Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.
Violent Thoughts and Actions
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte is not only a dysfunctional love story, but lends itself to a great deal of violence that inevitably envelopes the guests and residents of Wuthering Heights. Even mild-mannered people like Lockwood and Isabella begin to have cruel and violent thoughts even after a short time in the Heights. In the beginning, the violence is directed at the one who is perceived as being the perpetrator who created bad feelings, but over time, the violence becomes more calculated and indirect. Let's look at some examples of violence from Wuthering Heights.
Lockwood, the man who is renting Thrushcross Grange, appears to be a meek and mild man, but when he goes to Wuthering Heights, his demeanor changes. He begins to take on the violent nature of his hosts. Violence is even apparent in his dreams. Lockwood's dream is religious in nature, but when Lockwood is accused of committing the unforgivable sin of being unforgiving, the congregation begins to turn on him. 'In the confluence of the multitude, several clubs crossed; blows, aimed at me, fell on other sconces.' As they attempt to beat him with their pilgrim staves, they end up hitting each other and the entire church disintegrates into chaos. The violence doesn't end there. Lockwood thinks he is awake, but enters a second nightmare in which the ghost of Catherine grabs his arm through the window. Out of fear, Lockwood rubs her wrists against the glass until they bleed.
The fact that Lockwood begins to think violent thoughts nearly as soon as he enters Wuthering Heights establishes the tumultuous and violent nature of that residence.
Hindley Flogs Heathcliff
It all started with sibling rivalry. After their father's death, Hindley takes over as the Master of Wuthering Heights and turns Heathcliff into a servant. For the most part, Hindley ignores Heathcliff, but when he gets into trouble, Hindley flogs him. When Edgar Linton comes to Wuthering Heights for dinner, Heathcliff is already upset because of the attention Catherine is giving him, so when Edgar mentions Heathcliff's hair, he reacts by throwing apple sauce at Edgar. 'He was in a bad temper, and now you've spoilt your visit; and he'll be flogged: I hate him to be flogged!' says Catherine to Edgar. After Heathcliff's flogging, Hindley tells Edgar that he should flog Heathcliff the next time that happens.
Heathcliff's upbringing from the time his father dies is in the hands of his cruel, jealous, drunk brother. Heathcliff learns to control others through violence by watching the way his brother treats him.
Heathcliff Abuses Isabella
After Edgar marries Catherine, Heathcliff swears vengeance on the entire Linton family. He goes so far as to marry Edgar's sister, just so he can abuse her. On their first night together at Wuthering Heights, Isabella realizes what she has gotten herself into when Heathcliff promises '…that I should be Edgar's proxy in suffering, till he could get hold of him.' When Isabella finally has enough, she sides with Hindley in a brawl between Hindley and Heathcliff and then taunts Heathcliff about his failed relationship with Catherine. Unable to handle her insults, '…he snatched a dinner-knife from the table and flung it at my head. It struck beneath my ear, and stopped the sentence I was uttering…' prompting Isabella to finally leave him.
Heathcliff's abuse of the innocent, Isabella, who only wants to love him, indicates that he has no boundaries when it comes to satisfying his desire for revenge. It also shows how calculated he has become in that he is not going directly for the one he despises, but is using surrogates from among loved ones to inflict pain on his enemies. In the beginning, Isabella would not have been able to hurt him with her words, but after spending time with him at Wuthering Heights, she has changed into a not very nice person, just like the rest of the Earnshaws and the Heathcliffs.
Heathcliff is introduced to violence by his older brother, Hindley, who resents the favoritism shown to Heathcliff from their father. When Heathcliff inherits the estate, he becomes abusive toward Heathcliff, treating him as a servant and flogging him for any misdeed. As Heathcliff grows older, he remembers the violence he has been taught, but takes it to another level by imposing violence on the loved ones of the people he hates. He is able to exact his revenge on Edgar by marrying and then abusing Edgar's sister, Isabella. Isabella truly loves Heathcliff and thinks they will have a happy marriage, but finds out on her first night in Wuthering Heights that is not the case. Things become so bad between them, that even Isabella becomes cruel by taunting Heathcliff about Catherine. Heathcliff throws a knife at her, which prompts her to leave. Even those that visit the Heights for a brief period of time, such as Lockwood, are affected by violent thoughts as shown in Lockwood's dream.
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