Cycle of Abuse

I really enjoyed reading the novel Wuthering Heights as I’ve never read something quite like it. While reading the last few chapters I couldn’t help but question a lot of the characters motives throughout the story. Heathcliff practically killed himself by not eating and it was all justified in the end because for years he had longed to be reunited with Catherine, his ‘one true love.’ However, many of Heathcliff’s and Catherine’s actions towards each other raise the question of whether or not they were truly mean to be together. It became more and more clear to me that the constant competition and jealous between Catherin and Heathcliff is not something that is healthy in a relationship. Although relationships require a lot of work and sacrifice, it seemed like neither of them were willing to risk it all to be together. Both Catherine and Heathcliff appear to be very self-centered characters and in a way you can say that they were made for each other in that regard. Being a woman myself I could help but feel that Heathcliff treats the women in his life quite terribly, especially Isabella. Even after he married her, all he could think about was being with Catherine and he was upset he couldn’t have her. This in particular made me think about the poem we read called “The Runaway Slave At Pilgrim’s Point” by Elizabeth Barret Browning. The poem is narrated by a female slave who had fled from her abuse and cruelty that she has endured. In the poem she talks about another slave she knew who she was in love with but was separated from him. This all reminds me of Isabella and Heathcliff and even a little bit about Heathcliff and Catherine. In Isabella’s case, she actually cared for Heathcliff in the beginning and hoped he would eventually grow to love her but instead he grew more hateful and bitter and treated her horribly which led her to escape his terrible treatment. In Catherine’s case, she loved Heathcliff and he loved her but Catherine chose Edgar which drove Heathcliff to seek revenge on Catherine by marrying Isabella, Edgar’s sister. In a way this could be seen as mental abuse by Heathcliff who wanted to see Catherine hurt by his decision to marry. I think there is a sort of cycle of abuse throughout this novel, and we even see it towards the end when Heathcliff refuses to eat and the starvation ultimately kills him. The characters in this novel not only treat each other poorly but they have no value for their own lives. It’s a sad conclusion to come to but at least at the end of the novel, with Heathcliff’s death, there might be a chance for their children to break the horrible cycle of abuse. 

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