The Role Of Social Status In Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights

Decent Essays
Social status during the early nineteenth century was a key component that contributed towards an intimate relationship and eventually marriage. In Emily Bronte’s mid-19th century classic epic, Wuthering Heights, Cathy Earnshaw limits her ability to love Heathcliff because of her high concerns regarding status. Although in the beginning Cathy and her daughter have a similar condescending behavior towards their companions, in the end Catherine detaches herself from the importance of class. Utilizing these two characters. Bronte not only distinguishes that happiness is not epitomized by one’s measure of social worth, but that, in fact the happiest beings are those who break from the cycle of class.
Status is the obstacle that prevents one from
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Cathy reinforces the idea of his inferiority after she visits the Grange. During her visit she realizes both the “attractive” and the “cultivated” lifestyle that the Grange maintains (Rogers 1). Cathy favors the idea of the highly refined characteristics and qualities of the upper class, later discovering that these features become detrimental to her happiness. The introduction to this new way of living creates a dramatic shift in, not only her appearance as a whole, but her treatment towards Heathcliff. Cathy begins constantly degrading Heathcliff for his imperfections and untidy appearance, which includes condescendingly commenting on his “black” and “cross” appearance (Bronte 53). Her condescending actions stem from her knowledge of the new and sophisticated qualities which she possesses, but that Heathcliff lacks. Cathy’s new mindset on the importance of class makes it challenging for her to love the debased Heathcliff for the man he truly is rather than the position he holds. Instead of being in a state of happiness, she finds herself in a conflicting and paradoxical situation. Cathy strives to hold an admirable place in society while at the same time has the desire to love Heathcliff. Although she has feelings for her lover, her …show more content…
Catherine Linton, Cathy Earnshaw’s daughter, meets favorable, yet inadequately educated, Hareton. She immediately distinguishes Hareton’s incompetency in reading and degrades him for his flaw. Catherine mocks him continuingly calling him “stupid” and a “dunce” (Bronte 213). Catherine’s wealth of education and knowledge cause her to act in a condescending manner towards her friend Hareton. This establishes a parallel between Catherine and her mother, who derides Heathcliff for being extremely filthy and base after integrating herself with the rich. Catherine and Cathy possess assets and characteristics that they deem are superior to those of their partners. With the possession of these noble qualities, both deride and demean their companions through their patronizing demeanor. Cathy insults Heathcliff based on his unfavorable background and appearance, and Catherine mocks Hareton for his illiteracy. However, Catherine gradually prevents herself from criticizing Hareton’s illiteracy to the point that it would tarnish their relationship. She adjusts her course, setting his flaws aside, and makes the effort to “teach him to read right” at the same time promising to “never tease him” (Bronte 300). Catherine’s new intent on educating Hareton distinguishes that she no longer cares about his position and where he is in society because of his

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