The Formation Of Catherines Double Value English Literature Essay

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Literature ethics has become one of the most popular criticism methods for it emphasize that ethics and moral are the motivation of literature. In the second part, we will analyze the ethic relationships between Catherine and other main characters by the view of literature ethics to explore the formation of Catherine's double value.


Abstract: Festival is a cultural phenomenon, and a powerful tool for our studies of cultures. Heathcliff is not the central figure in Emilys novel "Wuthering Heights" but Catherine; The ethical relationship between she and other characters in the novel reflects the profound and complex ideas theme, and the formation and development of her moral concepts and a tragic ending constitute the novel's internal thread, by which the writer attempts to describe the real picture of the social ethics of Victorian era and explore ways to realize moral ideals of humanism.

Key words: Wuthering Heights; Catherine; Ethical; Moral; Literature ethics


Contemporary critics use analysis, feminism, structuralisms to analyze the novel and attempts to disclose the "the mystery of the sphinx in modern literature." Whatever the type of evaluation, they take Heath cliff as the main figure. However, in my opinion, the soul charactor of this novel is Catherine because the formation and development of her complicated ethics and tragic ending is the inner mainline of this novel. Scholars didn't realize the important role of Catherine until literary criticism became popular. Therefore, the text use literature ethics to analyze the relationship between Catherine and her father, brother, husband and lover, and further explore the ethics and morality of writer herself. "To explore the writer's ethical ideas, understand the ethical dimension and disclose ethic backgrounds of the literature phenomenon will not only be possible, but also nesseecery" (zhou jianjun, 'usefulness and effectiveness of literary criticism ethics').

The relationship between Catherine and old Earns haw: Deviation of fatherly love cause desire for a warm family

2.1 Family atmosphere changed after Heath cliff's coming

The experience of living in villa in her early life made Catherine generated a great desire of compensation and longed for a family filled with affection, warmth and care. Old Earnshaw was a godly Christian and a loving father. But since he saw the dark and dirty and homeless child in the streets of Liverpool, put him in his arms, take him back home and take him as "God Reward", his love for his children had been shift. He then named this child with the name of his son who died many years ago. We can imagine his great grief for his lost son from it. But now the God gave him back what he had been deprived of. Old Earnshaw discarded mundane family love to put all his heart on Heathcliff and show his sincere to God. From the moral level he is kind and noble. However, from the ethical level, although his behavior maintain a certain religious moral principles, sabotage a normal, harmonious family order, which made the whole family got into an abnormal ethical relation.

Spousal relationship is the most basic ethical relationship in a family, but old Earns haw broke this basis. Mrs. Earnshaw considered that there were two children in their family to support, and her compliant was mainly from the economic reasons. he saw the little things was fooled by her own children and servants but never stop their behavior and even said a word on the surface , for in her mind that is reasonable. Which help to grow unharmonious atmosphere in the family in the first day Heath cliff stepped into the house Catherine and Hendry have realize indifference from their father? The Promised violin for Hendry was crushed into pieces and a prepared whip for Catherine was nowhere to see any more..

2.2 Catherine's effort to win back father's love

What made Catherine's heart totally broken was a big when she spat at the new boy to release her anger. She became livelier, naughty to try to attract attention of her father with the girl's manner, but old Earns haw showed ignorance about all her behavior and even said, "I can't love you because you're more evil than your brother. I think your mother and I must have regretted to bring you into the world" These words not only broke her disillusion to wake up fatherly love but also robbed her maternal love that has already been lost forever. "These words made she had a cry". Meanwhile, for Hendry these means not only lost of emotion but also the concerns about the replacement of his position and privilege. Hate for his father and hatred for Heath cliff stranded together to put great pressure on him. The enemy's conflict stopped for a moment with Hendry's left for college. But the father's behavior of regardless for his family's feelings has influence on his children and would lead to more severe consequences.

The last scene of old Earns haw's death was full of symbolic significance. A cold less night in October, outside was the wind howling around the house, and roaring in the chimney and sounded so ferocious. Such a chilling scene foreshadowed the family, with old Earnshaw as the parent, seems to be calm, orderly, but fatherly love was off and missed. He hasn't much love to her children, but to Heath cliff.

