Bronte’s Demonstration of Nature vs. Nurture in Society
“The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed.” – Carl Jung
Emily Bronte successfully conveys the two most common sides of humanity, nature vs. nurture, in her novel Wuthering Heights. Throughout the novel, Bronte demonstrates the role of parental figures, along with environment during childhood, and how they enable the solidification of these human tendencies within the child.
Wuthering Heights is a run-down, isolated building located in Yorkshire, inhabited by the Earnshaw family. Mr. and Mrs. Earnshaw have two biological children, by the names of Hindley and Catherine, along with an adopted boy, Heathcliff, Mr. Earnshaw brings home after a visit to Liverpool. Tension plagues the family as Mr. Earnshaw dotes on Heathcliff’s every action. Hindley and Catherine are ignored and abused with words of hate and receive occasional beatings dealt by hand of their father. The children however, demonstrate two different responses to the actions bestowed upon them. Hindley acts out in fits of rage towards Heathcliff with beatings and constantly demeaning him to that of a servant status. Catherine, on the other hand, delightfully befriends young Heathcliff; they spend most of their time frolicking through the Moores and causing chaos.
“My love for Linton is like the foliage in the woods: time will change it, I’m well aware, as winter changes the trees. My love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath: a source of little visible delight, but necessary. Nelly, I am Heathcliff! He’s always, always in my mind: not as a pleasure, any more than I am always a pleasure to myself, but as my own being (Bronte 82).”
Parental isolation and abuse can greatly damage a child, even more so if the child experiences such actions from a young age. This can cause the child to become cold, shallow, and very self-serving when it comes to making...