Cathy and Heathcliff, revisited in midlife – Boundless
Heathcliff and Cathy's relationship especially has captured .. Because misery, and degradation, and death, and nothing that God or Satan. relationship between Heathcliff and Catherine. If were to . devil” and brings him home as “a gift of God” Although we do not know exactly to what extent the. The stumbling progress of the relationship between young Cathy and .. J. Hillis Miller's contention that God is absent from Wuthering Heights.
Simone de Beauvoir cites Catherine's cry, "I am Heathcliff," in her discussion of romantic love, and movie adaptations of the novel include a Mexican and a French version. In addition, their love has passed into popular culture; Kate Bush and Pat Benetar both recorded "Wuthering Heights," a song which Bush wrote, and MTV showcased the lovers in a musical version.
The love-relationship of Heathcliff and Catherine, but not that of the other lovers, has become an archetype ; it expresses the passionate longing to be whole, to give oneself unreservedly to another and gain a whole self or sense of identity back, to be all-in-all for each other, so that nothing else in the world matters, and to be loved in this way forever.
This type of passion-love can be summed up in the phrase more--and still morefor it is insatiable, unfulfillable, and unrelenting in its demands upon both lovers. Despite the generally accepted view that Heathcliff and Catherine are deeply in love with each other, the question of whether they really "love" each other has to be addressed.
Her sister Charlotte, for example, called Heathcliff's feelings "perverted passion and passionate perversity. Their love exists on a higher or spiritual plane; they are soul mates, two people who have an affinity for each other which draws them togehter irresistibly.
Heathcliff repeatedly calls Catherine his soul. Such a love is not necessarily fortunate or happy.Cathy & Heathcliff - My love, leave yourself behind...
Day Lewis, Heathcliff and Catherine "represent the essential isolation of the soul, the agony of two souls—or rather, shall we say?
Clifford Collins calls their love a life-force relationship, a principle that is not conditioned by anything but itself. It is a principle because the relationship is of an ideal nature; it does not exist in life, though as in many statements of an ideal this principle has implications of a profound living significance. Catherine's conventional feelings for Edgar Linton and his superficial appeal contrast with her profound love for Heathcliff, which is "an acceptance of identity below the level of consciousness.
This fact explains why Catherine and Heathcliff several times describe their love in impersonal terms. Are Catherine and Heathcliff rejecting the emptiness of the universe, social institutions, and their relationships with others by finding meaning in their relationship with each other, by a desperate assertion of identity based on the other?
Catherine explains to Nelly: What were the use of my creation if I were entirely contained here? My great miseries in this world have been Heathcliff's miseries, and I watched and felt each from the beginning; my great thought in living is himself. If all else perished, and he remained, I should still continue to be; and, if all else remained, and he were annihilated, the Universe would turn to a mighty stranger.
And I partook of the infinite calm in which she lay: Heathcliff forms a singular contrast to his abode and style of living. He is a dark-skinned gypsy in aspect, in dress and manners a gentleman — that is, as much a gentleman as many a country squire: They become playmates — one as wild and untamed as the other, and to say Heathcliff influences her would be an understatement.
I pray that he may break your neck I hope he will not die before I do! He inflicts emotional abuse, humiliation, and physical violence on her; Isabella relates her situation in a letter to Nelly: If so, is he mad? And if not, is he a devil? I sometimes wonder at him with an intensity that deadens my fear; yet, I assure you, a tiger or venomous serpent could not rouse terror in me equal to that which he wakens. In one scene, he even throws a knife at her. She says of Heathcliff: Heathcliff…checking fiercer demonstrations with a punch of his foot.
Heathcliff suffered through a painful upbringing as a victim of physical and emotional abuse. While it might account for some of his adult inclinations, it should not excuse them. Heathcliff suffered, yes, but he made others suffer, too. He was lonely and being bullied by her brother; she was lonely and feeling neglected by her family.
Heathcliff (Wuthering Heights) - Wikipedia
The maid, Nelly, observes their childhood relationship: The greatest punishment we could invent for her was to keep her separate from him: Heathcliff is heartbroken by her absence, and even more so when she returns and he sees how she's matured. Heathcliff and Cathy both refuse to apologise to each other for who they are and what they want, and perhaps because of her stay at the wealthy Lintons, Cathy realises the importance of marrying well.
She even tells Nelly: Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same…. When Cathy eventually marries Edgar, her relationship with Heathcliff worsens.
Cathy and Heathcliff, revisited in midlife
Heathcliff, for his part, refuses to let her go so easily. He is torn apart by her actions: Why did you despise me? Why did you betray your own heart, Cathy? I have not one word of comfort. You have killed yourself. Yes, you may kiss me, and cry; and wring out my kisses and tears: You loved me - what right had you to leave me? What right - answer me - for the poor fancy you felt for Linton?
Because misery, and degradation, and death, and nothing that God or Satan could inflict would have parted us, you, of your own will did it.
I have no broken your heart - you have broken it; and in breaking it, you have broken mine. So much the worse for me that I am strong. Do I want to live?
I lost my original copy, bought several others over the decades, but never re-read it. I am not sure I even remembered the ending; much of the book was a blur after Catherine died and Heathcliff was left bereft.
It simply remained seminal on the strength of that first reading. My school was on the fringes of Hampstead Heath, in North London, and I spent the first term of Lower Sixth lounging on the same spot of grass with my circle of friends, observing other groups of students. Until sixth-form, it had been a girls-only school but now boys joined us for English classes.
The girls changed in their presence; they were attentive, flirtatious, knowing just what to say. Where had they learned this?
I wondered, feeling quietly cast out from the Sophomoric drama of their parties and drunkenness and thigh-skimming dresses. My comprehensive school had been fairly multicultural and included many of the girls from the housing estates around Highgate, but almost all of that diversity had emptied out by sixth-form.
Love in "Wuthering Heights"
I admired their radical desire to get beneath — to overturn — convention, even if they both paid the price. As an immigrant myself, I had shuttled between London and Lahore, speaking only Urdu for the first six years of my life, and I felt every bit the outsider in my adoptive homeland.
By the time I came to Wuthering Heights, English was still the other language. Maybe because of his outsider status, I forgave him for his flinty-heart and his violence as an adult. I related to it like a first great love which all other loves are measured against; more distant yet more revered over the years.
It sounded, reassuringly, like a novel that I had every reason to keep admiring. I approved and bought collector copies.