Many of the
Names have a thematic significance in
Matched and contrasting pairs form the apparatus through which the book’s thematic conflicts play out, as the differences between opposed characters and themes force their way into action and development. Some of the pairs include: the two manor houses, Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange; the two loves in Catherine’s life, Heathcliff and Edgar; the two Catherines in the novel, mother and daughter; the two halves of the novel, separated by Catherine’s death; the two generations of main characters, each of which occupies one half of the novel; the two families, Earnshaw and Linton, whose family trees are almost exactly symmetrical; and the two great themes of the novel, love and revenge. By placing these elements into pairs, the novel both compares and contrasts them to each other. The device of pairing serves to emphasize the book’s themes, as well as to develop the characters.
Analyze the character of Edgar Linton. Is he a sympathetic figure? How does he compare to Heathcliff? Is Catherine really in love with him?
Edgar Linton is a kind, gentle, civilized, somewhat cowardly man who represents the qualities of Thrushcross Grange as opposed to the qualities of Wuthering Heights. Married to a woman whom he loves but whose passions he cannot understand, Edgar is a highly sympathetic figure after Heathcliff returns to Wuthering Heights. The man finds himself in an almost impossible position, seeing his wife obviously in love with another man but unable to do anything to rectify the situation. Still, he proves weak and ineffectual when compared to the strong-willed Heathcliff, and thus can exercise almost no claim on Catherine’s mind and heart.
While the reader may pity Edgar and feel that morality may be on his side, it is hard not to sympathize with the charismatic Catherine and Heathcliff in their passionate love. It is impossible to think that Catherine does not really love Edgar with some part of herself. Although she marries him largely because of her desire for his social status, she seems genuinely drawn to his good looks, polished manners, and kind demeanor. But it is also impossible to think that her feelings for Edgar equal her feelings for Heathcliff—compared with her wild, elemental passion for Heathcliff, her love for her husband seems frail and somewhat proper, like Edgar himself.