How are females presented in Wuthering Heights?

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amymc eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Females in Wuthering Heights have a couple of roles.  First, they show the typical lot of the woman in the novel's time period.  As a female, one can either be a houseworker or a wife.  As we can see, all the females occupy these roles:  Catherine, Cathy, Isabella, Frances, Zillah, and Isabella.  They also give insight into the accepted norm that the man essentially owned all the woman's property, even the woman herself.  Heathcliff's actions towards women show that wives can do little about their husbands abuse; husbands are rarely held accountable for these actions.

Another, deeper insight into the presentation of women can be found in the duality of characters.  Catherine and Isabella initially show the differences in how daughters are raised from Wuthering Height's household to Thrushcross Grange's household with Isabella standing as the typical and accepted manner in which to raise a daughter.  This sets up Catherine's eventual choice of Edgar over Heathcliff.  Furthermore, the similarity between Catherine and her daughter Cathy is shown in the relationship that Cathy has for Hareton which parallels the one her mother had with Heathcliff.  

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Wuthering Heights

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