NDB #4: Injury, Death and Sickness in Wuthering Heights

WH Cathy's death bed

Emily Bronte obviously uses episodes of injury, death, and sickness to advance the plot throughout the novel, but,how does she use “illness” as a metaphor to direct the reader’s opinion about the personalities of various characters?

Heathciff hangs Isabella’s dog. Hindley is an alcoholic. Old Mr. Earnshaw becomes an invalid and dies.

Choose one character and analyze his reaction to his/her own poor condition or analyze how one character responds to the suffering/disease/illness/death of another. Be sure to discuss what his/her reaction reveals about his/her character. Embed quotes if applicable or include specifics from the novel.

Resources? The novel and your brain–do not consult any outside sources (I have read most of them), and do not choose the same scenario as any poster before you!

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23 responses to “NDB #4: Injury, Death and Sickness in Wuthering Heights

  • Madelin Bishop

    When Catherine dies half way through the book, Heathcliff becomes crazy. This statement is ironic because Heathcliff is the reason that Catherine is sick. Mrs. Linton tells Heathcliff that “You and Edgar have broken my heart.” Catherine is torn between Heathcliff and Edgar Linton, and cannot bear to live with that decision to make. When Heathcliff enters the room that Catherine Linton is in he says, “Oh Cathy! How can I bear it?” Heathcliff is so attached to Catherine that he doesn’t know what to do when he sees how poor of shape she is in. This reveals the true love that Heathcliff has for Catherine. He expresses that he is going to be miserable without her in his life. Heathcliff “earnestly” wishes that Cathy was invisible because she reminds him of Catherine. Heathcliff is miserable without Catherine and is being haunted by her daily so much that, he doesn’t want to speak or does not “desire” to think. Heathcliff was so attached to Catherine that he does not have a desire to live on without her.

  • Sydney Hitchel

    I am choosing to do how Heathcliff reacted to Catherine’s death. Earlier in the book, Catherine died while she was giving birth to a child. Whenever they went to tell Heathcliff what had happened, hen already knew she had passed away. He could just feel it. He then went on and begged her to come back and haunt him so that he would not have to go on without her in life. I think that this really showed who Heathcliff was. It showed how much he truly did care about Catherine. Heathcliff says, “Be with me always, take any form, drive me mad! only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you! Oh, God! it is unutterable! I cannot live without my life! I cannot live without my soul!” I feel like this shows how much he did care for her, but also a little bit of selfishness, in the fact that he says, “May she wake in torment!’ he cried, with frightful vehemence, stamping his foot, and groaning in a sudden paroxysm of ungovernable passion. ‘Why, she’s a liar to the end! Where is she? Not there, not in heaven, not perished, where? Oh! you said you cared nothing for my sufferings! And I pray one prayer, I repeat it till my tongue stiffens, Catherine Earnshaw, may you not rest as long as I am living; you said I killed you, haunt me, then!” Because he would rather her not rest in peace, just so he can be with her.

  • Drew Dalton

    When the dog bites Catherine in the ankle earlier in the novel it reveals that the Linton’s show a lot of affection towards Catherine and not Heathcliff. The Linton’s allow Heathcliff to stay the nigh but they threat to banish Heathcliff if he talks to Catherine again. Heathcliff spies on the situation and see that they treat her like a queen. Heathcliff is very upset with the fact the Linton’s treat Catherine with so much care but ostracize him. What this really shows (or reveals) is the difference, which there were’t many at the beginning of the novel, between Catherine and Heathcliff. Catherine likes and accepts the luxury or plush type lifestyle while Heathcliff despises it.

  • Jordyn Martin

    When Edgar becomes ill, young Catherine is always at his bedside. Edgar and Catherine are best friends and love each other more than they love anyone else. When Edgar first became sick Catherine thought he would recover quickly and did not bother to obey his wishes regarding Linton and Heathcliff, but as he grew weaker Catherine would not leave him. With help from Nelly, she completely cut off Linton from her life and devoted that time to her father. Edgar and Catherine took daily walks together even after he was too weak to go too far. Because of this, their bond only grew stronger. If it was not for Edgar’s illness, Catherine would have become more attached to Linton and forced sooner by Heathcliff to marry Linton. When Edgar died, Catherine was imprisoned at Wuthering Heights to marry Linton before she returned to Thrushcross Grange. At this time, Edgar was near death, but did not die until Catherine was there by his side. His death was hard on her. She moped around and wanted to stay at Thrushcross Grange and even welcome Linton to stay there with her and Nelly. Catherine seems more attached to Edgar than she ever could be to anyone else.

