Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

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Describe Catherine and Heathcliff's relationship as they were growing up.

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Catherine and Heathcliff grow up as neglected and, in Heathcliff's case, abused children. They are left orphaned when their father (Heathcliff's stepfather) dies. Their guardian, Catherine's older brother Hindley, is at first indifferent to them. After his wife dies, however, he becomes a violent alcoholic who keeps the household in fearful chaos. He also remembers that his father favored Heathcliff and turns on his stepbrother violently, determined to degrade him. Meanwhile, the servant Joseph torments them whenever he can with fire and brimstone Bible sermons in a cold attic.

Having nobody else to rely on, the two children turn to each other for comfort and support, as is often the case in abusive environments. Normal sibling rivalry and fighting are displaced in these two by the need to work together to survive. The two children become all in all to each other. As Cathy will later say, trying to explain her love of Heathcliff to Nelly Dean, Heathcliff is a part of her. "I am...

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