Essay on Social Hierarchy: a Destructive, Manipulative Device

852 Words 4 Pages
Emily Bronte's erudite novel, Wuthering Heights, is set between the late eighteenth century and the early nineteenth century. This era was a time where the British bureaucracy had been a clean-cut, unprinted mandate on how an individual would live and work in his life. Those who commanded British society were the royal members, followed by the nobility. The nobles had been followed by the gentry, otherwise known as the upper-middle class. Members of the gentry were in possession of servants and rather grandiose estates, however unlike the members of the aristocracy, they held no titles; their status was most vulnerable to alteration. For instance, a man may view himself as a gentleman; he believes this supposition due to his polite …show more content…
The Grange, generally, had been a particularly better place to raise a child. When the author describes one of the rooms at the Grange she speaks of its lavishness and luxurious decor. Such a place implies the stature of its owners; they are wealthy, well-mannered, and respectable people. When Catherine returns to Wuthering Heights, she learns the ways of these decorous, reputable people. She becomes more aware of the importance of social status and how one can use it to her own advantage. Upon the enlightenment of this idea, she does not act the same to Heathcliff. He, being a dirty and poor orphan, is a societal underdog compared to Edgar Linton, a well-furbished individual. Eventually, Catherine ignores her true love Heathcliff and decides to marry Edgar in order to become more dignified: "Nelly, I see now, you think me a selfish wretch, but, did it never strike you that if Heathcliff and I married, we should be beggars?" (Bronte 82). As a result of this marriage, Heathcliff is provoked to seek revenge on the man who stole his love's affection from him, which is the basic premise of the novel.

The Linton family is substantially anchored in its gentry status, but its members still endure great pains to validate this status through their dispositions. At one point in the novel, Isabella, Edgar Linton's beloved sister, is tantalized by Heathcliff and falls in love

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