Wuthering Heights

Breaking Down the Wall: Catherine and Hareton’s Discovery of Love

In Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë develops a conflict between Catherine Linton and Hareton Earnshaw and uses the resolution of their conflict to resolve that between Catherine and Heathcliff. Though their social classes and upbringings differ, the two cousins possess the same wild spirits and match perfectly. In order to discover their compatibility, however, they must both break down their walls and let go of their bitternesses.

When Catherine the Second and Hareton Earnshaw first meet, Catherine treats Hareton with disdain and refuses to recognize him as her cousin. She has come into Wuthering Heights with a wall around her heart. She is unhappy about being there and resolves not to befriend its inhabitants. Hareton acts politely in the best way he knows how, and tries to give her his seat by the fire and retrieves books for her off the shelves. She turns down the seat and, according to Zillah, “turned up her nose” (217). She accepts the books from him, but then turns away to read them. Even though she does not thank him, he “felt gratified that she had accepted his assistance” (217). Hareton obviously tries hard to be someone Catherine would respect, but she continues to snub him. After she turns away, he gets really caught...

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