Her powerful reason would have deduced new spheres of discovery from
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" Her powerful reason would have deduced new spheres of discovery from the knowledge of the old; and her strong, imperious will would never have been daunted by opposition or difficulty; never have given way but with life." M. Heger on Emily Bronte.1
Throughout her life time, Emily Bronte was a self-imposed recluse from society, living in the confines of the hellish and quite savage moors of Yorkshire. It is in this isolation that she found the inspiration and strength of emotion to write such potent prose and poetry. In keeping with these facts, it is quite plausible to state that her social means were somewhat lesser compared to the emotional content surrounding her. Furthermore, writing is such an impassioned state; it could well have been her only means to free her soul toward the outer world. In other words, her writings was the means by which she could search and question her personal knowledge on society.
Wuthering Heights develops the search for knowledge or truth that subsequently damns and saves her emotionally charged characters: Heathcliff searches for the knowledge he might one day rest with Catherine Earnshaw; Catherine Linton searches for the enigmatic truth behind the family secrets. Knowledge for the players is one of construction and deconstruction of character. I will thus prove that, while Catherine Earnshaw gains knowledge toward perdition of mind and soul, Catherine Linton undergoes a deconstructive process necessary for the attainment of peace and happiness in life.
Catherine Earnshaw's quest for knowledge does not start with her discovery of Thrushcross Grange, but with the discovery of Heathcliff himself. As a young girl, she is cloistered in a very secluded but happy family circle. The arrival of an exterior force, Heathcliff, starts the simple human process of discovery of the other. Catherine is a blank painting in our eyes - although "mischievous and wayward"2 like most children -before his entrance into the family fold. The reader must find the basic belief that the individual finds meaning in himself only by the relations that transpires with others. Catherine becomes a product of Heathcliff's new influence. It is ironic that instead of the whip she desired, her father has given her the means to become an individual craving more than the intimate family circle. One could say that the knowledge of the otherness pushes her away from the comfort of kindred unity and into the arms of the unknown harsh environment she is not prepared for. " I am Heathcliff" (p.8
2) exemplifies that Catherine will at one point overstep these basic relations and become a misogynous mold for both and vice versa. Heathcliff's passion becomes an ill-bred character development.
This process develops toward her encounter with Thrushcross Grange, and the question of primitive human social choice. Catherine is now faced with another new element totally unprepared and certainly lacking in character. She must choose between the pride of blood or the passionate emotions of her savage companion. Social knowledge becomes more important to her : (to Heathcliff) " It is no company at all, when people know nothing and say nothing..." (p.69). Catherine starved from the outer world has no choice by primal hunger to assimilate the plush and more intricate social contract that the Linton's offer. She explains her thoughts clearly to Nelly when discussing her marriage proposal. " And he will be rich, and I shall like to be the greatest woman of the neighbourhood, and I shall be proud of having such a husband." (p.78).
Catherine is ill-equipped to assimilate and comprehend the intricacies of her new situation : she has no concept of the price she must pay , and her grand emotional content is not enough to face the quite pragmatic and ingrate ideals of class. Her feeble explanation to Nelly that she will choose Edgar over Heathcliff is a weak excuse to explain why she has taken opulence of lifestyle over her primal passion for Heathcliff. The novelty of knowledge, culture and social rank has played its evil tune over the prey for the first time.
Catherine until now is seen more as an addict to the new and bewildering effect of culture and knowledge in society. It is impossible to dissociate this new process to one of personal development. First, Catherine is ill-educated on
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British films, English-language films, Hareton Earnshaw, Wuthering Heights, Heathcliff, Catherine Earnshaw, Catherine Linton, Edgar Linton, Nelly Dean, Draft:Veronica
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