Heathcliff Research Paper

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Heathcliff, one of English literature’s best known villains, is discovered “starving,…houseless, and good as dumb…in the streets of Liverpool” by his soon-to-be but not long lasting foster father, Mr. Earnshaw, within the first few chapters of Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë (Brontë 37). Because “[n]ot a soul knew to whom [the boy] belonged” (Brontë 37) and Mr. Earnshaw, by his evidently kind nature, “would not leave [the child] as he found it,” (Brontë 37) took him home and ordered his family to treat the child as one of their own, even going so far as to “[christen] him ‘Heathcliff’…after the name of a son who died in childbirth” (Brontë 38). Soon, “[Heathcliff’s foster sister] Cathy and [himself grew]…very thick” and he became Mr. Earnshaw’s …show more content…

Even his foster mother “was ready to fling it out of doors,” possessing no compassion for the young, lonely child (Brontë 37). Nelly Dean, a friend of the family, shared this sentiment: rather than giving Heathcliff a proper bed on his first night home, she “put it on the landing of the stairs, hoping it might be gone on the morrow” (Brontë 38). Heathcliff weathered against these abuses and the many more he faced from his unkind siblings, especially from Hindley, throughout his childhood, showing his hard, resilient …show more content…

Earnshaw dies and is replaced by Hindley as master of Wuthering Heights. Acting on his previous hatred for Heathcliff because the latter was viewed "as a usurper of [Hindley's] parent's affections and...privileges" (Brontë 38), Hindley “drove [Heathcliff]…to the servants” (Brontë 46) and subjected the boy to severe thrashings and floggings for the simplest annoyance. As a result, Heathcliff grew harder and more resentful of Hindley, plotting revenge at every moment. During this time, Cathy was Heathcliff’s love and his only reprieve amongst this torture, but she, too, turns against him, for if “Heathcliff and [she] married, [they] should be beggars” (Brontë 81). To avoid this undesired fate, Cathy went against Heathcliff, her true heart’s love, and chose to marry Edgar only for the superficial reasons that “he is handsome, and young,…and rich” (Brontë 78). This final rejection is what fueled Heathcliff’s desire for power and to prove he is worthy of civilized society, doing so by disappearing for three years and returning as a wealthy gentleman “reformed in every respect” (Brontë

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