Comparison Of Wuthering Heights And The Inheritance

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 12th grade October 2001

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Have you ever read The Inheritance, by Louisa May Alcott and Wuthering Heights, by Emily Brontë? If you did, then you probably found these two novels very interesting. In this essay, I will attempt to make known the content and the intrigue of the novels mentioned above by comparing and contrasting them.

The Inheritance is the story of an orphan girl named Edith Adelon. She was adopted by Mr. Hamilton to provide companionship for his beloved daughter Amy.

Lord James Percy, a man of high social class, came to spend the summer at the house of the Hamiltons'. He fell in love with Edith, who cared a lot for him, but the differences in their social status prevented them from being together.

A letter from an anonymous man arrived for Edith and it contained the will of Mr.

Hamilton's older brother. In the will, Mr. Hamilton claimed Edith as his daughter and sole heir of the Hamilton fortune.

Edith did not want the letter to be discovered for she did not care about wealth, since all she wanted was to be loved for who she was.

When the Hamiltons' acquired the letter, they embraced Edith as a true member of their family and gave her the fortune that belonged to her.

With Edith's new social standing, Percy mustered up the courage to confess his love for Edith, who reciprocated with pride and pleasure, Wuthering Heights is a passionate love story between Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff. Heathcliff was adopted by Catherine's father and following Mr. Earnshaw's death, Catherine's brother, Hindley, became master of Wuthering Heights. Heathcliff's position in the house was then reduced to that of a servant. Catherine loved Heathcliff, but she would not marry him because of his low position. Instead, she married her wealthy neighbor, Edgar Linton, whom she learned to love. Heathcliff was heartbroken, so he ran away. Three years later, he returned a wealthy-looking gentleman.

After Hindley's death, Heathcliff managed to gain possession of Wuthering Heights and became the father figure of Hindley's son Hareton.

To spite Catherine and gain more power over Edgar, Heathcliff married Edgar's sister Isabella. Catherine has also died and left a daughter, whose name was Catherine as well.

In a plan to inherit Edgar's fortune, Heathcliff forced young Catherine to marry his son Linton, who was ill. Because of his malady, Linton died shortly after his marriage and Edgar's death.

Young Catherine remained at Wuthering Heights. She befriended her cousin Hareton and fell in love with each other.

After Heathcliff's death, Hareton and Catherine regained their heritage.

There are a lot of similar events occurring in Edith and Heathcliff's lives. Both characters were adopted by upper class families. Edith and Heathcliff were both orphans and the identity of their parents was unknown. Edith shows this by saying: "My father I have never known. My mother died long years ago in Italy." (The Inheritance, p.93) In Wuthering Heights, Heathcliff is described as being: " "¦houseless and as good as a dumb in the streets of Liverpool"¦Not a soul knew to whom it belonged"¦" ( Wuthering Heights, p.41) Edith and Heathcliff both end up being wealthy: Edith, inheriting the Hamilton Estate, and Heathcliff winning over Wuthering Heights.

There are resembling conflicts in both novels: two people in love, but not being able to fully enjoy their love due to differences in their social classes. That is the major obstacle in their love. Catherine would not marry Heathcliff because of his inferior social rank and Edith "would not give her hand to one above her in rank and wealth."( The Inheritance,p.177).

Another aspect that Wuthering Heights and The Inheritance have in common is that both authors were seventeen when they wrote the novels and in both cases, it was their first novel. At that age, the authors were sensitive to the subject of love and romance and it is reflected in their novels.

Wuthering Heights has strong and developed characters as opposed to the characters in The Inheritance. The author in the latter novel gives little description of the characters.

There is a large contrast between Catherine Earnshaw and Lord James Percy. Catherine is looking for wealth in a man and will not marry someone of a lower class, while Percy does not care for money; love is all that matters to him. Catherine reveals her feelings about the thought of marrying Heathcliff when she says: " If the wicked man had not brought Heathcliff so low, I shouldn't have thought of it. It would degrade me to marry Heathcliff now."(Wuthering Heights, p.82) Percy is very different from Catherine, as is observe when he says: " I need no richer dowry than the love of such a heart." (The Inheritance, p.177) Other than the characters, the atmosphere of the two novels is quite different as well.

Wuthering Heights is a passionate story; there is a diversity of strong emotions presented to us as witnessed in the heartbreak of Heathcliff. Isabella's escape from Wuthering Heights and the confrontation between Heathcliff and Edgar, which leads to Catherine's death, are just a few examples of the many emotions revealed in this novel. In The Inheritance there are no strong emotions, the story is not as passionate.

In fact The Inheritance is more of a fairytale-like novel unlike Wuthering Heights, which is very dramatic.

Wuthering Heights and The Inheritance are the first novels of the Victorian era which I have read. I enjoyed reading both of them, however I find Wuthering Heights more appealing, simply because the ending is not predictable as it is in The Inheritance.

There are a lot of suspenseful events and it is well refined.

The fact that there is actually two love plots in Wuthering Heights makes it even more fascinating to read and richer in description and content.



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