  • Brianna Boswell

    From the very first time Linton arrives on the scene we know that he is sickly and fragile. He stays with Edgar and Cathy for a little while until Heathcliff comes and takes him away. Heathcliff uses Linton to get what he wants because he knows that Linton is weak. We really begin to see just how evil Heathcliff is when Linton talks Catherine into walking him into Wuthering heights, even though she knows she’s not supposed to go. Linton only did that because he was afraid of Heathcliff and what he could do. Heathcliff pours lie after lie into Linton’s head and changes his whole view of Catherine.

  • Grey Hofmann

    As Linton is ill in bed at the Wuthering Heights, Heathcliff allows nobody to help treat him. Mrs. Linton begged Heathcliff for a doctor and Heathcliff said “His life is not worth a farthing and I won’t spend a farthing on him!” Heathcliff is un-phased by Linton’s death, as if he didn’t care about him at all. This shows how heartless Heathcliff is since the death of his most loved person in the world, Catherine. Now he treats everyone as badly as he feels on the inside, horribly.

  • Miller, Nick

    With Edgar near death, he begins to weaken in his resolution. He begins to concede to the wishes of Catherine to be with Linton, despite giving in to what he knows Heathcliff wants. I think this shows that in his poor health, Edgar gains a more selfless personality, and realizes that if he doesn’t have much time left, there is no point in denying Catherine her wishes.

  • William Robinson

    I am choosing how Edgar reacts to Catherine being ill. Catherine finds out she is afraid of being alone, and that her actions are the reason she is alone. When she becomes ill, Edgar ignores her until the very end. Edgar says he wishes someone would’ve called for him earlier so he could be with Catherine. Catherine states that she no longer wants to be with Edgar, and wants to be with Heathcliff when she dies. The illness reveals that Catherine no longer loves Edgar, and she wants to be with Heathcliff, and also that she doesn’t want to be left alone, she just wants to be with the right person.

  • Jordan Hall

    When Catherine dies after giving birth, Heithcliff becomes very violent and becomes evil. The dispute between Hindley and Heithcliff continues; however, this time it becomes physical. Hindley locks Heithcliff outside of the house and waits for him to return so that he can shoot him. Heithcliff defends himself though and climbs through the window and turned the gun back towards Hindley and shot Hindley in the wrist. He has no guilt and they even resume fighting again the next day. The only pain Heithcliff feels is the pain of Catherine being gone. He no longer has any feelings for anyone but Catherine and feels no guilt.

  • Adrianna Bowman

    When Catherine dies, Edgar reaction was very intense. He became very deep in sorrow. He was obviously very connected to Catherine as he sat next to her dead body or hours. I think this reveals that he is a very caring person, maybe more than he seems to be. But then again i think most of his grief comes from the fact that he will not have a male heir, which also shows that he is still somewhat selfish. When compared to the reactions of Heathcliff, Edgars reaction was very soft.

  • Morgan Montgomery

    After Catherine’s death, Heathcliff becomes rather obsessive more than anything. Towards the end of the book, Heathcliff tells Nelly that he tore the earth off of Catherine’s coffin, and tore one side of it off, as well. He did this so, whenever he may pass away, that their corresponding broken coffin sides will let them lie together forever. Being so proud of revealing his dead wife’s body is rather strange and obsessive. Also, Heathcliff begins to see Catherine in both Hareton, her nephew, and Catherine, her daughter. He can hardly speak to them or have anything to do with them, as he sees this too much. Seeing his wife everywhere he looks is rather strange and creepy, as well, proving that he is not coping well with her death.

  • Jon K

    The way Heathcliff was fighting so intently with Edgar over Catharine, and causing her so much torment is a good example of the way was characters react to each other. She goes as far as to refuse to eat because of their fight. Heathcliff never really did anything to help her thought the difficult decision of choosing between him and Edgar. He even continues to visit her instead of giving her time alone to make her decision. His reaction to her suffering is basically nothing, he doesn’t seem to have a reaction to his “love” going through so much suffering because of him.

  • Jessica Embry

    I’m choosing how Hindley reacted after Catherine’s death. Once Catherine died, Hindley tried to stay sober enough to go to her funeral. I think Hindley failed to show up to Catherine’s funeral because he couldn’t bear the thought of his sister being dead. The pain was so aching that according to Isabella, Hindley began to drank heavily the morning of Catherine’s funeral. Hindley became hateful to Heathcliff and locked him out of the house. Isabella also said that Hindley threatened to shoot Heathcliff. Hindley’s threat was leaked to Heathcliff, which caused Heathcliff to become violent. Hindley’s plan to shoot Heathcliff failed because Heathcliff ended up taking the gun and shooting Hindley in the wrist. Heathcliff became violent and severely beat up Hindley. The next morning, Hindley was reminded off Heathcliff’s attack on him, and Hindley grew enraged, and started fighting Heathcliff again. Hindley ends up dying six months after his sister’s death. He had began gambling a lot before his death and after Catherine’s death, which caused him to die with a lot of debt. After Catherine’s death, Hindley’s life went downhill.

