Relationships Between Social Classes

Evidently, the situation of a lower class orphan boy having feelings for an upper class female occurs in both Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte and Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. Notably, Heathcliff and Catherine develop a certain connection over the course of the novel that was only able to really be possible when they were younger; at a young age, they were unaware of their different social standing and were able to play around together. However, after Catherine comes back from Thrushcross Grange, she becomes aware of their difference, and the possibility of her and Heathcliff ever getting together diminishes greatly. Importantly, she admits this fact when she tells Nelly that she would consider marrying Heathcliff, if Hindley didn’t cast him to be so low. Hence, because of their initial difference in class, they could never make it work. Comparatively, Pip in Great Expectations shows signs of having interest in Estella, with him calling her pretty and saying that even though she was rude to him, he could still see himself wanting to see her again at some point in the future. Heathcliff and Catherine were able to play around together because they were young, innocent, and unaware of their difference in standing. In contrast, Pip and Estella can’t get through a game of cards without Estella’s judgement and insults towards Pip. Specifically she mentions, “He calls the Knaves Jacks, this boy!… and what course hands he has! And what thick boots!” Thus, social class gets in the way of Catherine and Heathcliff’s development of a relationship, and Pip and Estella’s development of even a friendship, as well.

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