Wuthering Heights is not a love story

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Wuthering Heights is not a love story. It is a romanticized obsession border line corrupted devotion between two people that aren’t even in love with each other. Catherine Earnshaw  and Heathcliff Earnshaw; two selfish people driven on pride and fear which unmistakably lead them to make the decisions they made. Catherine and Heathcliff grew up together, and were inseparable. To any outside eyes, Heathcliff and Catherine were destined to be married yet it was the fear and materialistic qualities of Catherine that influenced her to choose Edgar Linton, a wealthy man who proposes to Catherine despite being acquaintances approaching friends.  Catherine talks to Ellen about it and expresses her internal conflict whether too marry Edgar or choose Heathcliff. Many would realize where their hearts reside and where they know they are the happiest. “Follow your heart,” says Ellen. “I’d much rather follow my wallet and social status, thanks, replies Catherine. Now, Catherine didn’t say those exact words but she did tell Ellen that the reason she accepted Edgar’s proposal is because of his looks and wealth. When questioned about Heathcliff, Catherine says, “ It would degrade me to marry Heathcliff, now; so he shall never know how I love him…” Ironically, Heathcliff overhears her saying this and runs away. For three years. And gets rich.  The fact that Heathcliff willingly changes himself for the sake of returning and winning over Catherine. It is not romantic but plain sad. Catherine made her choice out of vanity and Heathcliff should have comprehended her decision and chose to mend his heartbreak.

After Heathcliff returns his intuitions are less then orthodox. His original plan was to attempt at wooing Catherine over and have her come crawling back to him. Yet, Catherine only sees his return as an act of rekindling friendship rather than love. This obviously hurts Heathcliff and the passion behind his actions changes; instead of being motivated by desire and devotion, he is now motivated by revenge and heartbreak. In spite of Catherine, he marries Isabella, her sister-in-law, unfortunately in doing this he is replicating Catherine’s actions to marry Linton. Heathcliff comes back to Thrushcross Grange to confront Catherine and she is faced to choose between Edgar and Heathcliff. She ends up shutting herself away and falling into a hole of internal conflict. At this point she has realized what she has done. She has ignored her desires and declined into a madness of the fact that she is not the lady she so wishes she was. By marrying Linton it became her ultimate demise since she is not a well-behaved lady of status and despite conforming to what society expects of her; she cannot live by those expectations. After Catherine died, Heathcliff becomes tortured by the fact that though her selfish acts destroyed his heart; he is still devoted to her through life and death.

And that is a tragedy.

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7 thoughts on “Wuthering Heights is not a love story

  1. Dear Liza-

    I’m glad that I read this piece because you have given me the motivation to read Wuthering Heights. The content of your blog piece and the way you described the relationship between Catherine and Heathcliff was intriguing and engaging.
    I want to compliment you on your title; it was attention-grabbing in its definiteness and was a great hook to this piece. I really like that you used an unexpected statement to entice people into reading your piece – that was a clever choice!
    I also really liked the visual that you put up at the beginning of your piece. From the perspective of someone who doesn’t know Wuthering Heights, it helped me to understand the tone of the novel and thereby have a better grasp of what you were going to be discussing. As well, you seemed to be conscious in your writing that some of your readers would not know Wuthering Heights because you provided enough retell that I didn’t feel lost or uncomfortable as I read.
    However, as a constructive criticism, while I appreciated the “Say” that you incorporated into your writing, I feel as though this piece was somewhat lacking in terms of “Mean” and definitely did not have enough “Matter”. I thought that your argument was well-organized and clean, but I didn’t feel as though it was significant because it wasn’t really linked to a larger understanding. Something that might help you to get to the “Matter” in your writing is by asking yourself, ‘so what?’ If your writing itself can’t answer that question, then you should consider editing it so that it does.
    Another thing that you may want to work on is in being conscious of your paragraphing. I also struggle with this, so I know how hard it can be, but paragraphs that are too long make the reader lose interest. As a writer, you have to try and find a balance so that your paragraphs are long enough to include some discussion but short enough that the reader feels they can breathe in between. This isn’t a huge deal, it just takes some practice – so don’t worry too much about it.
    Overall, thank you for an interesting read and for the motivation to read Wuthering Heights!


