Catherine earnshaw is one of the most significant characters in Wuthering Heights, as the novel is based on her uncontrollable, passionate love for Heathcliff, and its devastating consequences. Therefore, Bronti?? displays Catherine in many ways, for example in her youth she is shown as strong-willed, carefree and rebellious. However, in the chosen extract Cathy is shown as highly agitated and delusional. Much of the language and structure in the extract shows dimensions of Cathy’s character, and the feelings which she is experiencing, as well as reflecting the attitudes and values seen in Victorian times.
The syntax throughout the extract is one of long complex sentences; for example the paragraph beginning “a minute previously she was violent… ” is one sentences separated by punctuation. It is not rare for this syntax to be used in Victorian novel as it was commonly used by Victorian authors. The novel focuses on the mysterious connection Cathy feels with Heathcliff, who is her soul mate and more herself then she is.
However, upon seeking higher status Cathy breaks the connection and marries Edgar Linton, consequently the line “That’s a Turkey’s, she murmured to herself,” shows the deep isolation she feel upon leaving Heathcliff. She is reduced to talking to herself, as she can’t share her inner thoughts and feelings with Edgar because inside Cathy knows it is Heathcliff she should be with. Furthermore, the fact that Cathy is drawn to superstition is also reflected in the line “Ah, they put pigeon feathers in the pillows – no wonder I couldn’t die!
” this is because Victorians believed that the soul cannot free itself if a dying person was laid on a bed containing pigeon feathers. Victorian attitudes and values are reflected in this as little was known about science throughout most people, and therefore they formed many beliefs and superstitions. Heathcliff’s cruel nature and enjoyment of killing is shown in the line “we saw its nest in the winter, full of little skeletons. Heathcliff set a trap over it,” the line talks of Heathcliff setting traps to kill birds on the moors.
It shows his sadistic nature which is seen throughout the novel in his treatment of Isabella, when he marries her, or his son Linton; also it is seen in his degradation of Hareton. However, although Catherine objects to this and makes Heathcliff promise not to kill any more birds, it shows her ability to love him despite his faults, and the closeness they feel to each other. she loves him regardless of his cruelty and she remembers him at her lowest as she finds her comfort in thinking and speaking of him, to replace her absence. Also the fact that Cathy asks him not to kill any more birds also shows her love for nature.
This is linked to the natural imagery shown in the extract, for example, pigeons feathers” “clouds touched the swells,” “rain” and “heath. ” This natural imagery is used to display the oneness Cathy feels with the Yorkshire moors, her only happiness was when she was amongst the beauty and depth of the moors, and also they were where her love for Heathcliff blossomed. Bronte was also awed by the solemn isolation yet mysterious splendor she felt when on the moors. The magnificence of nature is also shown in the line “the down is flying about like snow!
” this deep imagery has assonance in the ‘o’ sound. This is a euphonic sound and thus reflects the majesty of nature. There is a semantic field of death in this paragraph, for example “Shot,” “Skeletons,” “shoot” and “red. ” This suggests that Cathy’s death is impending. It shows that her separation from Heathcliff is the cause of her death and thus shows the inexplicable bond they share. Furthermore, it suggests that Cathy is aware of her impending death; this is representative of attitudes and values in Victorian times, as they held an acute fascination of death.