Cathy 2 and Hareton: The More Successful Version of Cathy 1 and Heathcliff (BSP Blog Post 4)

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte is a complicated Gothic novel covering themes from isolation and obsession to abuse and the dangers of marriage. Throughout the novel, Heathcliff is tormented by his “love” for Cathy 1 and later her death. He says, “‘Catherine Earnshaw, may you not rest as long as I am living; you said I killed you – haunt me then!'” (Ch. 16). This obsession cannot be equated with love. He and Cathy 1 did not really love each other. They loved the thought of loving each other. Cathy 1 and Heathcliff could never have truly been together anyway. They were too much alike. At one point Cathy 1 explains to Nelly, “‘He [Heathcliff] shall never know how I love him: and that, not because he’s handsome, Nelly, but because he’s more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same'” (Ch. 9). Can you ever truly love someone in an intimate way that you consider the same person as you? That is like looking in a mirror and wanting to marry yourself. It cannot work. Furthermore, if they had gotten married, I think they would have destroyed each other. Two sparks just ignite a fire, and they would have gone down in their own passionate flames. The only way they can truly be together is in death, when there are no physical bodies left to destroy.

In contrast, Cathy 2 and Heathcliff can successfully love each other. There is no obsession between them, and they are not the same person. Unlike Cathy 1 and Heathcliff, their love will grow. In the beginning, neither of them was fond of the other – Cathy 2 looked down on Hareton, and Hareton was resentful of Cathy 2. However, with patience and an interest to get to know each other, they were able to overcome these obstacles and fall in love. They are able to be together in life, not just in death, which is the way love is supposed to work.

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