Explain what is happening in the passage of pages 120-128 of Wuthering Heights

It is this passage that Cathy realizes that she has made the wrong decision. She shouldn’t have married Edgar she should be with Heathcliff. This realization is first saw when she saw her reflection in the mirror. ‘Is that Catherine Linton? ‘ Cathy asks this question because she saw someone that she does not recognize. She used to be a healthy, strong, wild girl and in her reflection she sees a pale, weak and unhappy woman. By seeing her reflection the reader can almost imagine what she is thinking.
It seems as if she sees in the mirror her surroundings and realizes that it is her decision that puts her in this position. She chooses to marry Edgar and as a result denies her love for Heathcliff. From a feminist point of view it is a sign of Cathy’s empowerment that she has finally realized that she shouldn’t have married Edgar for his high social status, instead she should have married Heahcliff to satisfy her own feelings of immense love. It also touches on the fact that in this time period, once Cathy realizes she has made a mistake there is no way out of it, she has no means of escape, she is trapped.
Cathy chose this path and as a result entered in to a world of distress and regret. From a moral point of view this passage also emits a strong message. Money and high status is not what makes you happy. You should choose to marry for love else you will end up regretting every minute. Also in this extract Nelly plays a very important role. She is highly unsympathetic to Cathy and she continually makes the assumption that Cathy has invented her illness.

From a critics point of view it can be assumed that women during this time period used their frailty as strength to achieve what they want and make it so that they are in control. When Cathy asks Nelly why Edgar has not been to see her Nelly replies ‘the master has no idea of you being deranged, and, of course he does not fear that you will let yourself die of hunger’ This is highly unsympathetic of Nelly and also very devious as Nelly has said nothing of Cathy’s discomfort and ill health to Edgar, who would surely be worried if he knew.
Cathy has further realization in this passage She previously thought that even though people around her hated each other they all still loved her ‘though everybody hated and despised each other, they could not avoid loving me’ Although this gives a very self centered nai??ve view of Cathy to the reader, it is true. What ever actions she pursued even if they hurt people they still can’t help loving her. For example both Edgar and Heathcliff. She abandoned Heathcliff by marrying Edgar and by doing this ruined both of their lives however Heathcliff still endures undeniable love for her.
Also Edgar is aware of Cathy’s feelings for Heathcliff yet he still tends to her while she is sick and mourns for her greatly when she dies. This shows Cathy’s great power in having control over men so much that they love her whatever she does to them. From a feminist point of view they would greatly reward Cathy for this. Also in this paragraph a complete turn around of Cathy’s personality is shown. She is previously such a strong minded, self-confident character however it seem as though she has transformed in to a women with immense paranoia and depression.
Not only has she realized that she wants to be with Heathcliff therefore feels regret and sorrow, but the man that she does have to stay with, the man she married, to her, does not care of her mental and physical state because he has not been to see her. She believes that Edgar will be happy to see her gone so that it ‘restores peace to his house’ however this is not true. Edgar simply does not know of Cathy’s state and this is all down to Nelly. Nelly has not informed Edgar as she believed that Cathy had invented her illness.
I do not think that Nelly knows that in doing this she is actually making Catherine’s illness worse as it is continually making her more distressed. ‘Tossing about she increased her feverish bewilderment’ this paints a visual picture in to the readers head of the true state that Cathy is in. It is as though with time her mental state is quickly turning in to madness that she can’t escape. Just like she can not escape her marriage. After this action Nelly realizes what the doctor said during her former illness. She should not be crossed; I think it is at this point that Nelly realizes the true seriousness of Cathy’s case. Cathy continues to act with madness. Nelly describes her as ‘violent’ which is the precise word judging from her following actions. ‘Pulling the feathers from the rents’ Cathy then sorts the feathers according to different species. ‘That a turkeys, and this is a wild ducks and this is a pigeon’s’ This reference to birds transfers the readers mind to the past when she was out on the moors with Heathcliff, open and free. The sense of entrapment enters the readers head again.
The imprisonment of the Grange can not be compared to the open free moors. ‘Open the window again wide’ I believe Cathy wants the window open because she feels this imprisonment and feels like only the wind from the moors can release her. When she opens it ‘the frosty air cut about her shoulders as keen as a knife’ A very strong simile is used here because while Cathy feels as though the moors gives her a sense of freedom, this simile enters the feeling of death in to the readers mind by the word ‘knife’ It is as if the moors knows that Cathy and Heathcliff can only be together once they are both dead.
While looking out of the window Cathy claims that she sees Wuthering Heights ‘that’s my room with the candle in it’ the reference to the candle being lit is almost a resemblance of Cathy’s life. It is though the candle still burns even when she has left Wuthering Heights but will soon die out when she dies herself. Cathy is the first one to make the promise that she will not rest until she is with Heathcliff. ‘I will not rest until you are with me…
I never will’ so even when later in the book Heathcliff curses Cathy when she has died so that she will not rest peacefully, the reader knows that she does not want to rest without Heathcliff. When Edgar sees what is going on in Cathy’s room he is extremely angry at Nelly for not informing him. His ignorance of Cathy’s illness is shown ‘Catherine is ill? ‘ By Nelly not telling Edgar she has unknowingly ruined everything between them. Edgar has come too late because Cathy by this time has realized of her mistake. She gave him no glance of recognition’ when he took her in to his arms. By this time she is in a different world, she no longer wants to be in this world of the Grange she wants freedom. It seems as if she has true hatred for Edgar. She acts as if it is his fault that Heathcliff and she are together when in fact it is her own fault. ‘You are one of those things that are ever found when least wanted and when you are wanted never! ‘ This shows she is mad that he has not come earlier when in fact it is all Nelly’s fault for not making him aware.
Catherine talks to him of death and where she wants her grave. This already shows that she has given up. It is as if she has no reason to live because she can’t be happy without Heathcliff. ‘My resting place where I bound before spring is over’ ‘in the open air with as head stone’ this shows her link again with the moors. She wants to be buried there because it is where she feels safe; free and where she experienced the happiest times of her life.

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