Discuss the ways in which individuals pursue or compromise their happiness
I decided to write a compare and contrast essay, comparing and contrasting Catherine Earnshaw and her daughter Cathy Linton. I focused on how individuals pursue their happiness through means of disregarding societal and family expectations in order to achieve their happiness while most individuals compromise that happiness through completing similar actions. My thesis states: In Emily Brontë’s novel, Wuthering Heights, a narcissistic and fear driven individual compromises her happiness for selfish gain through means of conforming to society’s pressures and avoiding consequences for those actions which compares and contrasts to an passionate individual who pursued her happiness by disregarding family expectations and taking ill yet simple routes to obtain her bliss.
The Ways Individuals Pursue or Compromise Their Happiness
Individuals often pursue their happiness through means of disregarding societal and family expectations in order to achieve their happiness, while most individuals compromise that happiness through completing similar actions. To compromise is to make concessions in one’s life in order to appease a set of standards rather than pursuing a personal desire. It is often the case that an individual seeking to fulfill their happiness overlook society and family ideals which creates an accidental path for unhappiness whereas individuals who jeopardize their true aspirations to meet the expectations of others; experience feelings of sacrifice despite regret.In Emily Brontë’s novel, Wuthering Heights, a narcissistic and fear driven individual compromises her happiness for selfish gain through means of conforming to society’s pressures and avoiding consequences for those actions which compares and contrasts to an passionate individual who pursued her happiness by disregarding family expectations and taking ill yet simple routes to obtain her bliss. This is demonstrated through the characters, Catherine Earnshaw and Cathy Linton- who are mother and daughter- whom make decisions influenced by society in order to pursue or compromise their happiness. Catherine Earnshaw, in her efforts to be happy, compromises her ultimate desire to be with Heathcliff to move up in society by marrying Edgar Linton, isolates herself when faced with the consequences of not following her heart, and then fails to conform to the society she so desperately chose. On the other hand, Cathy Linton pursued her happiness by defying the wishes of her family and goes after Linton which eventually caused her to realize that what she so desired did not bring her the happiness she expected.
By disregarding expectations, individuals may easily seek their happiness though it is the realization that by pursuing their desires they ignore the advice and heed given by their family; this is illustrated by Cathy Linton who is a passionate and driven young lady who will not allow the standards and expectations of her family restrain her from loving the man (Linton) that brings her joy. Through secrecy, her and Linton sent love letters to each other and when Ellen, her caretaker discovers them she decides to put a stop to it, “ Though I could not but suspect, I was still surprised to discover that they were a mass correspondence, daily almost, it must have been, from Linton Heathcliff… The earlier dated were embarrassed and short; gradually, however, they expanded into copious love letters…” Ellen threatened her that she will tell Cathy’s father. Despite that threat, Cathy continued to court Linton until the day Ellen and her father accepted it for there were no actions or words that could dull the flame ignited in Cathy’s heart. She would much rather compromise her well being in order to be with Linton than listen to the warnings of her caretaker, Ellen. This conveys the fact that individuals who are influenced by their passions and are driven to pursue them will stop at nothing to achieve them no matter the pressures of others. Though in a way, Cathy ended up compromising her happiness in the end since Linton did not treat her well. Fortunately, by listening to her heart she was able to break through her family’s restrictions and do as she pleases. This happens in many cases when passionate individuals disregard their logos and follow their pathos- it results in a future of decisions revolving around desire which prompts the individual to pursue their happiness. Cathy respects and loves no one more than her father and Ellen so her actions to disobey them further demonstrates that happiness and passion are no match for the expectations of her loved ones- whereas her mother allows herself to surrender to the expectations of society even if that indicates that her happiness will be compromised.
Prompted by the influences of society, greedy and ignorant individuals, such as Catherine Earnshaw, submit to conformity in order to achieve social status rather than happiness. After accepting Edgar Linton’s proposal, Catherine is contemplating with Ellen if she did the right thing to accept it due to the fact that she loves Heathcliff as well.“ It would degrade me to marry Heathcliff, now; so he shall never know how I love him… Did it ever strike you that, if Heathcliff and I are married, we should be beggars? Whereas if I marry Linton, I can aid Heathcliff to rise…” Catherine Earnshaw is forever devoted to Heathcliff yet it is the pressures of society that persuade her to marry Edgar Linton for he is very wealthy and considered a man of great class. Though it was in her heart’s content to marry Heathcliff, she knew that it would benefit her more to become the wife of a very wealthy and respected man. Individuals, such as Catherine, allow social classes and materialistic concepts such as wealth compromise their happiness. Despite her devotion, she was aware that if she pursued her passions for Heathcliff that she will be miserable, socially and financially, so her decision to marry Edgar was urged by the fact that she is able to make a lady out of herself. Since she compromised her happiness, she chose to place herself in an environment that she does not belong in- Thrushcross Grange. This depicts that individuals who are content with disregarding their desires for the sake of submission to society are often left with feelings of regret and self-pity.
Pressures to conform and follow expectations may influence an individual to compromise their happiness, though some individuals refuse to obey said expectations for the sake of pursuing their happiness. Factors of greed and selfish motives are catalysts to jeopardize happiness in order to obtain these factors. Catherine Earnshaw and her daughter compare in a way that proves that influences in society factor in one’s decision to compromise or pursue their happiness, but contrast due to the contradicting paths of each decisions. Catherine Earnshaw chose to contradict her true passion to marry Heathcliff by marrying Edgar instead due to her selfish desire to be wealthy and to move up in society which -in the end- compromised her happiness and led to to regret. Whereas, Cathy Linton made the decision to pursue her happiness by neglecting the restrictions of her family and society in order to be with the love of her life, Linton Heathcliff. Happiness was the goal for both of these individuals, though in the end of it, neither were able to achieve it due to own selfish aspirations or love gone astray. So, in acts to pursue their own happiness; they both ended up compromising it.