Module Module ID: Bronte’s Depiction of Different Aspects attributed to Human Nature “Wuthering Heights” serves to be one of the most powerful fictions produced during Victorian Era, depicting the social life prevailing in the rule areas of early nineteenth century England. Created by the brilliant poetess and novelist Emily Bronte, the work has attempted to portray the diverse domestic orientation as well as cultural values being observed by both of the illustrated families of the novel i.e. Earnshaw and Linton, residing at Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange respectively, by skillfully interweaving the characters belonging to two generations of both of the above-mentioned families. Though apparently, the Earnshaw and Linton families witness many commonalities between each other; nevertheless, they maintain quite different outlook of life, which could be found by make a critical investigation into the lifestyle, attitude and behavior of these families. The work endorses the command of the author over human psychology, where she successfully demonstrates quite opposite personality features attributed to the characters of the work under discussion.
Mr. Earnshaw, the head of Earnshaw family, appeared to be a kind heart, though he was rather severe sometimes. (34). Hence, Hindley and Cathy had inherited the imbalanced disposition from his father Mr. Earnshaw, where both of them had refused to accept the savage brat Heathcliff in their house, though Cathy later developed friendship with him (35-7). It is therefore the narrator viewed that both Cathy and Heathcliff had promised fair to grow up as rude as savages (44), partly due to Hindley’s negligence towards them.
On the contrary, the Lintons, i.e. Edgar and Isabella were declared to be good children, who did not deserve or receive any punishments the children at Wuthering Heights experienced in the wake of their bad conduct (46). Moreover, the Linton parents also maintained calm and peaceful temperament, and always observed tranquility while interacting to others (45). Though both the families were almost similar with regards to social status and financial position, somehow, the Linton turned out to be superior in grooming and mannerism to the children living in Wuthering Heights. Similarly, the serious and sober Isabella looked a bit different from the jovial and naughty Catherine (48).
One of the most important reasons behind Hindley’s displaying harshness towards Heathcliff was his being short-tempered and aggressive towards the servants (46-8). Hindley’s treatment of Heathcliff was enough to make a fiend of a saint (65). On the other hand, Linton also disliked the uncivilized orphan boy, though he did not express his hatred in such a violent and insulting way as observed by Hindley towards Heathcliff (82).
Being a civilized by nature, Edgar seldom mustered courage to visit Wuthering Heights openly, because of having a terror of Earnshaws reputation (65-6), which reflects the difference in the nature and disposition of both the two families. It also mirrored the calm and composed nature attributed to the Linton family, which they used to display during their interaction with the Earnshaw children (53). Hindley sought relief in heavy drinking and intoxication after the destruction of his family fabrics (63-4), while Edgar preferred to spend a recluse life in the wake of the sad demise of his wife Catherine and sister Isabella.
In addition, Catherine was an exceptional beauty, the queen of the countryside; with no peer; though she also did turn out a haughty, headstrong creature (66). On the other hand, Isabella was not so beautiful cool as Catherine, and was also impatient and unwise one. Catherine turned out to be wiser and more visionary in comparison with Isabella; it is partly due to the very fact that Catherine also maintained deep feelings for Heathcliff, though she would never choose this uncouth and ill-groomed fellow to be her life-partner (91). On the contrary, Isabella was stubborn, and could not resist the emotions prevailing in her heart for Heathcliff, though she had to pay a ransom amount for marrying the cruel and heartless fellow (97). Isabella had given birth to Heathcliff’s son, while Catherine gave birth to Cathy Linton; where both the cousins would marry each other during their adult years, as per the plans devised by the evil-minded Heathcliff. The future events displayed that Hindley’s son Hareton had also inherited short-tempered disposition and aggression from his father, while Heathcliff’s son Linton inherited meekness from his mother Isabella and maternal uncle Edgar.
To conclude, it becomes evident that though both the families under-examination looked equivalent ones with regards to their social status and financial position; nevertheless, the Earnshaw and Linton families were in sharp contrast in respect of disposition, habits, lifestyle and vision about life. One of the most significant reasons behind Bronte’s portraying these families in an entirely diverse manner, could be her intention to depict the variety humans maintain in their nature. On the one side, Hindley looked proud, aggressive and haughty, and kept Heathcliff at an arm’s length throughout; and on the other side, he sought relief in drinking in order to mourn the death of his wife for the rest of his life. Similarly, Edgar appeared to be compromising and submissive by nature, who could neither stop Heathcliff from visiting Thrushcross Grange, nor was he in a position to prevent Isabella to marry the savage Heathcliff; somehow, he exchanged hot words with Heathcliff with the aim of prohibiting his entrance at his place. Hence, the novelist has skillfully demonstrated her proficiency to depict the characters with varying nature and disposition, which exhibits the rude and callous Earnshaw family to be quite difference from the meek and civilized Lintons.
Bronte, Emily. Wuthering Heights. 1848. Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library Web.