How would you describe Hareton's social relationship?

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rareynolds eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Wuthering Heights suggests that character is more important than birth or inheritance. Hareton is a perfect example of this. Just as Heathcliff overcomes his low birth to become master of both the Heights and the Grange, Hareton "overcomes" his birthright as an Earnshaw to become a common laborer. Hareton, the last of the Earnshaws and rightful heir to Wuthering Heights, is raised by substitute parents -- his "mother" is the servant Nelly, and his father, of course, is Heathcliff, who systematically demeans him and cultivates his worst qualities. However, it is the second Catherine Linton that redeems Hareton through her love; by the end of the novel, we see Hareton reclaiming in some measure his place in society, but in a transformed way. Hareton will not be the "lord of the manor" that old Mr. Earnshaw was; his life, and standing in society, has instead been determined by his upbringing and, we are meant to believe, the natural nobility of his character.

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Wuthering Heights

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