Bronte intends for the reader’s response to Catherine in chapters 9 and 10 to be one of mixed emotions towards this centralised character. Previously she has appeared selfish, spiteful and unaware of the world around her. This is also emphasised with a different side to Catherine. She is here older and appears to be not any wiser. The reader witnesses that her feelings have matured towards Heathcliff and that she is becoming a woman. Catherine has some exceptional qualities. When she confides in Nelly she cares enough to make sure that Heathcliff does not hear her as she asks “where is Heathcliff? Catherine also admits to being “very unhappy” and this indicates that she isn’t sure what to do.
She asks for Nelly’s advice about the proposal from Edgar and asks “say whether I should have done so. ” She needs help and advice although she pretends to be sure of herself. This is showed when Nelly asks her “why do you love Edgar. ” Catherine replies “Nonsense I do – that’s sufficient. ” She is very adamant that she will keep her private reasons to herself and that she doesn’t need to explain. This also shows that she is spoilt and thinks that she is always right.
When she finally does describe to Nelly what she likes about Edgar she suggest feeble reasons and describes the things around him; “I love the ground under his feet, and the air over his head, and everything he touches, and every word he says. ” Catherine may be very highly strung but she knows how she feels and she knows deep inside what she is doing is wrong. When asked how she knows she says, “In my soul and in my heart, I’m convinced I’m wrong. ” Her conscience begins to take over. It hurts her a lot and she has a good perception of what she should feel. If I were in heaven, it should be extremely wrong,” this indicates she has a grasp of where she belongs.
This can been seen in her dream of going to heaven that “the angels were so angry that they flung me out into the middle of the heath. ” Catherine knows she “has no more business to marry Edgar Linton that she has to be in heaven. ” Whereas she wants to marry Edgar because he is “handsome and pleasant to be with”, “young and cheerful” and because “he will be rich, and I shall be proud of having such a husband,” she would like to marry Heathcliff “not because he’s handsome, but because he’s more myself than I am. Catherine knows that she loves Heathcliff deep down and that they are the same and they experienced many things together. “I am Heathcliff,” she tells Nelly “whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same. ”
Catherine thinks about Heathcliff romantically and believes that he is her soul mate. By the way she speaks of her love for him it is deep and meaningful. She never wants to be away from him, and she fails to understand why it cannot be so if she marries Edgar. “Every Linton on the face of the earth might melt into nothing, before I could consent to forsake Heathcliff. She knows that “he’ll be as much to me as he has been all his lifetime. ”
Catherine’s motives appear to include Heathcliff, as she wants her marriage to benefit him as well, “If I marry Linton, I can aid Heathcliff to rise and place him out of my brothers aid. ” This is an ambitious and a caring side to her character, she wants to protect Heathcliff from her brother’s treatment. She feels her marriage is marriage for Heathcliff’s benefit although she is told she will be apart from him. She answers “don’t talk of our separation: it is impracticable. ” She is nai??ve and is very wrong.
She feels very strongly for Heathcliff and feels his pains, “my great miseries are Heathcliff’s miseries. ” He is the closest person in her life and she needs him and admits this openly to Nelly, “If all else remained and he were annihilated, the universe would turn into a mighty stranger. ” Catherine realises what she feels for Heathcliff is something that is real there are no motives to loving him, “my love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath, a source of little visible delight, but necessary. ” She also admits that loving him is not a pleasure to her.
She appears to be very sure of everything she says about him. When she realises that she has made Heathcliff leave she “jumped up with a fine fright” as she is so afraid he’s gone and doesn’t want to hurt him. She’s scared that he’ll know the truth of her feelings and urgently says “I want to speak to him, I must before I go upstairs. ” On the moor she is out looking for him. She is distraught and lost. She’s afraid that he heard her and is frantic and desperate to explain herself. When he disappears, she becomes very ill and almost dies. She is prepared to nearly kill herself in waiting for him. She remained calling him at intervals” she doesn’t want to give up. Catherine does fail to realise what she is requesting from Edgar will not work out as he cannot accept her to marry him and be with Heathcliff, “Edgar must shake off his antipathy and tolerate him. ”
Catherine wants him to “get accustomed to Heathcliff” Catherine doesn’t mean to be cruel to Heathcliff but she is trying to be practical and benefit herself. Sometimes she is harsh and thinks she knows best. This can be seen when she tells Nelly that “Edgar has asked me to marry him and I’ve given him an answer. She wants advice but she’s made up her mind already. The reasons she has for marrying him are shallow and not a good foundation for a marriage. Nelly tells her that there are “several other handsome, rich men in the world” and Catherine replies “If there be any, they are out of my way. ” He’ll be rich and for her and most women in the 19th century this was a tempting factor due to the fact that many people did marry for money and status. When arriving back from Thrush Grange she is described as “saucier and more passionate and haughtier than ever. ” Catherine is talked of being bad tempered and rude.
She is spoilt and wants things right away, “I have only to do with the present. ” Catherine seems stuck up too as she tells Nelly “I don’t want your permission” when Nelly tells her to marry Mr. Linton. Catherine is cruel and selfish as money drives her. Status matters to her as well. “It would degrade me to marry Heathcliff now. ” When Catherine exclaims that “Heathcliff has no notion of these things” and that he “doesn’t know what love is” she is very wrong and is out of touch with him. She is very unaware about his feelings. When Catherine is married to Edgar and Heathcliff arrives on her door step Catherine is delighted to see him.
She is so excited that her “cup was never filled: she could neither eat nor drink. ” She can’t understand why Edgar is sulky “because she is glad of a thing that does not interest him. ” She cannot understand why he is happy at the hope she will have of “more opportunities of seeing him. ” She doesn’t get any sleep that night. “Catherine deemed it judicious to moderate her expressions of pleasure in receiving him; and he gradually established his right to be expected” she welcomes in Heathcliff but is oblivious to her husband’s objections.
When Isabelle shows interest in Heathcliff, Catherine immediately appears jealous as she says “I’ll not believe this idiocy”. She appears arrogant says “Heathcliff is not a pleasure but he’s a part of her. ” Her reasons for Isabelle not to get involved are that he is “an unreclaimed creature, without refinement, without cultivation and arid wildness of furze and whinstone. ” She also describes him as a “fierce pitiless wolfish man. ” She seems to be putting Isabelle of him, but she could be trying to protect her sister in law in a kind act to save her.
She suggests to her “he’d be quite capable of marrying your fortune. ” Catherine appears spiteful and vindictive when she mocks Isabelle’s feelings in front of Heathcliff. This is senseless of her. “My poor little sister in law is breaking her heart by the mere contemplation of your physical and moral beauty. ” This could be motive to embarrass her and therefore protect her. It could be because she wants to prove to Isabelle how cruel he is. Catherine is thoughtless as Isabelle “struggled from the tight grasp that held her. ” She is also thoughtless when Heathcliff asks if Isabelle is her brother’s heir.
Catherine suggests, “half a dozen nephews shall erase her title”. This is not the right thing she should have said in front of him. Catherine is not aware of the world around her. She is presented to the reader as a harsh and spiteful character who has a challenge in perceiving things around her. She is unable to realise certain truths that may change her future. The reader at times is also meant to like her because she does try to do what she thinks is best for her and because she is so out of touch she is perceived as nai??ve.