The Similarities and Differences Between the Childhood to Adult Relationships seen in Wuthering Heights and Great Expectations

A comparison that I noticed was the striking similarities between Heathcliff’s relationship with Catherine and Pip’s relationship with Estella. Both relationships revolve around two individuals with strong class rivalries. Pip, for example, comes from poor or working class roots like Heathcliff, and is able to obtain finances in an attempt to be ‘good enough’ for his significant other just like him. Nevertheless, however much money they gain, neither men are able to acquire the love of their crushes in the longterm.

The main difference between the two is the emotions of their significant others. Estella, for example, is depicted as heartless, and does not feel anything for him, even though he is now a wealthy man. She says, ““Oh! I have a heart to be stabbed in or shot in, I have no doubt,” said Estella, “and of course if it ceased to beat I should cease to be. But you know what I mean. I have no softness there, no—sympathy—sentiment—nonsense” (Chapter 29 Paragraph 70). Even though he has gained money, he is not “old money” and is therefore still below her. The same can be seen in Wuthering Heights, where Catherine, who feels passionate emotions for Heathcliff, also feels like Edgar Linton is the safer, more socially acceptable match. Catherine’s strong emotions are even seen at the height of her illness, and main similarity between her passionate love for Heathcliff and Estella and Pip’s story is that they end up apart. Even though both relationships started in childhood, it seems like Pip’s relationship is a lot more one-sided than Heathcliff’s feelings for Catherine.

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