How it portrays the human condition Essay
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In the time it’s set of 1801, social classes were arife within the country. It was normality to marry someone within the same class, and was frowned upon to do anything different. The importance of class is evident when Cathy says: ‘if the wicked man had not brought Heathcliff so low, I shouldn’t have thought it [not to marry him]’. This signifies how in this piece of literature Heathcliff is opressed by the rigid class system, and becomes a victim in the way that class is the very thing that prevents Cathy & Heathcliff marrying.
The fact Heathcliff is told every day how worthless he is and how lucky he is to be in ‘a decent house’ provokes his hate towards the separation of their society into classes. As of the way Hindley treated him like a servant and degrading him, Heathcliff shows pure hatred towards him. He also exposes this putrid manner towards the Linton’s, whom in time changed Catherine, in a way to believe she was much too good for Heathcliff. We are first made aware of how much class is going to affect Heathcliff’s and Cathy’s love for each other when Catherine is attacked by dogs, in which the blame lies upon Heathcliff.
The Linton’s then describe him as: ‘a wicked boy… quite unfit for a decent house. ‘ Although it is hardly frowned upon to marry someone from a different class in today’s society, this novel remains relevant on the human condition by the fact that it portrays how someone will do truly anything in their power to be with the person they love with, which is of course shown by Heathcliff. The fact he has been placed in a lower class differentiates how Cathy shows her love towards him, forcing Heathcliff to try and better himself.
This even results in Heathcliff attempting to drive Cathy mad with jealousy, by marrying Isabella. In his pursuit of Cathy’s love, he manages to destroy all around him, affecting his own self. This means that Bronti?? could even be supporting the upholding of these conventional values. Initially the answer would seem to be no, as the reader sympathizes with Heathcliff; the gypsy oppressed by a rigid class system and constantly referred to as ‘imp’ or ‘fiend’. But as Heathcliff pursues his revenge and persecution of the innocent, the danger posed by him to the community becomes apparent.
Like other novels of the 1830s and 40s, Wuthering Heights may really suggest the necessity of preserving traditional ways; to prevent danger to the world that is perhaps even unnecessary, because fighting for this cause still won’t get you what you want. This helps us understand even if we know that ultimately we cannot obtain what we want, we will still fight for it the best we can; part of the human condition. Cathy is so induced by this system of class, she thinks of class as part of the reason to marry someone or a reason to love.
Cathy thinks of Edgar as a way of elevating her position in the community, which can be seen when she’s talking to Nelly (and I shall like to be the greatest woman of the neighbourhood). Because Cathy is so interested in society, it comes to a point where it corrupts her love for her own ‘family’. This is apparent to her relationship with Nelly; before Cathy was seduced by this idea of high-society, she regarded Nelly as just as important as her own mother. Though now, Cathy treats Nelly with disrespect, and even attacks her, much to Nelly’s anger: ‘O, Miss, that’s a nasty trick!
You have no right to nip me, and I’m not going to bear it’. This is important on the grounds that this represents the human condition in a way that we can all be deeply influenced by something to hurt the ones we love. By a range of devices, Bronti?? shows how each character is motivated. Throughout the novel we see how human motivation encourages a huge change in Cathy. At the beginning of the novel Bronti?? portrays her as a content, free, family-orientated girl. For illustration, the novel says Cathy ‘was hardly six years old, but she could ride any horse in the stable’.
This shows that Cathy was not yet influenced to be ladylike or prosperous, and was still a kindred spirit. She is still portrayed as this wild young girl, until the point where Heathcliff and she are spying on Thrushcross Grange, and are attacked by dogs. When they are found by the Lintons, Heathcliff is merely sent away deemed as ‘a wicked boy… quite unfit for a decent house’. However, Cathy is invited into the house, and the Lintons show her a whole new way of life, judging by her new concept of class, and anew sense of etiquette.
The reader is told that her remaining family have noticed her new self, especially Nelly: ‘there lighted from a handsome black pony a very dignified person’. The fact Nelly compares Cathy’s change to a horse links in with her love of riding horses, as shown earlier in the novel. Now this change has occurred, we now see how Cathy is not only motivated by love and fun as she was with Heathcliff, but by more shallow things perhaps, such as wealth and appearance. She is shown to be motivated by wealth when she discusses Edgar with Nelly (‘and he will be rich’).
She in fact talks about Edgar in such a way that she deserves this wealth and life of upper class. You can see how she’s motivated in a shallow fashion when she says to Heathcliff: ‘if you wash your face, and brush your hair, it will be alright. But you are so dirty! ‘ This shows that now, after these new found motivations, Heathcliff has to change how he is to acquire to Cathy’s needs, and in order to be loved by Cathy. On the other hand, Heathcliff is driven by one thing only; his animalistic and pure love for Cathy. Although he is motivated by love, other things quash this motivation, such as cowardice.
Heathcliff is jealous of what she sees in Edgar, and tries to tell Cathy he loves her, without success. He is close to declaring his love for her when they’re arguing, and he says: ‘the crosses are for the evenings you have spent with the Lintons, the dots for those spent with me… to show that I do care’. Fuelled by his love for Cathy, and how is world is centred purely on her actions, Heathcliff does some very spiteful things, condemning him as a gothic character. For example, he marries Isabella purely to induce jealousy within Catherine.
The novel shows how Heathcliff feels that if Cathy had not become a lady of etiquette with new motivations then they would never have been separated. This can be seen when he says: ‘Because misery, and degradation, and death, and nothing that God or Satan could inflict would have parted us’. With the human condition in question, this is important because it shows how humans can feel hatred not towards a person exactly, but towards the actions and changes that occur in that person. In the novel we are also shown by Bronti?? how certain circumstances like loss and jealousy can change someone, and their condition of humanity.
After his wife dies, Hindley’s character changes dramatically. Before this loss, he loved his family dearly, and was content with his life. However, after her death, Hindley is subdued into a world of alcoholism and fury, to the point where he endangers the lives of his loved ones. This is shown when Hindley ‘carried him [his own son] upstairs and lifted him over the banister’ and actually drops him. Hindley is also affected by jealousy. Because his adoptive brother, Heathcliff, was favoured by his father, he had to endure being shadowed by Heathcliff all of his childhood, until his father died.
Considering this, Hindley grew up to hate Heathcliff, and eventually destroyed Heathcliff, using him as a servant, placing him in a lower class. Therefore, Hindley indirectly ruined Heathcliff’s chances of obtaining Cathy’s hand in marriage. In conclusion, I feel that the novel by Emily Bronti?? helps us to understand the human condition in a way that no other novel does. Her unique way of showing love within the novel meant that she didn’t just show the initial attraction of love, but how it can corrupt one’s other feelings and thoughts. Bronti??
‘s use of language within the novel displays the emotions and motivations of the characters successfully, and gives a great sense of the reality of the human condition to the novel. As a result of this, Bronti?? will remain one of the greatest writers to of lived, and her books will, and currently, remain as relevant and as important as they did in the 19th century. Laura Pearson Show preview only The above preview is unformatted text This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Miscellaneous section.