“Infanticism and Sadism in ‘Wuthering Heights'”

The article “Infanticide and Sadism in ‘Wuthering Heights'”, by Wade Thompson, claims that the love that Catherine feels for Heathcliff is not the normal storybook romance. She loved him as a child, but it does not equate to the love she may feel as an adult. The main argument in the article states that, due to Catherine’s childlike nature and possible blood relation to Heathcliff, her love for him breaks norms; Catherine can love both Heathcliff and Linton at the same time since it is two different kinds of love. She considers Heathcliff as her “childhood lover” and Linton as her “adult lover”, and because of this, the reader understands that the story is not a typical romance. Thompson goes as far as to claim that there is a sense of incest between Catherine and Heathcliff because he may be her half brother and they laid in bed together as children. Even though she is married, the article highlights that the nature of her marriage is an escape from a healthy relationship, stating, “Marriage to Linton, a weak, respectable, undemanding person, is essentially an escape from the demands of adult sexuality, and she sees no betrayal of Heathcliff in the escape.” (72). The argument here shows that in all aspects of her life, Catherine has avoided a true romance in a modern sense in favor of a childlike fantasy with Heathcliff, and this is why the novel cannot be considered a romance.

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