Alienation causes the characters in Wuthering Heights to make choices that are not always in their best interest. Examples of this behaviour are made by Hindley and Isabella; Hareton, Linton and Cathy; and Heathcliff, Edgar and Catherine. Loneliness and alienation make Isabella and Hindley desperate people, and perhaps their alienation could have been avoided. Cathy, Linton and Hareton all experience alienation from each other, but the most alienation is caused by Heathcliff. Lastly, Catherine, Heathcliff and Edgar are alienated the most in the novel, Wuthering Heights. It can be said that this alienation is what causes their deaths, and all of their sorrows. Alienation makes a character desperate, and desperation can cause one to make decisions that they regret.
Bad decisions are made by Hindley and Isabella because of alienation in the novel Wuthering Heights. Hindley first feels alienation as a young boy, when his father, Mr. Earnshaw returns from Liverpool with a dark haired boy, a gipsy brat. Hindley dislikes Heathcliff, the orphan immediately, but his hatred for him grows as he quickly becomes Mr. Earnshaws favourite. The young master [Hindley] had learnt to regard Heathcliff as a usurper of his fathers affections and privileges. Hindley hates Heathcliff because his father loves an orphan more than he loves his own son. As a result of this, Hindley felt alienated from his father. Later, Hindley feels more alienation after his wife, Frances dies after childbirth. His wife was the only friend Hindley had in the world, and with her gone, he has no one. This alienation turned into desperation: For himself [Hindley], he grew desperate: his sorrow was of that kind that will not lament. The result of this alienation is Hindleys decision to drink himself to death.
Isabella feels alienation when Heathcliff comes back. She feels alienated because she thinks that Catherine does not want her to spend time with Heathcliff, and Isabella is convinced that she loves Heathcliff. This led to Isabella running off with Heathcliff, which is the cause of the rest of her alienation. Edgar says she is no longer his sister: Trouble me no more about her. Hereafter she is only my sister in name, not because I disown her, but because she has disowned me. This means that Isabella can no longer come back to Thrushcross Grange and expect a warm welcome. Edgar has cut off all ties to her, and when Nelly tells him that Isabella wishes to have something of his, he refuses to give Isabella what she wants, even though he knows that she is miserable at Wuthering Heights. Isabella wants to go home soon after she is married to Heathcliff: Youd hardly credit it, but the very morrow of our wedding, she was weeping to go home [Said Heathcliff]. Isabella feels alienated after Heathcliff shows her his true nature, and she wants to go back to the Grange, but because of her actions, she is not able to. Eventually she is able to run away, but she is still alienated because she does not have any contact with Edgar until she tells him that she is dying. All of her alienation stems from Heathcliff, and any decision she made for or about Heathcliff.
Hareton, Linton and Cathy are all alienated in the story. Before Linton and Catherine are even born, Hareton feels alienation. Because of Hindleys decision to drink after Frances dies, Hareton does not have a loving father to look after him. As a child he is subject to abuse. Poor Hareton was squalling and kicking in his fathers arms with his might, and redoubled his yells when he carried him upstairs and lifted him over the banister. In his drunken state, Hindley is unable to control his actions, and cannot care for a small child such as Hareton. This leaves Nelly to care for Hareton, but she is soon forced to leave by Hareton. I kissed Hareton goodbye... he has completely forgotten about Ellen Dean, and that he was ever more than the world to her, and she to him! Now that the only adult that cared for Hareton has gone, he is even more alone and alienated. He grows up in ignorance, and after Heathcliff comes back and Hindley dies, Heathcliff makes sure that Hareton seems like no more than a servant in his house. In that manner Hareton... was reduced to a state of complete dependence on his fathers inveterate enemy, and live in his own house as a servant. Later, when Linton comes to live with Heathcliff, Linton makes an effort to make Hareton feel like a fool, especially in front of Cathy. Theres nothing the matter, but laziness, is there, Earnshaw? he [Linton] said. My cousin fancies you are an idiot. There you experience the consequence of scorning booklarning, as you say. Have you noticed, Catherine, his frightful Yorkshire pronunciation? Hareton is ashamed that he cannot read after Linton points this out, and in an effort to impress Cathy, he shows her that he can read some words. He spelt, and drawled over by syllables, the name-Hareton Earnshaw. And the figures? I [Catherine] cried I cannot tell them yet, he [Hareton] answered. Oh, you dunce! I said, laughing heartily at his failure. Hareton is even more embarrassed when Cathy, who he adores, laughs at him because of his ignorance. He feels alienated because no matter what he does to try to impress her, it always seems to fail.