    1. Dear Ziyana,

      Thank you so much for this feedback and praise! I will definitely take your advice into consideration and I’m so pleased that my blog inspired you to read Wuthering Heights!



  2. Dearest Liza,

    AH how I love your voice in this piece! I could clearly hear your sarcasm, but also your love of the novel. An interesting part of this blog can be found in the lines, ” Many would realize where their hearts reside and where they know they are the happiest.” This one line is so powerful as it is full of wisdom way beyond a high school student, brilliant!

    One thing to work on would be sentence variation; a lot of the sentences were simple and the work can be easily elevated through the use of a few compound-complex sentences. Other than that tiny blip, I thoroughly enjoyed this piece!

    Thanks for such an interesting read!! 🙂


    1. Dearest Victoria,

      Thank you so much for your feedback and praise. I often struggle with sentence variation and I will work to fix that.



  3. Dear Liza,

    The argument you have made here has been disputed by readers for nearly 200 years, and I doubt that a consensus will ever be reached. I agree with you when you say Cathrine was materialistic – vain was how I first interpreted her as well, only I have come to see Cathrine and Heathcliff as equals in the demise of both themselves and those around them, rather than the aggressor and the victim. Neither were morally correct, for their ethical foundations were weakened since childhood; although, I am sure that there is a place within all of us that harbours the ability to be selfish when it comes to pursuing our innermost desires.

    That is what humans are infamously known for, after all.

    While we can agree that all of this is twisted and manipulative, I believe that the two truly do love one another – the fault lies in the fact that they love themselves more. Vanity and pride do not inhibit an individual from the capability of love, but I do believe it dooms a relationship from making either one of its contributors truly happy. In life, Cathrine denied herself the pleasure of pursuing her love for Heathcliff, yet in death she haunted him for her soul was bound to his (“Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.”) and I do not perceive this to be done out of spite or selfishness – I believe she loved him.

    I would love to continue discussing this idea with you, and furthermore, I would be interested in hearing your opinion on other characters from the novel as well when we return from break. Thank you for this wonderful, thought provoking piece and I hope you have a fantastic winter break!



  4. Dear Emily,

    Yess! Thank you so much for putting this into words! Your second paragraph was exactly the matter and mean that I was attempting to intertwine in my blog!

    Yet- I still do not think that Catherine would be selfless enough to truly love Heathcliff. She haunted him in death since she knew that she could not forgive herself for allowing herself to be miserable after choosing between Heathcliff and Edgar. She couldn’t handle the blame for it and continued to make Heathcliff just as miserable. They may have loved in childhood- but Catherine’s actions speak so much louder than her words of affection and devotion.

    I would also love to speak more about this with you after the break! Thank you for your comment and happy holidays! 🙂



  5. Dear Liz,

    Oh Wuthering Heights, how misleading your idea of a love story is. I completely agree with the fact that this is not love, instead some form of selfish infatuation for the other party. In this sense, no love can exist in the relationship, as the individual desires of both partners is more prevalent in their minds. This being Catherine’s desire for status and Heathcliff’s desire for revenge. Also, the small additions of humor you added here and there kept me engaged and interested in hearing more of your perspective on the novel. I enjoyed how you broke down the character’s motives and mindset in a detailed Say portion of the work.

    That being said, as others have stated, the mean and matter were not necessarily as abundant, though still present in the piece. Next time you do an analysis, don’t forget that these are important. Other than that, and a couple GUMPS errors, I found no issue with your piece and enjoyed reading it!

    Keep up the great work Liz (you egg)!


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