The relationship between Catherine and Hendry: paternalism inspired the absolute nature

3.1 Hendry's paternalism in the family

After old Earnshaw's dead Hendry became the controller in the family. His tyranny and oppression for other family members kept the abnormal ethical order. The first thing Hendry did after Earnshaw's dead was to rebuild a new family order following his wish "On the day he came back he said to Joseph and me that we must stay behind the kitchen and leave the wing room for him. He always keep reminding the family that," You have a family leader! ". Under the" tyrant parent "rule, Catherine and Heath cliff could no longer play freely, even not been able to laugh freely, otherwise, there could be tag at hair. A paragraph Catherine wrote on a paper was a true record of them for a "damn experience".

It is a continuously rainy Sunday night, Hendry and his wife comfortably lied around the fire downstairs, but Catherine and Heath cliff had to do pray in the cold damp attic, shivering for three hours. Even so, Hendry was still not satisfied and blamed "so fast?". They had to retreat under the round table of the kitchen, but Joseph thought they are for fun and not only had a face on Catherine, but also called for the master, "scratch on Catherine's collar and Heath cliff's arms and throw them into the back kitchen. Through the door of a few faint lights, Catherine wrote down her agony, "even in the rain would not colder than here" Hendry firmly controlled family property, took Catherine and Heath cliff the slaver under a paternalistic rule.

3.2 Catherine's wish to marry Linton gradually generated under Hendry's paternalism

The family was cold, so it was no wander that Heath cliff and Catherine was so eager to thrush village with red carpet and a gilt of the white ceiling and the room with pendant lamp decorated with glittering silver chain. It must be the heaven of warm and love. It is also the reason Catherine was attracted by the thrush village the first time she went there. Then she tried to change herself and hope to be accepted. Hendry take Heath cliff as a servant and let him know his position in this family. "don't let him sit with us and have dinner with us" "forbid him to listen to the lecture, he must go outdoors for labor and hard work like other boys" even threats that "if we break his orders, he'll hurl him out of the house" Hendry tried to make Catherine marry with Linton and cut off her relation with Heath cliff and even insult him in front of public. Catherine is in the nature of the performance of the dictator held absolute, the authority of the germ of a revolt in, although not openly against his brother, patriarchal, but she was in his own way to protect Heath cliff from her brother's hurt. His father's love was stolen away, and his rights to inherit property as the eldest son was threaten. Everything of the family could be taken away by the devil and he would have nothing.

In this unbalanced family Hendry was in cruel and paternalistic relationship and became gradually one of the victims of the distorted family. Hendry's paternalistic authoritarian inspired Catherine's potential free nature and aroused a sense of justice in her soul. She wanted to marry with Linton to help Heath cliff win people's respect. When Nelly accused that this way could hurt Heath cliff Catherine shouted with anger: "He have been completely abandoned! We have been separated!" "As long as I live here, Ellen, no one would dare to do that." She denied she was a "selfish bitch" and rebuttal that the way she use to help Heath cliff just like the best motives of becoming Linton's wife. In her mind, all of that but was just for one person, and in the person's body included my emotion for Edgar and for myself. Therefore, we say that Catherine's love beyond the mortal earthly, and finally reached a selfless moral realm.

The relationship between Catherine and Linton: shattered dreams and rebirth of ideals

4.1 Catherine decided to marry with Linton to help Heathcliff get free life

Catherine, although bite by a dog, enjoyed the warmth and care that she never experienced in the night invitation for Thrush cross Grange and appreciated the care between people in a civilized society. These feelings awake her unconscious desire for a warm family. Obviously, marry with Linton could satisfy all the yearning for a warm family: loved by a handsome and rich man as a hostess, with all Protection, being around with neighbor's envy. However, Catherine has convinced that she was wrong. In a place where my soul live, in my soul, in my heart, I believe I was wrong!"

