‘Characters are not shaped by circumstance or experience, but are born with a given temperament and rarely change’ Discuss how far you agree with this statement.

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`Characters are not shaped by circumstance or experience, but are born with a
given temperament and rarely change' Discuss how far you agree with this
statement.
In your response, focus on Wuthering Heights to establish your argument and
The Color Purple to develop your line of argument.
In Wuthering Heights the idea that characters are born with a given temperament
and rarely change is demonstrated through Older Cathy. However, numerous
characters from both novels for example, Heathcliff, Harpo and Sofia demonstrate
how in fact characters are shaped my experience, by the way the authors present
them at the end of the novel in comparison to the beginning.
Older Cathy in Wuthering Heights demonstrates how some characters are born with
a given temperament. For example, despite the fact that Cathy has moved to the
more civilised world of Thrushcross Grange and married the more civilised Edgar,
her wild nature is still maintained. This is demonstrated in Bronte's description of
Cathy and Edgar's love. Bronte describes their as `not the thorn bending to the
honeysuckles, but the honeysuckles embracing the thorn'. Here, Bronte's describes
Cathy as a `thorn', which connects Cathy to the natural world, despite the fact she is
living in the civilised world of the Grange, suggesting how Cathy has not been
shaped by her circumstance. Bronte's comparison between Cathy as the `thorn' and
Edgar as the `honeysuckle' further emphasises Cathy's wild nature. In addition to
this, thorns are usually wild and untameable plants, which is a reflection of Cathy's
personality, as explained earlier by Bronte when she describes Cathy as a `wild' and
`wick'. This further suggests how Cathy's experiences at the Grange have not
changed her character and she has still stayed true to her wild personality.
However, some aspects of Cathy did change due to her residency at the Grange,
which would suggest that characters are shaped by their experiences. Before staying
at the Grange, Bronte describes how Cathy was running through the moors
`barefoot', emphasising the wild and uncultivated nature of Cathy. However, after
returning to the Wuthering Heights after her short stay at the Grange, Bronte
describes how Cathy had `a grand plaid silk frock, white trousers, and burnished
shoes and...when the dogs came bounding up to welcome her, she dare hardly
touch them lest they should fawn upon her splendid garments'. Bronte's description
of Cathy here highlights how Cathy's experience at the Grange has shaped her a
character as the use of the words `silk', `white' and `burnished' emphasise how clean
Cathy is, directly contrasting with her wild and uncivilised description earlier,
suggesting how her stay at the civilised Thrushcross Grange has shaped her
character. Not only, has Cathy's appearance changed due to her stay at the Grange,
her behaviour as also. Before her stay at the Grange, Cathy and Heathcliff `both
promised...to grow up as rude as savages', which directly contrasts with her ladylike
behaviour that is described when Cathy doesn't want the dogs to ruin her clothes,
further highlighting the change Cathy has undergone due to her stay at the Grange,
and therefore suggesting how characters are shaped by experience.

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Another character that is also shaped by experiences is Heathcliff. Following the
death of Mr Earnshaw, Hindley returns to take over control at the Heights and is
described as `tyrannical'. The use of the adjective `tyrannical' to describe Hindley,
illustrates how the authority figure in Heathcliff's childhood was violent and brutal.
Heathcliff's violent and bitter childhood can be said to be shape Heathcliff has a
person, suggesting that Hindley's violent behaviour has been learnt by Heathcliff,
which is demonstrated by his actions in the future.…read more

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Furthermore, Sofia can also be seen as a character that is shaped by circumstances.
Before going to prison laundry, Sofia is described as `dragging a ladder and then
lean it up gainst the house. She wearing a old pair of Harpo pants'. The fact that
Sofia is doing physical labour, suggests role reversal within the relationship, creating
the impression that Sofia is the dominant one in the relationship.…read more

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