SAMPLE STUDENT ESSAYS ON WUTHERING HEIGHTS
Sample Student Essay 1
I disagree strongly that unchecked passion exerts a brutalizing
influence. I think that a brutal character exhibits brutish
characteristics. Passion is the result of intense feelings.
One can have a passion for another that results in an elevating
experience and actions.
Heathcliff was a miserable person. Catherine's assessment
of him was clearly truehe was a "wolfish" individual.
All evidence points to his being the same since he was a child.
It is possible that his early experiences molded hm into a bitter,
angry, vengeful man. His affinity towards Catherine was forged
in the absence of any kindness shown to him, other than her
father's, which he did not seem to overly appreciate. This attraction
solidified as Heathcliff reached maturity, but his passion involved
much more than love. His obsession was fueled by insecurity,
rage, jealousy and, I believe, a basic meaness of character.
One's passion could evolve, even at the loss of its object,
into a striving for worthiness. Heathcliff's viciousness encompassed
all around him. There was no consideration for those Catherine
might have valued. There was no discrimination only towards
only those who had wronged him. He was a sadistic, violent man
who never saw any need to repent. His feeble attempts, near
the end of his life to seek some small companionship was almost
pitiful. His abrupt withdrawal predictable. Passion did not
create his brutality. His brutality made his passion an inescapable
effect of his emotional life.
Sample Student essay 2
Wuthering Heights does demonstrate the brutalizing influence
of unchecked passion. The very location of this misanthrope's
paradise makes for the environment of a Hobbesian return to
nature where all men are at war with all men for everything.
In moving this far from all social ties you have put yourself
on the edge of the world. Heathcliff's name seems to say he
is the cliff at the end of the heather. The phallic cliff pointing
up to the sky, dominating the landscape, unscaleable, unfeeling
to others, feeling only for himself.
If you follow the degeneracy of passion to brutality you will
see the different steps. The wild energies of youthful Heathcliff
and Catherine were innocent. Heathcliff is the spark, however.
He is the alien element, the gypsy child, forcibly introduced
in the happy home on the heath by Mr. Earnshaw almost as if,
like a Frankenstein, he had created him on his own, he was his
favorite over his own blood. The wild factor on the wild heights
forms the wild link to Catherine from which all tragedy will
occur and from which all passion shall burst forth.
The passion Hindley must have at being seconded by a stranger
in his father's favor, a stranger who caused him not to have
his violin expected on his first visit. Heathcliff gave a step
back to civilization (no violin) to Hindley with his appearance.
Heathcliff must have made Hindley jealous too by becoming Hindley's
sister's favorite too. Hindley lost a father and a sister to
the outsider. His passion comes out when Mr. Earnshaw dies and
he six years older and in control can make Heathcliff pay.
Hindley's brutality to Heathcliff will come back to him. Catherine's
liking the civilized world of the Lintons causes a split with
Heathcliff. Again Heathcliff runs off because in his passion
he does not even wait to hear the full speech Catherine is making
and leaves hearing only the negative part. Passion in control
makes for actions that everybody pays for, for too quick a response,
for not communicating at all.
Catherine's wretched passion takes the forms of rages and
tantrums. Such behavior isolates her from Nelly. In losing her
own control she destroys her health, dies before her days, and
has her baby at seven months pregnant (but could an ego so vast
and narcissistic even have cared about her baby's sake)? I think
Catherine had to die in childbirth because she could not bear
to share the passionate stage with another little scene stealer.
Edgar lives longer because he is civilized; he goes to his books;
he reads in his library; he controls his passions in reality
and not just to let them out later in vengence as Heathcliff's
phoney control is. As Edgar survives longer by retreating to
his library, Isabella survives longer by fleeing Wuthering Heights
and her bad marriage to a demon.
To live under the emotional pressure of excess passion burns
you out, makes you irrational, steals your life, makes all others
your enemy because narcissism is disguised as pasison. Heathcliff
wanted the world, wanted control, and he got it. I believe Heathcliff
died the year after he owned (conquered) Thrushcross because
he was not meant to own civilization. Thrushcross brought Catherine
Linton into his home, Lockwood to visit and with his visit the
reappearance of Catherine's ghost. The evil of Wuthering Heights
burnt itself (Heathcliff out) by its very success in expanding
to Thrushcross Grange.
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