Although Catherine can live a heavenly life, it is not what Catherine's most wanted. In the dream Catherine described we know that she aspire to be "thrown into the center of wilderness of Wuthering Heights" and to enjoy the free life to be with Heathcliffe. She knew that "he is more like me than I am. No matter what our souls have done, his soul and mine are exactly the same". Both of them have a strong desire for freedom and equality. Catherine was even will to make the sacrifice. Her intention to marry is very clear: "If I married with Linton, I can help Heathcliff stand up and arrange for him to get rid of my brother's persecution and oppression " When she talk with Nelly about his marital problems, the one she said the most was not about Linton but Heath cliff. All of her marriage problem was about how to help Heath cliff get rid of humiliation, get freedom, independence and dignity. That is, the reason to marry to Linton was not entirely out of love, but out of her complex values. She not only wanted to enjoy the warmth of family life with Linton in Thrush cross Grange (selfish), but also allows Heath cliff get the free of life, access the respect at least (selfish less). The moment Linton proposed to her, despite her inner filled with contradictions, she did not hesitate to seize this opportunity --- the only possible opportunity to achieve her ideal of double value.

4.2 Linton's indifference and Heath cliff's hate shattered Catherine's dream completely

In her early marriage life, London cared Catherine; he was so sweet and obedient. It seemed that they enjoyed infinite happiness in the warm family life. However, under the surface of life, there was undercurrent hidden: Catherine is often moody, sitting by window in silence, overlooking the peak convoluted with fog. Clearly, her heart was remained in Wuthering Heights. At this time, Catherine has got a warm family life, but Heath cliff's exodus has left a serious pain in her heart. She knew that neither Heath cliff nor herself did not get the freedom they desire. It was this painful situation made her confused, sad, and she can only rely on memories of the past to fill her spiritual emptiness.

With Heath cliff's return, even such "happiness" is soon ended. Because "when two people feel from each other that his interests has not been what the other most concerned about, the happiness ended". Linden witnessed Catherine's delighted impression, looked at her and Heath cliff's intimacy, jealous paled his face, he could not help to tear up in the night. At this time Linton realized that Catherine's heart was always filled with Heathcliff, he has never got Catherine's Aware.

Linton's nightmare was not over. He soon realized that Heath cliff was going to revenge by getting Isabella's love. Long-term accumulation for Catherine and Heath cliff broke up for the first time. "From now on, you give up Heath cliff, or you abandon me? It is impossible if you want to be both of our friends. In any case I need to know your final choice? "To be truth, it was an ethical dilemma because the two men each represented Catherine's different pursuit for life: Linden is related to a warm family ideal while Heath cliff is connected to the realm of freedom, and she hoped both ideals can be achieved through the marriage.

4.3 Catherine realized her real ideal

Heath cliff's run away has been a blow to Catherine before her marriage, now Linton, again declared the bankruptcy of her ideal. Catherine didn't eat anything for three days, with great pain, "she was standing on the edge of the grave", and Linton has been hiding in his study and pretended to read, indifferent. Catherine would have such confidence about Linden's love for her as "I believe that even if I kill him, he would not revenge". But now, London's selfishness and cowardice finally let Catherine know: "Linden did not love her without reservation , and his love is selfish, conditional, and he can protect his own interests without concerned her feelings, and even her life. "I thought, although everybody hated each other, despised each other, they cannot stop love me. Only a few hours later, they both become my enemy the enemy." A thought hit Catherine's brain, "When I'm dying, both of your cold face would be around me that is so sad." She resolutely said to her husband Linden, "I do not want you, Edgar, the time I want you is over because in my heart you have nothing else anymore. ". Thus, her loving warmth family life burst as a bubble. In trance, Catherine seems to come back to his childhood, "in the wilderness, see the birds in wildness with Heath cliff." She desired the whistling wind from the fir trees in Wuthering Heights.

With Catherine's cries once again, we view the inner world of the real Catherine: "I feel the wind, it was blowing straight from the wasteland, let me breathe it one more time!" Catherine had only one hope at this time: "I want to be together with Heath cliff and back to the free paradise, find a final resting place" "not in the middle of the church of the Linton's, but in the wilderness, only a tombstone erected there ".

The relationship between Catherine and Heathcliff: their love tragedy beyond the mundane world

5.1 The pure love between Catherine and Heathcliff before Catherine's invitation of Thrush cross Grange

What kind of people Heath cliff is? He was a homeless child that old Earns haw met in the streets of Liverpool, .Although he is dirty, ragged and had an unknown origin, but old Earnshaw is highly prized for Heath cliff and gave him love more than anyone in the family. However, this love does not bring happiness and satisfaction to Heath cliff but pain and sorrow.

