In the novel of Wuthering Heights, how is Catherine Earnshaw able to be more influential when she is dead than when she is alive?

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sagetrieb eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Though very different from Cathy, her daughter Catherine brings balance between the raw savagery of Wuthering Heights when she marries the miserable Linton and then ends up befriending Hareton, teaching him how to be kind, the basic rules of propriety (important to this time period), and how to read.  All of these acts bring a real and symbolic civilization to a place that, under the rule of Heathcliff, lacked it, being a form of “nature” at its worse. When Catherine and Hareton marry (which we surmise at the end of the novel), order is brought to  the place so disordered throughout the story. Through her daughter Catherine, then, Cathy is very influential after she dies, because all of these events are set in motion as a result of her death.  Dead, too, Cathy in effect finally “tames” Heathcliff, in that her absence causes him to starve himself for she, as he tells Nelly earlier in the novel, is his very “soul.” Eventually he loses interest in torturing those around him, and he dies, still savage, but no longer the monster he was midway through the book

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Wuthering Heights

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