In the conclusion of Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights, the tragedies, the wrong-headed decisions, the remorseless cruelties, the cowardice and judgmental rejection of past life at Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange are reversed and subsumed in the renewal of heart, mind and soul of young Catherine, Hareton and Heathcliff.Catherine and Hareton, cousins, reconcile their ill will and unkindness to each other and become devoted to one another. Catherine, inspired by the presence and response of...
In the conclusion of Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights, the tragedies, the wrong-headed decisions, the remorseless cruelties, the cowardice and judgmental rejection of past life at Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange are reversed and subsumed in the renewal of heart, mind and soul of young Catherine, Hareton and Heathcliff.
Catherine and Hareton, cousins, reconcile their ill will and unkindness to each other and become devoted to one another. Catherine, inspired by the presence and response of Lockwood, says she does not want to hinder Hareton's attempts to learn to read. She later says she is sorry for having teased him. This choice of young Catherine's symbolically represents remorse from her remorseless mother for cruelty to Heathcliff.
Hareton accidentally shoots himself and is confined indoors which gives him and Catherine a chance to reconcile their hateful ways toward each other. This reconciliation leads to devotion and a marriage between them (it was still common and legal for cousins to wed in the 1800s). Their reconciliation and marriage symbolically represents reconciliation and unity between the elder Catherine and Heathcliff.
Brontë concludes Wuthering Heights by giving peace and rest to the troubles of the manor of Wuthering Heights, which will be Hareton's inheritance (with the name of Hareton, which was born by his ancestor, inscribed above the entry), and Thrushcross Grange. Heathcliff also finds peace by abandoning his plans for revenge to be taken out upon Hareton and young Catherine and by his experience of a vision on the moors. He seems to Nelly to have seen an apparition to which he continues to talk. He excitedly gives Nelly instructions for his funeral, then she finds him peacefully dead and believes that he is reunited with his beloved Catherine.
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Wuthering Heights Conclusion As we learned in class from the group presentation, the purpose of gothic literature is to evoke emotions of terror and horror, as well as break social norms. Typical image and imagery include specters, ghosts, and demons, along with dim lighting or eerie settings. Themes of gothic literature include uncertainty and the examination of the nature of power, law, society, family and sexuality that usually build to a great climax.
Wuthering Heights is a great example of all of those aspects, but unlike most Gothic romances, I do not think that Wuthering Heights builds to an intense and violent climax before its ending. Instead, I think the tension in the novel unfolds as the inner conflict within Heathcliff slowly dissolves, as his love for Catherine lessens his longing for revenge on his dead oppressors’ children. Although the novel’s happy ending is not possible until Heathcliff’s death, his authority becomes less threatening in the days that precede his death.
As time passes, Heathcliff becomes increasingly obsessed with his dead love Catherine, and finds constant reminders of her everywhere he turns. He begins conversing with her ghost, and, after his climactic night on the moors he is overcome with a sudden sense of cheer, and he has a happy premonition of his own impending death. This part of the novel makes me very suspicious about what occurred at the moors to cause Heathcliffs change of attitude. The text frequently compares Heathcliff to the Devil, but he does not believe in Hell.
His forced education of religion as a child caused him to deny the existence of Heaven, and his lack of religious beliefs seemed to cause him not fear death. I think death for Heathcliff symbolizes one thing: the beginning of his reunion with Catherine. I think the thought of this reunion with Catherine even sparks excitement for Heathcliff, which gives him the happy premonition of death. I think the marriage between Cathy and Hareton, symbolizes the start of a new life and the end of depression and disparity in the novel.
I also think the marriage symbolizes the power love has to overcome hardships and prevail. The marriage between Cathy and Hareton leading to a happy ending is also foreshadowing of the idea that had Catherine and Heathcliff been allowed to marry, the violence and revenge seen in the second half of the novel may not have occurred. I think that the reunion of Catherine and Heathcliff’s ghosts is a fitting piece to the happy ending of the novel, demonstrating again that true love prevails, for better or for worse.
Author: Donnie Mathes
An Analysis of the Conclusion to Wuthering Heights
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