First, the fact that he was abandoned have made Heath cliff become depressed, stubborn and insensitive, and was even indifferent in the front of the old Earnshaw's favor; Secondly, the love of old Earnshaw for Heath cliff aroused Hendry's jealousy and resentment, and with Heath cliff and Hendry's continuing conflict rise, Hendry began his curse on Heath cliff, "Wild Boy", "beggar rogue," "Little Devil" , which constantly remind Heath cliff, " This is not your home, you don't deserve anything here!" Thus, although Heathciff received the master's favor during old Earns haw's lifetime, his inner world has been empty, depressed and cold.

Heathcliffe has never got biological father's love, while to Catherine spiritual fatherly love was her desire. Perhaps at this point, they both found the common from each other, so they soon became intimate friends. Particularly when Hendry became the parent and put authoritarian repression on the family, the common experience of being punished make them more sympathetic for each other, and people often see they are inseparable and spent the whole day wandering in the wildness. The free spirit that wildness represents rooted into their souls. Heath cliff once said to Nelly that, "even give me a thousand lives, I do not want to take my situation here to exchange Edgar's life in Thrush cross Grange, even give me the right to drop Joseph from the highest of the roof, make Hendry's blood painted the front of the house, I do not want!" It has been Catherine's company that makes Heathcliff can tolerate Hendry's arbitrary cruelty, and bear Josephs' whip punishment. Catherine's joy and sorrow were closely linked with Heathcliff: for she cannot sit and eat together with him, she could not stop crying headache, and to Catherine the most severe penalty is to separate her and Heathliff. As long as they get together, they immediately forget the entire thing unpleasant. Their love is drawing near, not even left for a moment and it is a love of the soul.

5.2 Conflict between Catherine and Heathcliff happened after the Invitation of Thrush cross Grange

After the invitation of Thrush cross Grange, on the surface the two seemed alienated, in fact, of their inner world their feelings did not Change. To prevent Catherine from sad, Heath cliff even take courage to pack up Nelly to help him dress a little more presentable, and Catherine, in the Christmas party, put everyone aside, climbed from the attic of the house to accompany Heath cliff who was in confinement. The pain that Heath cliff was deprived of self-esteem in public made Catherine hard to swallow food. In tears and with deep empathy, Catherine firmed her own value ideal: freedom is the same important for her as that of Heath cliff; she had to gain independence for Heath cliff and people's respect.

In the soul love for Heath cliff, Catherine consciously took up the moral and responsibility to save Heathcliff. Compared to Catherine's complex and heavy love, Heath cliff's love was relatively simple and selfish. He complained that Catherine spend less time with him than Linden and his brothers and sisters, and quarrel triggered first between two person. Catherine asked Heath cliff with anger, "What did you talk with me about? You was dumb, a baby. You never said even one word to make me happy." .After the quarrel, Catherine quickly agreed to marry Linton and she told Nelly: "Now, if I marry Heath cliff, then it reduces my status. So he'll never know how much I love him ". This Kind of love "is like the immutable rock, while it seems bring very little joy to you, but is essential." Catherine's love for Heath cliff embodied the ideal of her own value of existence and reason. "As long as he stay here, I can continue to live", so her love for Heath cliff has become a way that her life exist.

5.3 Catherine's dream shattered after her married with Linton

When Catherine's ideals contact with the realities of life, the contradictions and conflicts appears. Heathclff's leave is the first blow to Catherine, so she cried in the storm, soaked to the skin, and spent a sleepless night alone. Since then, she started mind senses. Catherine realized that their love dislocated, and what she has done cannot be understood. She was flatly unwilling to accept this harsh reality.

Three years later, a more unexpected blow came to Catherine When Heath cliff, as a solemn and respected rich man, stepped into Linton's house, Catherine was very happy. She thought the only problem is that her husband, and she wish Linton could take Heath cliff as a friend, "He must get accustomed to see him, and even like him", but she was completely unaware that the danger has been close. Although Catherine persuaded Isabella that Heath cliff "is a vicious person like a ruthless wolf", Still, Catherine cannot imagine the man she loved has become a cruel selfish Avenger, in such a terrible belief: "tyrant oppress his slaves, slaves do not rise up against him, but oppressed people who are lower than them".

