Catherine Linton: Character Analysis in Wuthering Heights

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      The little Catherine whose birth brings about her mother's deaths holds an important place in the second half of the fiction Wuthering Heights. Catherine Linton, child of the union of Catherine Earnshaw and Edgar Lintons, she inherits, none of their undesirable qualities and the best of their good ones.

Her Childhood

      Catherine has an exquisite face, golden ringlets and beautiful eyes - the eyes of her mother, which are to constantly haunt Heathcliff later. She is described as "the most winning thing that ever brought sunshine into a desolate house." She is lonely as a child, having no companions except her father and her nurse. But the pleasant setting of Thrushcross Grange with its green lawns and orderly flower beds make her a pleasant, cheerful, happy and contented person.

Her Strong-will

      The one trait she inherits from her mother is the same stubborn will. It is this which leads her to disobey her father's wishes and visit the Heights, where she is increasingly drawn to the sickly Linton with active encouragement from Heathcliff. It is her stubborn nature which makes her defy Nelly and deceive her by continuing to meet Linton it is this which brings to her misery and suffering at the hands of Heathcliff. But her strong will does not bend even to the diabolic cruelty of Heathcliff. Unafraid, she challenges him, physically assaults him, biting his hand to try and escape the Heights and retains her dignity inspite of the degradation Heathcliff heaps on her after getting her forcibly married to the sickly Linton. She is clever enough to get Linton to let her escape and is thus able to assure her sick father of her well-being before he dies. Her defiant spirit is unbroken by Heathcliff and unlikely triumphs over Heathcliff's hatred and revenge by being united in love and marriage with Hareton.

      Her Love and Marriage to Linton
Along with the strong will of her mother, Catherine inherits the softer, gentler nature of her father too. She is warm hearted and sympathetic. She adores her father, loves Nelly and nurses them caringly when they are both sick. She pities the sick Linton and believes that he both loves and needs her and therefore enters into the marriage readily enough. She is too inexperienced to recognize his selfishness or Heathcliff's cruelty and she throws her warmth and affection away on the beautiful and romantically fragile boy. Cathy's marriage to Linton is a vicarious atonement for the sin of her mother's rejection of Heathcliff and her marriage with Edgar.

Her Marriage to Hareton

      It is through her assiduous care that the inherent good traits in the character of Hareton are reborn after a period of their inanimation caused by the brutality and the savage treatment of Heathcliff. Her marriage with Hareton symbolizes the ultimate victory of good over evil, — the defeat of the disruptive forces by the cosmic spirit of orderliness and harmony.


      Catherine is the symbol of reconciliation. Inheriting Edgar Linton's gentleness without his weakness, Cathy's spirit without her savagery, she is a fuller and more balanced human being than either.

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