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Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte - Barron's Booknotes
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You don't see much of Isabella before she becomes infatuated
with Heathcliff, and until then you assume she's much like her
brother Edgar. When Ellen goes to live at Thrushcross Grange
she compares Isabella and Edgar to a honeysuckle bush
embracing a thorn (Cathy). Ellen also says that Isabella is "a
charming lady of eighteen; infantile in manners, though
possessed of keen wit, keen feelings, and a keen temper, too, if

A shallow, weak creature, Isabella deceives herself into
believing that Heathcliff loves her, and she marries him despite
Edgar's warnings. After their marriage, when Heathcliff
persecutes her, she exhibits behavior decidedly unlike the usual
Thrushcross Grange qualities associated with Edgar; she rants
and raves and speaks as fondly of revenge as does Heathcliff.
Finally, when she can stand his abuse no longer, she leaves
Heathcliff, displaying an unexpected strength of character, and
goes off to a suburb near London to have her baby by herself.


Hindley's son Hareton, the young Cathy, and Linton Heathcliff
are often considered "echoes" of Heathcliff, the older Cathy,
and Edgar Linton, respectively. Certainly Hareton has some
Heathcliff-like qualities. He is rough, strong, foul-mouthed,
brave, bad-tempered. Heathcliff himself compares his
childhood to Hareton's and finds much in the boy to admire.

Hareton is a more moderate character than Heathcliff. He loves
Heathcliff and defends him against Cathy's attacks. Hareton's
love for the young Cathy, although strong, is not like
Heathcliff's wild, all-consuming passion for her mother.

What are you to make of this moderation? You can see Hareton
as a pale, diminished Heathcliff, a person who lacks
Heathcliff's energy, craftiness, and commanding presence. Or
you can see him as one of the few people in the novel who
have learned to love. In the last scenes he and the young Cathy
tease, not torment, each other. Perhaps it is the young lovers'
example that helps Heathcliff finally discover some strange
kind of peace in his own love.


Cathy can be seen, much like Hareton, as either a pale version
of her mother or as another person who truly learns how to

Cathy is spirited, but is not as wild as her mother. She may
wander over the moors, or go to the forbidden Wuthering
Heights, but you don't see her carelessly losing her shoes in a
bog. She may get angry, but she doesn't throw the temper
tantrums of the older Cathy.

When Heathcliff arranges her marriage to Linton, he must take
advantage of her tenderness to do so. This forces him to
recognize that such soft feelings exist. Cathy may reject
Hareton out of pride at first, but they are the ones finally able
to escape the vicious circle of suffering in which the other
characters were trapped.


Linton Heathcliff is sickly, spoiled, selfish, and sadistic. When
young Cathy-the only person in years to show him any
kindness-is locked up at Wuthering Heights by Heathcliff, her
tears don't move him; they annoy him.

Linton can be seen as an "echo" of Edgar: he looks like him,
his achievements are mental rather than physical, and he does
get the girl. But to push this comparison too far is unfair to
Edgar. Linton seems to possess the worst qualities of Edgar
and Heathcliff.

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Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte - Barron's Booknotes

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