Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Wuthering Wednesday: Chapters 18-26

 In which The Librarian, LindszerWest and RachelKiwi continue 
the reread of the gothic classic.
 The Librarian Asks and I answer: 
[Check out TheLibrarian's blog today... She made an awesome graphic for this week’s reading. I have a chart I'm posting next week, however, Sara's puts mine to shame. Mine is done with the ancient media of a pen and paper. The Librarian’s is much cooler.]
Which characters from the previous generation is Linton most like?
Edgar. He’s also a wuss.
What differences does Linton have from the previous generations?
Edgar had some redeeming qualities. He was a caring father, and he really did love Catherine. Young Linton loves no one but himself. Seriously, I can’t stand this kid. How did the magnificent Heathcliff spawn that?
What part does Linton play in the present?
I don’t know. I certainly have no use for him. :) He is setting up the love triangle between Hareton, himself and Cathy. He’s a contrast to the rustic Hareton. He helps show Heathcliff’s indifference and cruelty. He is a reason for Cathy to be up at the Heights, making Hareton jealous. Heathcliff has plans for Linton and Cathy’s marriage to further his revenge.
Catherine (2)
Which characters from the previous generation is Catherine (2) most like?
I think she’s a blend of her parents. She’s impetuous and passionate, like Catherine, but it’s diluted. And she has some of Edgar’s gentler qualities.  She has the capacity to be kind and I think she is capable of change, whereas Catherine was not.
What differences does Catherine (2) have from the previous generations?
I think the big difference in her is what we will see in the final section this week. She is  capable of self-reflection. She can and will change her attitude toward Hareton. Catherine was set in her opinions and attachments… you get the feeling that she was not to be reasoned with. But Cathy, who once teased Hareton, is going to reevaluate her relationship with him and be kind to him and love him instead. At least, I think that’s what happens. Check back in a week and see if I remembered correctly…
What part does Catherine (2) play in the present?
I like that Heathcliff has two people at the Heights who torment him just by their genetic make-up. Cathy, because she is the daughter of the woman he loved with the man he hated. And Linton, his own son, whom he detests because he reminds him of Edgar. If Catherine and Heathcliff had had a child, would Heathcliff have been a doting father?
Which characters from the previous generation is Hareton most like?
Heathcliff has made him into what he is. Without Heathcliff’s presence, Hareton would have been allowed to become the refined gentleman he was born to be. Hareton is what Heathcliff would have been had he not gone off and returned an educated man. (See the first question in the next section.)
What differences does Hareton have from the previous generations?
Hareton has a gentleness that must be from a formerly dormant gene from a mysterious Earnshaw ancestor. We need to come back to this next week, because Hareton’s real adventures are just beginning.
What part does Hareton play in the present?
He’s a pawn in Heathcliff’s game of destruction. Of the second generation, he is the one that Heathcliff has damaged the most. And Heathcliff admits that if not for Hareton’s genes, he could love him. That’s so sad, because if there’s anything that Hareton and Heathcliff need, it’s LOVE.

Bonus: Can anyone in this generation live a happy life? Who do you bet on and why? 

Cathy and Hareton sitting in a tree! K-I-S.... OK. Yes, Cathy and Hareton. Why? Because I remember the ending! But aside from that, they are the characters most capable of expressing the basic human emotions of: (read carefully, cause I know they are foreign words for this novel) gent-le-ness. And kind-ness. And a general sense of dec-en-cy.

 I ask... and answer:

My crush has shifted from Heathcliff to Hareton. Compare and contrast Heathcliff and Hareton.

Hareton's life is like the inverse of Heathcliff's. Heathcliff is without name, wealth, family, or pedigree when he arrives at Wuthering Heights. Later, he returns from his three year hiatus having made of himself a gentleman: he's well-spoken and educated. (Well, he has the appearance of a gentleman, but we know his heart...) He has a will of iron and a heart of ice. Hareton, on the other hand, was born into a life of privilege, with name, wealth, lands, and every likelihood that he would grow into the gentleman that he was born and bred to be. That is, until Heathcliff descends, wreaking havoc in Hareton's life until Hareton is nothing more than a crude, rough laborer, illiterate and inept. (But tall and athletic and handsome!)

Hareton doesn't seem to have the sense to realize that he's been cheated out of his birthright by the man he looks up to. I don't think he's exactly dumb, but he's not the brightest crayon in the box, either. But he lacks the will and the drive to make something of himself and maybe that's because he has some heart, too. Heathcliff's only impetus for bettering himself is for the eventual purpose of widespread revenge. Hareton has no such evil plans and he stays as he is, swindled and ignorant. But open to love... ;)

Reflecting back on something The Librarian commented on in Week One: Nelly does interfere a little bit in the story. Does this make you trust her less? Should we blame her? Or was she justified in her occasional meddling?

I don't have a problem with any interference Nelly plays in the story. She is frequently put in difficult positions and must resolve them, often while being the only sane mind around the place! And she's narrating this story for hundreds of pages, so you know what, she should be a part of it. 

Is Cathy Linton Catherine Earnshaw all over again?

Catherine: brat in general. Cathy: brat to Hareton. Don't you just ache for him when she laughs at his roughness and illiteracy? Catherine: love triangle with a handsome rogue and a wimp. Cathy: on the cusp of a love triangle with a handsome rogue and a wimp. At first glance, there are a lot of similarities between mother and daughter. But... I think that the Linton blood has diluted the feisty Earnshaw strain so that Cathy is more rational than her mother. Catherine wasn't capable of contentment, and if I remember correctly, Cathy ends up happily married. I'm hoping that Cathy will be the saving grace of the novel.

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