Wuthering Heights – What does Emily Bronte convey about Heathcliff in each of the extracts? Essay

I am going to compare two different extracts from the book Wuthering Heights written by Emily Bronte. I will compare the language and the structure of the different extracts.

Extract one is when Heathcliff has just been brought to the house. Mr Earnshaw has returned with Heathcliff after a trip to Liverpool. Extract 2 is the part of the book when Nelly’s been lured up to Wuthering heights by Heathcliff. This is also the part of the book when Heathcliff is exacting his revenge on people, then Nelly and Heathcliff begin to talk about his treatment of Hareton.

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The way Emily Bronte conveys Heathcliff in the two extracts is very different, in one extract Heathcliff is conveyed as an object whereas in the other extract he’s conveyed as a mean monster.

In extract 1 Emily Bronte puts across that Heathcliff is picked on and doesn’t seem wanted by the family. The most frequent example of this is when Heathcliff is called ‘it’. This is sort of evocative language because ‘it’ triggers an emotional reaction towards Heathcliff, making us sympathise with him. Emily Bronte suggests that the family see Heathcliff as an object and not a person, or a boy. So you can see Heathcliff is being treated unfairly from the beginning. When the family refers to Heathcliff as “it” it shows that the family isn’t exactly a caring family, it also shows that the family members haven’t got caring personalities. This is except for Mr Earnshaw, even though he still calls Heathcliff “it”, he nevertheless seems to care more for Heathcliff than any other member of the family. The fact of him being called “it” is not so in the 2nd extract, instead Heathcliff is referred to as “him” and “he” like he is a person with a name and not a object, like in extract 1.

In extract 1 Heathcliff is said to have come from the devil, as he is so dark. Again we sympathise with Heathcliff, and Heathcliff is described as dark so is portrayed as being dirty and unwashed. These facts of him being from the devil and being dirty are emphasised in the sentence: the word ‘devil’ is emphasised in the sentence because it is situated at the very end, also tension has been previously built up during the long sentence which helps to emphasise the impact of the word on the reader. This word is further highlighted by the contrast of ‘god’ a line before, the words “devil” and “god” contrasts well, probably because everyone sees them as opposites.

In extract 2 the roles seem to have been turned on their head or reversed, because Heathcliff is now the one who seems unfair and mean. This is shown when Heathcliff is speaking to Nelly about Hareton and says, “he’ll not venture a single syllable” this implies that Hareton will never speak, because of Heathcliff’s treatment of him.

I assume this is because Hareton doesn’t know how to speak to a nice lady like Cathy. Hareton, Hindley’s son, has taken Heathcliff’s role as the rough-mannered and scruffy one. A quote that illustrates this is “I’ve got him faster than his scoundrel of a father secured me, and lower, for he takes pride in his brutishness”. This means that Hareton was better off than Heathcliff was at a similar age, but unlike Heathcliff, Hareton took pride in being rough and ignorant. We see that Heathcliff really has become a monster because Heathcliff takes pleasure in making Hareton as he was, but Heathcliff also wasn’t embarrassed to admit it, as we can tell when he began “reflecting aloud” to Nelly, not trying to hide what he was doing. But the best thing about it Heathcliff says is that “hareton is damnably fond of me! You’ll own that I’ve out matched hindley there”.

This quote tells us two things: one that Hareton is very fond of Heathcliff and two, that Nelly can’t deny that Heathcliff has beaten Hindley. This signifies that Heathcliff’s out-matched Hindley because Hareton likes his master (Heathcliff), whilst Heathcliff didn’t like Hindley who was his master. So here we see that Heathcliff seems to be comparing him-self to Hindley, as if it were a competition. This tells us that Heathcliff has a very competitive personality, he doesn’t like to be beaten at any thing even at something like this, obviously likes to be better at anything than anyone else. It also shows that Heathcliff is trying to appear better than Hindley in Nelly’s eyes.

The change of roles even stretches to being treated like an object, we see this when Heathcliff says Linton’s his, “and mine”, so you get the feeling every thing that was done wrong to Heathcliff in extract 1 is now being done to anyone close to Heathcliff, even his own son. This incident happened just before Emily Bronte used imagery to show the difference, in Heathcliff’s eyes, between Linton and Hareton. She described using a metaphor: “one is gold put to the use of paving- stones; and the other is polished to ape a service of silver”. By this she means that one is gold and the other is mimicking silver, so the second isn’t even silver.

Linton, Heathcliff’s son, is the one who is mimicking silver, and Hareton is the one who is described as gold. From this I can assume that Heathcliff believes that Hareton is more valuable to him than Linton, for some reason, may be because Hareton is Hindley’s son and, as we know Heathcliff hated Hindley. There is also alliteration at the end of the quote, “a service of silver” this adds emphasis to the fact that Linton isn’t as valuable as Hareton, it also makes you notice the phrase more, and makes you take in what it’s implying.

Imagery is also used in extract one to help us to imagine Heathcliff as “a dirty ragged, black-haired child; big enough to both walk and talk”. This is the first time we get a description of Heathcliff In the book, it confirms the image in your mind of Heathcliff as a dirty, scruffy child.

There is also a difference in the layout and structure of the extracts. In extract one there is a lot tension, especially in the first two paragraphs. This tension is achieved in these paragraphs by the use of commas, and we don’t discover that Mr Earnshaw has brought Heathcliff back from Liverpool until the third paragraph; the commas make you read the paragraphs slower, therefore adding extra tension. Extract 2 is quite different. It seems more open and less tense. By open I mean freer flowing. This makes the extract less tense and more descriptive than extract one. It may seem more open because of the long, complex sentences used in the extract. The fact that it is mainly dialogue may explain why it is more open than extract one, which is narrated by Nelly Dean.

So it is obvious from the two extracts that for some reason Heathcliff has changed during the course of the book, in extract 1 Heathcliff is the one who is being picked on by the family, while in the second extract it is Heathcliff who is picking on the family. This is conveyed in many ways during the two extracts: by the sentence length, structure, and type; also by the amount of dialogue, and even by the language used by Emily Bronte in the extracts.


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