Pairs in Brontë’s Wuthering Heights

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Throughout Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë presents and develops several pairs of characters, ideas, and locations that work both together and in contrast to each other, such as the temporal, and perhaps most obvious, juxtaposition of the two properties Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange. Within these locations emerge three distinct character pairs, tied together by the similar type of relationship upon which each is based: a brother and sister connection, although not necessarily one defined by genetics. These three pairings include narrator Nelly Dean and Hindley Earnshaw, Cathy Earnshaw and Heathcliff, and Isabella and Edgar Linton. Each relationship is unique: Nelly and Hindley are both nursed by Nelly’s mother and are raised…show more content…
While Nelly never develops a very deep connection with or strong positive feelings towards Heathcliff, she does cease in her maltreatment of him, leaving Hindley alone in acting upon his hatred of Heathcliff. This seems to weaken the connection between the pairing of Nelly and Hindley, and with Nelly acting as a neutral agent, the brother-sister bond between Cathy and Heathcliff essentially triumphs within this household. As Mr. Earnshaw grows older and weaker and Hindley continues to antagonize Heathcliff, the curate suggests that Hindley be sent away to attend college, thus marking the first separation the pair of Nelly and Hindley experience (32). With this pair no longer present at Wuthering Heights, the bond between Cathy and Heathcliff grows ever stronger until Hindley returns to attend Mr. Earnshaw’s funeral. When Hindley comes back, he arrives with a young, childish wife, Frances. This newly constructed pair of husband and wife appears to further disintegrate the brother-sister connection Nelly and Hindley had at one point, and their relationship is more fully established as that of master-servant. In her storytelling to Lockwood, Nelly explains that the day he returned, Hindley mandated that she and Joseph, the Earnshaw’s man-servant, were forced to “thenceforth quarter [them]selves in the back-kitchen, and leave the house for him” (36). Hindley’s hatred for
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