Compare the role of women in Beloved and Wuthering Heights.

Quick answer:

In both novels, women play strong and determined roles. Catherine’s strength might be evinced in her relationship with Heathcliff. Sethe’s strength might be reflected in her escape from Sweet Home. Both women are also put in unapologetically passionate roles. Sethe derides “thin love” while Catherine likens her love for Heathcliff to “eternal rocks.”

Expert Answers

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In Toni Morrison’s novel Beloved and Emily Brontë’s novel Wuthering Heights, you could argue women play strong and willful roles.

Early on, Nelly calls Catherine Earnshaw “a wild, wicked slip.” Catherine’s will is further reinforced in her relationship with Heathcliff. Their stormy, violent bond demonstrates Catherine’s tough deposition.

Sethe, too, plays a tough role in Beloved. She must foster the resolve to escape Sweet Home. She also has to acquire the guts to make a complex, lethal decision about what to do with one of her daughters.

Both women in both novels are also put in passionate roles. They’re not often reserved with their feelings or emotions. At one point, Paul D informs Sethe her love is “too thick.” Sethe replies, “Thin love ain't love at all.” As for Catherine, she doesn’t downplay her vigorous passion for Heathcliff. She compares her love for Heathcliff to “eternal rocks.”

In your answer, you might also want to mention Denver's role. Remember, Denver seems to like the isolated, haunted nature of her home. She seems to be on good terms with Beloved’s ghost. For Denver, it's as if she’s more comfortable in the supernatural world than in what might be called the real world. Catherine, too, appears to prefer mystical states to earthly ones. As Catherine tells Nelly:

I’ve dreamt in my life dreams that have stayed with me ever after, and changed my ideas: they’ve gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the colour of my mind.

It’s as if Catherine’s dreams or fantasies possess her. Possession, of course, goes back to Morrison’s novel and the ghost that Sethe and Denver must deal with.

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