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In "Wuthering Heights," do Heathcliff and Catherine believe the only way they...

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goodpokemon1981 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 1, 2008 at 10:28 AM via web

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In "Wuthering Heights," do Heathcliff and Catherine believe the only way they can be together is in death?

When Heathcliff visits Catherine for the last time before she dies, she says to him, "You have killed me--and thriven on it, I think." Nearly twenty years later, when Heathcliff is approaching death, he says, "I have to remind myself to breathe--almost to remind my heart to beat!"

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ms-mcgregor | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted September 1, 2008 at 11:52 AM (Answer #1)

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While the text of the novel shows that Heathcliff believed that Catherine would be reunited with him in death, Catherine's beliefs are uncertain. As she is close to death, Catherine tells Nelly not to feel sorrow for her impending death, rather to envy her, for she regards death as a release from her earthly prison. After her death it is Heathcliff who prays that Catherine's soul know no rest until his own death. He cries,". “Be with me always—” he begs. “—take any form—drive me mad!… I cannot live without my soul.” By the end of the novel, Heathcliff no longer see any meaning in revenge and decides to focus on the afterlife where he is sure he and Catherine can be reunited. This is reinforced when Nelly tells Lockwood that many, Joseph included, believe Heathcliff haunts the moors. A little shepherd boy has told Nelly of seeing Heathcliff and a woman standing on the road and others sometimes see the ghosts of Heathcliff and Catherine wandering their old playground. Nelly claims not to believe these stories but she is too frightened to go out at night and looks forward to moving back to the Grange. Thus, Emily Bronte, the author, is certainly suggesting some kind of happy ending for this tortured couple.

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reidalot | College Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted September 1, 2008 at 8:32 PM (Answer #2)

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Bronte adds elements of the Gothic in this love story as the couple appears reunited at the close of the work. The darkness of the setting heightens the scene when the little boy sees the couple as ghosts: "..."a dark evening threatening thunder..." The Victorians were highly intrigued with the idea of love that defies death and the fancy that lovers had a supernatural connection. Thus, you see this extraordinary connection between Heathcliff and Catherine though in the real world, their love was disastrous to them both!

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