5.4 Heath cliff's crazy revenge after his return

When Heath Cliff told Catherine that he would abduct Isabella to revenge her, she came to realize that Heath cliff has become "the ungrateful brute" Thus, in their eyes showed a very complicated and confusing ethical situation: "Heath cliffs broken, London's unsympathetic, Isabella's accusation. It was this ethical situation pushed Catherine into a desperate situation. Lyndon's unfeeling make her dream of a warm family shattered, Heath cliff abandoned the ideal of spiritual freedom face the challenge once again. Catherine's attitude is: "If I cannot keep Heath cliff as my friend, if Edgar is still jealous, I will crushed my heart shattered their heart .If they pushed me to despair, this is the quickest way to end all of it!" If the yearning for a warm family is a common dream, the desire for spirit of freedom is a rare character and is her moral ideals for her whole life. Before her death, Catherine declared such a state of mind: "The thing I most hate is this broken cage. I am tired, I'm eagerly look forward escaping into the Paradise, and remain there forever" Catherine's death made Heath cliff become desperate, and he began unscrupulous revenge.

Everything seems as what he wants: Hendry drank to death, and he got all the property of Wuthering; Isabella die abroad, little London became the tool in his hands; Harleton were deprived of access to education, and became a brutal, dirty savages; Linden died in solitary. Heathcliff Catherine ultimately gain possession of Thrush cross Grange through marring little Catherine to his son. For 18 years, Heath cliff have worked out her brutal and violent revenge plan, played out scenes of the tragedy in Wuthering Heights and Thrush cross Grange. But Heath cliff's heart does not satisfy for a moment his soul has never been peaceful.

5.5 Heath cliff's torment in the rest of his life

For 18 years, "She has disturbed me, day and night, relentless." "As soon as I close my eyes, she either standing outside the window, or is pushing open the window guard, or entering the room, or even putting her lovely head leaning on her childhood sleeping pillow." "So a whole night I would open and closed my eyes hundreds of times, but the result is always disappointing! That tormented me so much!" "In every cloud, in every tree, in the night air, during the day, in everything, I was completely surrounded by the image of her!" He had only one wish, which is that he could be buried in the tomb beside Catherine so that their soul would be together forever."

Heath cliff's life is tragic: In the early days he suffered unfair treatment and discrimination, and reality of the Church also taught him to fight for his own selfish interests; When he brazenly implemented his crazy revenge scheme, he received Punishment from the soul and been declared of the failure of their self-interest of life. However, when he suffered defeat he finally recognize that love is precious, so he can only live together with Catherine's soul would he get the peace. Vulgarity love is not only reflected in the Catherine but also embodied in the early years and the end years of Heath cliff's life


Through the analysis of a variety of ethical relations, we can conclude that Catherine is the Core in the novel. The relationship between her and the people around constitute the basic framework. In this novel, the formation and development of her moral concept and the tragic ending constitute the main line.

The novel start with the appearance of Catherine's ghost and end up with Catherine and Heath cliff 's ghost wandering in the wilderness. Therefore, in the writer eyes Catherine is the soul character of the novel. The writer demonstrated distorted human relations through Catherine's double tragedy: As the deviation of father love in her the early years led to the subconscious for a warm Family life and a longing for love; brother after old Earns haw implemented authoritarian repression, which stimulated the awareness of resistance and equality. She also consciously assumed the moral and responsibility to save Heath cliff for free spirit and sense of justice. Linden of cowardice and selfishness and Catherine dashed the dream of a warm family, and her vulgarity love to Heathcliff didn't bring her happiness but become the major reason of her tragic life. In the reality of self-interest, this kind of love must be exclusive in marriage.

The writer showed a certain real picture of social morality of Victorian era by the description of ethic relationships centered with Catherine. With the tragedy caused by the realization of Catherine's pursuit of freedom, the writer explored her own way to achieve moral ideals of humanism. Although she have not been able to find the answer in the real world, it seems there is still some kind of hope for us because we can see Catherine and Heath cliff'soul peacefully wandered together at last.