Throughlines in Wuthering Heights

As the second half of the novel came to a close, I found it interesting how much of the second half mirrored the first. Similar themes such as marriage, complicated relationships, and familial lines all play a role in both the first and second half. Each generation within Wuthering Heights is almost like a mirror of the other, facing similar problems with similar characters (most glaring, of course, would be the two Catherines). Yet, the stories are not exactly alike. However, one through-line between both generations connects the two together, Heathcliff.

Of the initial conflict: Edgar, Catherine, and Heathcliff, Heathcliff lives the longest. As the plot continues, he becomes more sinister and more and more engulfed in his personal revenge, which creates the antagonist needed for the second Catherine. One of the most significant portions of the final chapters and Wuthering Heights as a whole is how he is buried, next to Catherine and Edgar, representing the eternity of this conflict.

Heathcliff is the single thread that persists through the entire novel, and his tale of revenge through both generations seems to be both the driving force of action behind everything that happens. Yet is reveals the changes between the two generations. His influence on those around him, from a position of no power to great power. The stark differences in the Catherines, their personalities and goals. How they react and respond to Heathcliff, as well as the rest of the cast of characters.

Along with Heathcliff comes his themes. The persistence of revenge and hatred, the ghosts of the past (sometimes literal). Fighting against him is love over pragmatism (often surrounding the Catherines), or civility to counteract has savagery.

Heathcliff pins the second part of Wuthering Heights together with the first, revealing the many ways it has persisted, but also showing the areas where it has changed.

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