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Wuthering Heights Essay
Discuss Emily Bronte's presentation of Catherine in Chapter 12. As readers, does
our attitude to Catherine change in this chapter?
Include in your answer: close focus in narrative methods
: Perspective of Catherine, past, present tense
: Compare with earlier impressions of Catherine
Through the first twelve chapters we meet the character Catherine and we have a strong
opinion of her. As soon as we met Catherine in the book we make the impression that she
is a free spirited and a very beautiful child, "A wild wick slip she wasbut she had the
bonniest eye, and sweetest smile". We also learn that Catherine has another side of her
which is a spiteful and arrogant person. In chapter twelve, Emily Bronte presents
Catherine in a way that as readers makes us reevaluate our opinion and attitude
towards her. The majority of chapter twelve is told by the narrator Nelly, who describes
the story in detail that it is almost like she is just witnessing the events herself.
At the start of the chapter, we learn that Catherine has been on her own for three days
and Nelly explains that Catherine
"Fasted pertinaciously, under the idea probably, that at every meal, Edgar was ready to choke
for her absence, and pride alone held him from running to cast himself at her feet". Page 110
Emily brings us back to the Catherine we know as a child, who would emotionally and
socially blackmail people. She calls Nelly for some food and water because "she believed
she was dying", this is the typical Catherine who wants attention. When she eats she is
seen "clenching her hands and groaning", through her behaviour and Emily Bronte's
presentation of her, as readers we frankly do not change our attitude towards her and
still see her as the spoilt drama queen. However, through Bronte's narrator we can get a
hint that Catherine's death is sooner than we may think
"I should not have spoken, so, if I had known her true condition". Page 111
This is because Nelly is speaking in the past from the present she knows what will
happen to Catherine and is giving us clues.
She is distraught to find out Edgar has buried himself in his books instead of her and
Catherine could be wanting Edgar to be more like Heathcliff, to be wild. We know from
chapter nine that she said "I am Heathcliff" so this makes us wonder if she really is
"tormented" the past three days like she said she was. Bronte her makes us change our
attitude of Catherine because she is not with her soul mate and this could be a
justification to her recent behaviour.
Bronte then reverts back to Catherine's true self obsessed self
"I thought, though everybody hates and despised each other, they could not avoid loving me"
This shows that Catherine likes to be superior and in everybody's mind. She seems to
believe that she is everybody's universe. Her shocking statement when she says that she
would kill herself if she "were only sure it would kill him," page111 makes our attitude towards
her be even worse than we originally thought of her.
Bronte presentation of Catherine acting in an animalistic way
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"tore the pillow with her teeth"page112
Makes us have the attitude that she is a crazy woman, this is furthered by the words
Nelly uses to describe her state
"She increased her feverish bewilderment to madness"
Through her actions her, Bronte has managed to change our opinion of Catherine. We
thought she was a spoilt young lady, but this shows that her `bewildered' is her state
because she is away from her love, Heathcliff.…read more
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Catherine wants to feel close to the nature and it makes her closer to Healthcliff. She
becomes even more "delirious" as Nelly calls it by remembering memories and talking as if
she can see Wuthering Heights. Catherine talks and makes the statement
"I won't rest till you are with me...i never will"
Bronte presents Catherine as a heartbroken young lady, who only wants Healthcliff and
her together again.…read more