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Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte - Barron's Booknotes
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- The sense of doom is inescapable now. Edgar is closer to
death. When Cathy and Ellen meet Linton on the moors he is
even more fearful than before. Clues to the coming disaster
come thick and fast. Linton cries that he has betrayed his old
friend, so it's no surprise when Heathcliff shows up. Cathy may
not be afraid to go to Wuthering Heights, but you are afraid for
her. You've probably had dreams in which you feel this way;
you know something awful is going to happen, even though
you don't know what it is, and there's nothing you can do to
stop it. Once in Wuthering Heights, Heathcliff locks the door
behind them, and his evil-scientist side reasserts itself: "Had I
been born where laws are less strict, and tastes less dainty, I
should treat myself to a slow vivisection of those two, as an
evening's amusement." (Vivisection is surgery performed on
live animals for experimental purposes.) When Cathy grabs for
the key, Heathcliff slaps her again and again on both sides of
her face, and soon his plan is revealed: she will be his prisoner
until morning, when he'll make her marry Linton. Heathcliff
again mocks Edgar's type of love (remember the way he
scorned it as he tormented Isabella). In the conversation that
follows you get the most depressing versions of the two
(Thrushcross Grange-Wuthering Heights) loves yet. Cathy has
often said that she loves her father more than she will ever love
anybody. Is this all that Thrushcross Grange love comes down
to? As much as you may love your parents, you must
eventually love someone else-in a very different way-or
forever remain a child. As for the Wuthering Heights-type
love, Heathcliff releases none of his former torrents of passion,
but he makes one revealing statement about Cathy: "She's glad
to be obliged to stay, I'm certain." Is this what love is, then, a
form of imprisonment?

NOTE: You have seen at various points how Heathcliff is
associated with imprisonment. As a youngster he was the one
who was confined. From Cathy's diary you learn that he was
thrown into the back kitchen. When he covered Edgar with
applesauce, he was sent to a garret. Once locks and keys are
actually mentioned, however, things change. After Heathcliff
returns transformed, he either keeps the keys (shutting Isabella
out of the bedroom, for instance) or breaks the lock (as after his
quarrel with Edgar). During the second half of the book
Heathcliff holds the keys. Remember the latch falling on
Linton's cries. And now you have the worst case of all: Ellen is
imprisoned for five nights and four days, with no word of
Cathy's fate. This change in Heathcliff's relationship to locks
and keys reflects his growing mastery of the situation. As his
power grows, your sympathy for him decreases. Emily Bronte
makes you root for the underdog, whomever he may be.

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Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte - Barron's Booknotes

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