Adaptation and Survival in Wuthering Heights

In Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights, the reader sees that by the end of the novel the only two characters of the Earnshaw/Linton family line left alive are Cathy and Hareton. All of their predecessors- Hindley, Catherine, Edgar, Isabella, and Linton all died and died quite early on in their lives. As we talked about in class this could be attributed to various illnesses during the time, but could this also be read as them dying because they were unable to adapt to live among each other? Were Cathy and Hareton being the only ones to survive and get a happy ending because they learned to evolve from their predecessors and co-adapt with one another?

Cathy and Hareton were both best fit to survive because they developed characteristics and skills to co-exist with one another. Hindley was never able to because he had always felt threatened by Heathcliff from the moment he came to live with them as children because his father liked him more. Catherine was never able to adapt to the idea of entering a lower social status in being married to Heathcliff as she was quite selfish and so she died unhappily while being married to Edgar. Edgar was never able to adapt to living among Heathcliff because he also felt threatened by him and saw him as an enemy, knowing how Catherine felt about him. Isabella was not able to co-exist with Heathcliff because he abused her. Also she had unhealthy relationships with her brother and Catherine before marrying Heathcliff. To add we also see Linton Heathcliff was not able to survive because he was weak from the beginning and never able to recover from that. He was also terrified of Heathcliff from the moment he met him and never adapted to living with him. However, Cathy and Hareton both live with Heathcliff for an extended amount of time and outlive him unlike their predecessors. Cathy is much kinder and less selfish than her mother and is able to use with forming an actual healthy relationship with Hareton. Hareton was also different from his predecessors in that he was able to form an actual, somewhat healthy relationship with Heathcliff. When Heathcliff died, he was the only one to mourn him because he looked to him as a father.

Overall the ending to Wuthering Heights left me satisfied as Hareton and Cathy prove that there is hope for the next generation to form healthy relationships among one another unlike their predecessors.

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