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Heathcliff Character Analysis

Decent Essays
While Nelly Dean has experienced various frightened reactions to Heathcliff, including her own initial response, Heathcliff and Catherine’s interactions with the Linton family mark the first time the two children experience the reinforcement of Heathcliff’s inferiority—and, specifically, his inferiority in relation to his racialized features—outside of the home. As Catherine is taken into Thrushcross Grange, the Linton family is at a loss with what they’re meant to make of Heathcliff. Between Mr. and Mrs. Linton, Heathcliff is referred to by a litany of names. For instance, Mr. Linton warns his wife of a “villain” in the fields; following suit, Mrs. Linton is horrified when catching sight of Heathcliff, calling him a “wicked boy … unfit…show more content…
Heathcliff and Catherine’s introduction to the Linton family acts as the point in Wuthering Heights when racialization and othering have fully proliferated throughout Heathcliff’s environment, what with Catherine’s recognition of Heathcliff’s imposed racial and class inferiority. The earliest trace of Catherine’s shifting perspective is found in her reaction to Isabella’s claim that Heathcliff looks “exactly like the son of a fortune-teller”; hearing this, Cathy laughs (50). This is the first betrayal of many in Heathcliff’s eyes. Catherine’s shift in vocabulary becomes evident after she finally returns to Wuthering Heights, the girl unabashedly telling Heathcliff how “black and cross” he looks upon entering, and how his dark demeanor stands out because she is “used to Edgar and Isabella Linton” (54). In short, a mere few weeks at Thrushcross Grange has taught Catherine to consider Heathcliff a different breed of human being altogether. When considering the growing divide between Heathcliff and Catherine across lines of class and race, then, one can see that Catherine’s perspective offers what Nelly’s does not: it illustrates a deliberate shift from a mind full of mere adoration to one poisoned with feelings of superiority. To be granted insight into Catherine’s mind as she “gaze[s] concernedly at the dusky fingers she held in her
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