It seems to be a simple love story of two suffering souls – Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw. But this love can hardly exist in reality – it’s a fantasy of Emily Bronte, she created a sample of a real eternal passion – powerful and boundless. Only death seemed to be stronger than it. Though, after Cathy and Heathcliff are dead, these similar souls joined… There’s no doubt in it.
Remember Heathcliff’s words:
You teach me now how cruel you’ve been – cruel and false. Why did you despise me? Why did you betray your own heart, Cathy? I have not one word of comfort … You loved me – then what right had you to leave me? What right … for the poor fancy you feel for Linton?
Yes, in Heathcliff’s opinion, Cathy betrayed him, but not only him. She betrayed her heart, she betrayed herself.
Maybe this is the main problem or question touched in Wuthering Heights that is explored through all the novel. Cathy and Heathcliff grew up together, Catherine – passionate wild nature and Heathcliff – miserable pauper, but with the heart and soul, that are so suffered and wounded. They fell in love with each other at first sight. They kept each other, protected each other from angry and boring sermons of Hindley and from religious senile grumbling of Joseph.
It seems to us, such pure childish affection has to grow into something greater, So that began to do, but suddenly, we find out a new acting personage – Edgar Linton, young rich nobleman, he attracts for a short time (I repeat, for a short time) Catherine’s attention. By her own words she had fallen in love with him. Why? What had she found in this man? Were they so much alike with him? Was it H…
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… on her heart. What is Heathcliff’s reaction then? These are his words:
… and I pray one prayer – I repeat it till my tongue stiffens – Catherien Earnshaw, may you not rest as long as I am living, you said I killed you – haunt me, then!
This damnation is on his lips because of his terrible agony appealed by Catherin’s death. If he is able to bear this? Such a trial. He has to have inhuman power to live. But he survived. He is alive, and he died many years later.
And who were Cathy Earnshaw and Heathcliff? Absolutely inhuman creatures. On our land there were no place for them, no things to do for them, such bright unforgettable people can be met very seldom, and even if they born, then they are suffering for all of their life. Powerful personalities, restless souls and ardent hearts. Such people, maybe, won’t calm down after their death.
Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre – Seeking a Place for Life
Seeking a Place for Life in Brontë’s Jane Eyre
The best novels, like the best people, are conflicted. Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Erye is certainly no exception. At times, the novel seems almost at war with itself, an impression that may be explored only narrowly in this venue. Jane Eyre navigates a complex and treacherous territory between various extremes, mapping these spaces in rich detail for her “dear reader”. The novel unfolds on the boundary between the old, hierarchical social order of the ancient regime and the emerging autonomy of a more modern sense of self. It undertakes various pilgrimages through places where women are struggling (with varying degrees of success) to claim a meaningful freedom while living under the decisions of now-absent men. Perhaps most urgently, it seeks a fertile ground between hopeless extremes of human possibility – between passion (the “dark” madness of Bertha Mason) and reason (the logocentric rationalism of St. John Rivers).
In the end, Jane seems to have at long last found such a place to stand. One might wonder why Brontë, at the very end of the novel, returns to the story of St. John Rivers. For Brontë (and presumably for her contemporaries), the trajectory of unmediated passion is obvious enough—Bertha’s life consumed in it’s own burning unreason, a fate requiring no further explanation for the Victorian mind—but the internal logic of St. John’s choices remains less clear. Brontë needs to work out the destiny of a man like St. John, who has predicated his life on a turning from heart to mind, from human pathos to divine logos. Jane Eyre is finally an inquiry into the possibilities for human wholeness. At the novel’s close, Brontë turns to the cold and lonely gran…
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…ochester is no simple “happy ending”. Brontë’s Victorian critics were acutely sensitive to the rage that had accompanied Jane’s life, and were at a loss to understand her rejection of what must have seemed to them a lofty exemplar of Christian morality in St. John Rivers. The careful contemporary reader might note the curious violence that surrounds the final trajectory toward Jane’s conclusion: “My Edward and I, then, are happy” (385). Perhaps this resolution represents an incomplete (and somewhat forced) amalgamation of conflicting elements, rather than a reconciling synthesis. But Jane does ultimately come to the place she has yearned for; she finds a way to create a life for herself and those she loves, under the grace of a God of ordinary things.
Brontë, Charlotte. Jane Eyre. 1847. Ed. Richard J. Dunn. 3rd ed. New York: Norton, 2001.