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Nature Versus Nurture in Wuthering Heights

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by

Meredith Freeby

on 27 October 2014

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Transcript of Nature Versus Nurture in Wuthering Heights

Nature Versus Nurture in Wuthering Heights
In
Wuthering Heights
, Emily Bronte shows through her characters that nature can overcome nurture.
Nature versus Nurture
debate over the contributions of genetic inheritance and environmental factors to human development
ex: when someone becomes very successful
ex: when someone is abusive
Nature versus Nurture
oftentimes the debate turns from an attempt to understand why people behave differently to a political debate about power and justice in society
ex: people who grow up in poorer areas score lower on tests because they are denied the same life chances as people who grow up in wealthier areas
ex: differences in men and women due more to biology or culture
Nature versus Nurture in Wuthering Heights
majority of experts believe behavior and development is influenced by both, the debate is now more focused on the ratio of nature vs nurture
nurture is not always bad
based on environment of Wuthering Heights
Hareton
mistreated at a young age
lives with only Hindley and Joseph at age 5
not good role models
father figure = Heathcliff
"We'll see if one tree won't grow as crooked as another, with the same wind to twist it!" (Brontë, 183)
Hareton
Nurture:
no socialization from father or others
awkward, unsociable
hears swear words, uneducated, never corrected
swears often
does not speak like everyone else
Heathcliff = father figure
loves Heathcliff
doesn't want Cathy to offend him
doesn't free Nelly
only person who cries when Heathcliff dies
"Attached by ties stronger than reason could break - chains forged by habit" (310)
Nature:
If Hareton was always around such hateful people why does he have good in him?
"...a mind owning better qualities than his father ever possessed. Good things lost amid a wilderness of weeds...that might yield luxuriant crops under other more favourable circumstances" (193)
brings Nelly food when Heathcliff kidnaps her
allows Cathy into his heart
thinks someone should look for Lockwood when he walks off into a snowstorm
Hareton
Nature:
Hareton
Cathy
spoiled
generally kind
forced to marry Linton
no one at Wuthering Heights helps her care for Linton
Cathy
spoiled by father
no one helps her when Linton is dying
attention-seeker
becomes cold to help from others
refuses Lockwood's help when she is making tea
"I reject any pretence at kindness you have the hypocrisy to offer!...When I would have given my life for one kind word, even to see one of your faces, you all kept off." (286)
Cathy
Nature:
forgives and apologizes to Hareton, helps him to read
enjoys caring for others
thinks someone should look for Lockwood
Hindley
Heathcliff comes instead of his present
sister and father love Heathcliff more than him
only leaves Wuthering Heights for school
becomes owner of Wuthering Heights
wife dies
Hindley
Heathcliff causes Hindley to lose sister and father
sees destruction Heathcliff causes
death of wife
becomes vengeful
plots to murder Heathcliff
alcoholic
Catherine
friends with Heathcliff from the beginning and Hindley does not treat them fairly
stays with the Linton's a few times
chose to marry Edgar over her love for Heathcliff
Catherine
Nurture
babied by Linton's
abusive and Edgar accepts this
hurt or sick = get what she wants
spoiled and sassy
Hindley acquiesces to her commands
can act this way around him
ends up hitting him
Catherine
Nature
Why would a spoiled, high class person love him?
nature of her heart
Mr. Earnshaw and Hareton like Heathcliff
Heathcliff
adopted gipsy
favorite of Mr. Earnshaw
mistreated by Hindley, neglected by others
separated from Catherine by Edgar and the Linton's
hears Catherine say it would be an embarrassment to marry him
"You killed me--and thriven on it, I think." (157)
Nurture
Heathcliff
favorite of Mr. Earnshaw
gets things from Hindley
Linton's separate him from Catherine
mistreated by Hindley
wants revenge
neglected
lower in class
hears Catherine say it would be degrading to marry him
runs away to attain money
"You said I killed you--haunt me, then!" (165)
Heathcliff
Nature
"The tone in which the words were said revealed a genuine bad nature" (13)
indifferent to pain
can only love one person
Nurture
Nurture
Full transcript