the suffering of others. In Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, cruelty functions as a meta-tool of to address various aspects of human nature. Three main instances that stem from different areas are Hindley’s cruelty towards Heathcliff, Heathcliff’s towards everyone (especially Linton) and Cathy’s towards Hareton until the development …show more content…
The description is intense and has vivid imagery: “The ruffian kicked and trampled on him, and dashed his head repeatedly against the flags…He exerted preter-human self-denial in abstaining from finishing him completely; but getting out of breath, he finally desisted, and dragged the apparently inanimate body on to the settle (178-179). First, the short but intense physical confrontation is a release of the tension that has been building since Hindley began bullying Heathcliff. Second, Hindley’s failed attempt may show that he has reached the point of no return; his cruelty has destroyed him mentally and physically to a degree that he will not survive much longer. Indeed, Hindley dies shortly after this fight. On the flip side, it shows the success of Heathcliff’s (slightly) justified cruelty and signifies his true rise to power. Heathcliff’s mistreatment of Linton parallels Hindley’s mistreatment of Hareton, again demonstrating the destructive cycle that is created by cruelty, and how cruelty can destroy everyone influenced by …show more content…
This “defrosting” between them is hinted at by Hareton’s disobeying of Heathcliff rules and allowing Cathy to keep Nelly’s letter. The opening up of their relationship is directly shown by their interactions when Lockwood visits again in 1802; language such as “as sweet as a silver bell” (307), describing Cathy’s tone towards Hareton, and “respectably dressed… handsome features glowed with pleasure” (307), describing Hareton’s physical transformation, show that the ending of the cruelty allows them to see each other clearly and by Cathy realizing her mistake, create a happiness for themselves. Brontë is possibly trying to say here that people should not be cruel to each other, or if they are, should realize it as soon as possible so they can reconcile with each other and their