Let's begin with feminism, apologies to all the groups that had this critical approach, I hope we didn't steal any of your material. Anyway, this theme seems to be prevalent in much of our reading for this year. So, we're going to take a little walk through the park, of feminism. Wuthering Heights has more feminism than you can shake a stick at, however, let's look at it more closely.
First of all, Catherine has quite a independent view of life. She might have been slightly spoiled as a child which led to this independent view of things. Cathering put herself in a position to have just as much control as many of the men in her life. For example, she says that she wants to marry Edgar in order to use his money to help Heathcliff. If that's not a political agenda, I don't know what is. Bronte constructs this character with much flare and outspokeness, a trait not uncommon to female characters in books by female authors. But, there's more to this story.
Young Catherine, or Cathy, is just as headstrong, and willful as her mother. She disobeys Nelly on countless occassions, and sneaks around at night to go see Linton. Not only that, but she passes secret letters to him. All of which is discovered by the ever snooping Nelly. Despite all of this, Cathy remains strong and never becomes weak in the face of adversity.
Next, we're going to discuss revenge. However, this will be on a much smaller scale than feminism. Heathcliff seems to be the only one in the novel obsessed with revenge. He never really chooses one target for this revenge, he's just mad at everybody. But, Edgar seems to receive a great deal of Heathcliff's wrath, indirectly. Heathcliff never actually kills him, but he does severe mental damage. Edgar knows that his wife loves Heathcliff more than himself, and Heathcliff perpetuates this misery by allowing Edgar to find him in Catherine's bedroom. Not only that, but Heathcliff, in the end, steals all of Edgar's possessions from him. Heathcliff steals Edgar's daughter, his wife, and his worldly goods. Of course, I don't mean he came with a mask and held Edgar up at gunpoint and demanded these things. Heathcliff conives his way into acquiring them, except for Catherine, who should have married Heathcliff from the very beginning, but that's another story.
Once again we return to Heathcliff and his manipulative ways. However, in this circumstance we will focus on the ways he manipulated children. Linton is the perfect example of this. Heathcliff forced Linton to marry Cathy (and he had to force Cathy to accept), and he forced Linton to write his will so that he received everything. Linton left nothing to his wife, why?, because Heathcliff wouldn't let him.
Heathcliff also manipulated Hindley when they were boys. The horses stand out to illustrate this. Hindley and Heathcliff had both received horses from Mr. Earnshaw. Unfortunately, Heathcliff's horse fell and he demanded that Hindley allow him to use his horse. Heathcliff threatened that if Hindley didn't do as he asked he would tell Mr. Earnshaw. Even from an early age, Heathcliff demonstrated a keen ability of manipulation.
Heathcliff rise from the poor boy brought in from the streets to the owner of two large estates, with plenty of money, is truly an amazing story. However, most of it the reader never discovers. All that Bronte chooses to tell us is that Heathcliff left, and then returned a very wealthy man. She chooses to mask where that wealth came from. Still much of his struggle to rise above everyone else is included. We watch as Heathcliff goes from the father's favorite to a servant boy. As he goes from a servant boy to a wealthy tenant, and from a wealthy tenant to a wealthy owner. Granted, not all of this took place in the most fair of terms, but, as they say, Life's not fair and then you die, so get over it. Still, the fact remains that Heathcliff rose above much of his difficulties and became something more than what he started out as.
Yet again we discuss Heathcliff, stop complaining. Apparently, Heathcliff carries a deep hatred for all society. He never seems to have a happy moment after Catherine dies. Every moment is spent calculating revenge against the society that has wronged him. He hates everybody, and acts upon that hatred. Even though Heathcliff masks it well; that fact is that he does harbor a great disdain for everything around him.