  • Jared Ralph

    I chose to talk about how Hindley is affected by the death of his father, Hareton Earnshaw. After Hareton Earnshaw dies and Hindley inherits the estate, Hindley sees his chance to enact his revenge on Heathcliff. He takes the chance to start abusing Heathcliff. He treats him like a servant by forcing him work in the fields and Hindley declares that he is no longer going to allow Heathcliff to have an education. Heathcliff is even told not to speak to Catherine. In chapter 6, Hindley fiercely tells Heathcliff that he is to no longer have any contact with Catherine. Hindley tells him that the first word he speaks to Miss Catherine will ensure a dismissal. Basically Hindley is not entirely affected by the death of his father. His father’s death just allowed for him to enact his revenge on Heathcliff.

  • galtea

    After Hindleys death, Heathcliff gains custody of Hareton. During his upbringing, Hareton is treated like complete garbage, being made into an uneducated laborer. I believe this shows how cruel Heathcliff can be and how he wanted some type of revenge on Hindley for treating him the same way. Throughout the novel Heathcliff shows signs of being very withdrawn from others. This leads him to do unspeakable actions, like treating people very badly and showing no remorse for physically harming others. “I have no pity! I have no pity! The more the worms writhe, the more I yearn to crush out their entrails! It is a moral teething; and I grind with greater energy in proportion to the increase of pain.” Heathcliff was talking to wife, Isabella. Heathcliff has violent outbursts on and off throughout the novel.

  • Adam Moser

    Nelly is affected by Catherine’s death in a major way. When Catherine died she brought young Catherine to life. Nelly looked after young Catherine and loved her. Nelly became young Catherine’s mother figure. Nelly loved Catherine so much that when she died Nelly raised her daughter as her own. Nelly refers to young Catherine as her “beloved young mistress.” She begs Heathcliff to allow her “to continue resident at the grange” so she can stay with and continue to watch over young Catherine.Overall, Catherine’s death affects Nelly by essentially becoming young Catherine’s mother.

  • Mitchell Jones

    I chose to talk about how Isabella suffered at Wuthering Heights. She was tricked by Heathcliff into marrying him and coming there just so Heathcliff could get to Edgar, and then didn’t take care of Isabella at all. He verbally abused her many times and even threatened to physically abuse her. “He told me of Catherine’s illness, and accused my brother of causing it; promising that I should be Edgar’s proxy in suffering, till he could get hold of him.” Heathcliff wasn’t the only one who abused Isabella, Joseph and Hareton also verbally abused her.

  • Isai Amaya

    When Catherine died Edgar becomes depressed in some way. He stayed inside with her dead body for hours. When Edgar say Heathcliff, he did not react angrily but instead let him see Catherine. This shows a change in Edgar because he did not argue with Heathcliff, although he was a coward so he did not enjoy head to head confrontations.

  • Alex Shively

    Catherine’s demise starts with her marrying Edgar instead of Heathcliff. It not only tears Catherine apart but all of them especially when Catherine dies. All the fighting takes a huge toll and will haunt each of them to their death. Catherine tries to get Heathcliff to forgive her for her mistakes before she dies but he doesn’t budge.

  • Maci Quisenberry

    I am choosing to talk about how at the beginning of the book Nelly takes in little Hareton as her own because his father, Hindley, didn’t want anything to do with him. Nelly took care of little Hareton and raised him since he was a little baby because she knew if she didn’t Hareton wouldn’t have anyone to take care of him. Hindley blamed Hareton for his wife’s death and didn’t want to have anything to do with him, so he left him for someone else to take care of.

  • kj2558200

    If Haretons Father Hindley never died his life would be completely different. Because his father had a massive debt to Heathcliff when he died Heathcliff got all of his assets including his son. Because Healthcliff hated Hindley he punished his son by not giving him any education and making him his servant, “lives in his own house a servant.” If Hindley didn’t die he would be ” the first gentlemen in the neighbourhood.” Even though Hindley did not treat him very well Hareton would probably be educated and be well respected instead of being uneducated and looked down upon.

  • Traci Renfrow

    Edgar’s reaction to Catherine’s death was that he became distant from the people around him, spends most of his time alone, and doesn’t really show any emotions. When Nelly tells him that his daughter has been going to Heathcliff’s to visit Linton, he doesn’t really get upset with her or Heathcliff, he just tells her that she will not go over there again.

  • Kristen Lively

    When Heathcliff’s son Linton becomes ill Heathcliff won’t allow a doctor to see him because he does not care about his son or what happens to him. Heathcliff is also unaffected by Lintons death. He doesn’t care about anyone or anything and treats everyone badly after Catherines, the love of his lifes, death.

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