Linton also feels his share of alienation because of Heathcliff. Heathcliff does not love him as a father should, but instead only uses Linton for his own gain. Linton first feels alienation when he is left at Wuthering Heights as a young boy. He does not want Nelly to leave him there, but she has no choice but to leave him. Dont leave me! Ill not stay here! Ill not stay here! He wants to go back to Thrushcross Grange where his Uncle, Edgar is. Isabella never told him about his father, Heathcliff, and at a young age Linton can see that Wuthering Heights is not a good place to be. Linton is abused at Wuthering Heights so he does what Heathcliff wishes him to do. But my father threatened me, gasped the boy [Linton], clasping his attenuated fingers, and I dread him-I dread him! I dare not tell! Linton feels alienated at Wuthering Heights because he has no one to care for him, except for Cathy.
Heathcliff, Edgar and Catherine are the characters that are alienated the most. First, Heathcliff is alienated by Catherine, when she goes stays at Thrushcross Grange and comes back a different person. I did not mean to laugh at you, She [Catherine] said. I could not hinder myself. You neednt have touched me! he answered, following her eye and snatching away his hand. I shall be as dirty as I please: and I like to be dirty, and I will be dirty. Heathcliff feels as though he does not know her anymore, and is alienated because she is his only friend, and does not like to share her with Edgar. Later, Catherine says hurtful things to Heathcliff when he tells her he does not want her to be with Edgar. And should I always be sitting with you? She [Catherine] demanded, growing more irritated. What good do I get? What do you talk about? You might be dumb, or a baby, for anything you say to amuse me, or for anything you do, either! Catherine alienates him by saying that she enjoys Edgars company more than Heathcliffs. This hurts Heathcliff, and because his only friend says that she does not like to be with him, it makes him feel as though he has no friends any more. As the story continues, and Catherine dies, Heathcliff is more alone and alienated than ever. I cannot live without my life! I cannot live without my soul! [said Heathcliff]. Now that Catherine really is gone, Heathcliff has lost all hope in life, and the only thing he believes in is revenge. He is alienated because he truly has no one. All he ever wanted was to be with Catherine, but now that can never be.
Edgar is another character that is affected by alienation in the novel Wuthering Heights. He is alienated by Catherine when she is ecstatic when Heathcliff returns and visits them at the Grange. Oh, Edgar, Edgar! She [Catherine] panted, flinging her arms around his neck. Oh, Edgar, darling! Heathcliffs come back-he is! Well, well, cried her husband crossly, dont strangle me for that! He never struck me as such a marvelous treasure. There is no need to be frantic!. Edgar is confused to why Catherine is so happy to see Heathcliff again because he does not realize how close Heathcliff and Catherine really were. Edgar is alienated again when Catherine dies. Edgar Linton had his head laid on the pillow, and his eyes shut. His young and fair features were almost as deathlike as those of the form beside him, and almost as fixed-but his was the hush of exhausted anguish, and hers of perfect peace. Edgar feels alienation at this point in time because the person he gave all his love to has died. He feels as though he is losing everyone and everything he loves to Heathcliff.
Catherine feels alienated throughout the novel. She feels alienated by both Edgar and Heathcliff, particularly when they are fighting. I have been so far forbearing with you, sir he [Edgar] said quietly; not that I was ignorant of your miserable, degraded character, but I felt you were only partly responsible for that; and Catherine wishing to keep up your acquaintance, I acquiesced-foolishly. Catherine becomes extremely upset when Edgar finally tells Heathcliff to leave because she loves them both. She thought that she could control how they feel about each other, and if they loved her they would learn to like each other, but instead she was surprised to find a strong hatred between them. Your presence is a moral poison that would contaminate the most virtuous. Catherine becomes even more alienated because she cannot stop Edgar and Heathcliff fighting. It upsets her very much because the two people she loves hate each other and there is nothing she can do about it. She knows that she will never be happy without Heathcliff or Edgar.
Alienation can be felt by all the characters in Wuthering Heights. It makes them desperate, sad, and for Heathcliff, it can give pleasure to cause another to feel alienated. Hindley and Isabella; Hareton, Linton and Cathy; and especially Heathcliff, Edgar and Catherine all have been affected by alienation to different degrees. It changed them, and instead of doing the right thing, it caused them to make a desperate choice. Alienation is a feeling of despair, and one can learn from this book, and what alienation can do.