Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

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Examine the significance of Kathy's marriage to Hareton in Wuthering Heights.

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The marriage of Hareton and the young Cathy Linton Heathcliff brings reconciliation and a happy ending to the novel, realizing the dreams that were destroyed in the older generation.

Hareton and Cathy are in many ways a recreation of the original Catherine and Heathcliff. Cathy is Catherine's daughter, very much like her but gentler, as she was brought up in the kinder and more orderly household of the Grange. Hareton, Hindley's son, has been raised much like Heathcliff was. Heathcliff keeps him degraded and illiterate and uses him as a rough farmhand, just as Hindley did to him. Heathcliff does this to get revenge on Hindley. Heathcliff's whole plan, years in the making, is to get Cathy and Hareton to fall in love, as he and Catherine did, and then to cruelly separate them so that their hearts break, just as his and Catherine's did. He wants to hurt the young Cathy because she is Linton's only child. He wants revenge on Linton for, in his opinion, causing the death of the elder Catherine. He wants revenge on the dead Hindley for degrading him so that he was unfit to marry Catherine.

Heathcliff's plan works. He gets control of Cathy through marrying her to his invalid son, who soon dies, and he throws Cathy and Hareton together so that they fall in love. But in the end, as he begins to sense the ghostly presence of his own beloved Catherine wandering the moors, and as he realizes he too will soon die, he loses interest in his scheme. As a result, right when he is at the point he could destroy the young couple, he gives up, not caring anymore. Therefore, the two are able to get married, healing the damage of the past generation. They become what the original Catherine and Heathcliff could not be: a happy couple.

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