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What Are the Main Conflicts in Wuthering Heights?

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There are several conflicts in the novel. The most prominent is the conflict in love and class. They cause many misunderstandings between the main characters and lead to a dramatic outcome. Apart from these, there are inner conflicts, which entail trouble for the person in question and their beloved ones.

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Throughout the novel, one can trace a variety of internal and external conflicts that affect the characters. Some of these clashes do not impact the main storyline, while others influence how the story unveils.

The most outstanding conflict in the story is class differences. Heathcliff loves Catherine, but their origins are so different that they cannot be together. The poor boy has no family to stand up for him. There is no one to rely on in his struggle against the system. As if that’s not enough, his origin and looks are constantly pointed out to him. For this reason, Heathcliff cannot accept his fate. The conflict reaches its culmination when Catherine marries another guy.

No wonder Heathcliff decides to get revenge. He marries the sister of Catherine’s husband. Meanwhile, Catherine also suffers from an inner struggle. The girl is torn between the one who can give her the social status (Edgar) and the one she loves (Heathcliff).

The central theme of the novel is associated with the two conflicts mentioned above. Catherine and Heathcliff use defense mechanisms to protect their feelings and make their lives bearable. Due to this, the life of Catherine and Edgar is not that happy. The wife becomes cold and alienated. During her marriage, Catherine suffers from an inner struggle. She regrets her decision to leave Heathcliff for Edgar.

Besides the interpersonal conflicts, there is also a clash between the two estates. Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange differ by their looks and surroundings. Thrushcross Grange is a warm and welcoming mansion in a valley. The weather is mild, and sunshine is in abundance there. The windows and the door of this mansion are often kept open as if inviting visitors to come in.

Wuthering Heights is the complete opposite. It is situated on the top of the hill and is often beaten by heavy rain and harsh wind. The windows are narrow, as if unwilling to accept guests or parties.

People living in the two houses seem to have absorbed the atmosphere. Thrushcross Grange owners are more open-minded, welcoming, and cheerful. Those inhabiting Wuthering Heights are introverted, grim, suspicious, and unfriendly.

Be it a character, a place, or a social class – everything in the novel seems to be in a constant struggle. But the class conflict, which prevented the lovers from being together, is the principal evil.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "What Are the Main Conflicts in Wuthering Heights?" June 1, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/q/what-are-the-main-conflicts-in-wuthering-heights/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'What Are the Main Conflicts in Wuthering Heights'. 1 June.

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