Symbolism of Names-Wuthering Heights

Charley Dugher
Flashcards by Charley Dugher, updated more than 1 year ago
Charley Dugher
Created by Charley Dugher over 5 years ago


AS - Level English literature Flashcards on Symbolism of Names-Wuthering Heights, created by Charley Dugher on 29/04/2016.

Resource summary

Question Answer
Linton Linton represents the ultimate in class and sophistication, and the transfer away from this name often shows a decent into the wild, similarly a transfer towards it shows an attempt to take on the associated class. Linton is often associated with weakness and illness.
Heathcliff Heathcliff often represents the wild and savagery. People who have the name Heathcliff are often portrayed as taking on cold and wild traits as well as a capability for cruelty. Heathcliff is also a name more typically associated with strength. Heathcliff was the name of Earnshaw's dead son, which may be why the name seems to hold darkness and bad luck for the people with it.
Earnshaw Earnshaw seems to be the middle ground between these two extremes, with people holding this name often being shown as both wild and with a capability for class. It is also associated with pride in some cases. By the end of the novel it is the only name which is not set to die out.
Isabella Linton -> Heathcliff Isabella is shown to be a representation of sensibility and class, though once she marries Heathcliff and loses the name Linton she takes on more wild traits, culminating in her wild run across the moors to freedom. She names her child Linton in an attempt to recapture the class which she lost along with her name.
Linton Heathcliff Linton does have both names, which likely shows why he is such a mix of the two. While he does inherit many traits from the Linton family, primarily the negative ones such as their weakness to illness, he also gains a cruel streak synonymous with the name Heathcliff.
Catherine Earnshaw ->Linton In marrying Edgar Catherine is attempting to become 'the greatest lady in the neighborhood', though even after she comes into the house Heathcliff's presence brings out the wilder Earnshaw traits in her. This could be interpreted as a reference to the fact that Heathcliff and her are seen to be soul mates and so she can't escape him even when she tries. She also seems to take on the Linton weakness to illness, since despite the fact that she is shown to have been ill as a child, and the fact that she is attacked by a dog, until she marries Edgar she is always able to recover.
Catherine Linton -> Heathcliff Cathy takes on a lot of traits from her father, and so when she is still Catherine Linton she does have a lot of the typical features associated with the name, including her class. This might explain why her fate is so similar to her aunt's. When she is first introduced to the reader she has already become Catherine Heathcliff, and so the darker traits in her have already been revealed. She proves, like other people who take on the Heathcliff name she becomes cold and defensive. She also proves herself capable of cruelty in the way she treats Hareton when she first comes to the house.
Hareton Earnshaw One of the ways which Heathcliff attempts to take revenge is to bring Hareton down like Hindley brought him down. He does this by denying him the right to education which Linton is given. This manifests itself in the fact that he cannot read the name Earnshaw above the door of Wuthering Heights, keeping him ignorant of his status. He does still show the wild Earnshaw traits, however, and actually shows a lot of the pride which can be associated with the name, with Lockwood describing him as haughty when he believes him to be a servant.
Catherine Heathcliff -> Earnshaw At the end of the novel it is revealed that Hareton and Catherine plan to marry. This restore's the balance financially within the story, but also means that Catherine becomes Catherine Earnshaw. By ending with her about to regain her mother's maiden name the story maintains a circularity, but it also means that both the names Heathcliff and Linton will have died out. The extreme traits on both sides appear to be lost and in some ways harmony seems returned by the return to the original Earnshaw name at the heights. This could be linked to the ides of getting rid of the outsiders who had some in to disturb the peace, though it could also be seen as a progress, rather than a return to the way things were before. The couple are planning on moving flowers from Thrushcross Grange to the heights to create a garden, which seems like it could be seen as a symbol for them taking the positive traits of both families.
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