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Heathcliff's childhood and teen age

Question:

Using the Case Study discuss about the Bowbly’s Attachment theory and Freudian theory.

In the novel Wuthering Heights, Heathcliff is seen as a protagonist with some grey shades in his character and he is the epitome of a tortured hero in this novel. At first he was seen as a romantic hero as his love affair is seen with Cathy, but it is also a fact that he received immense torture from Cathy’s elder brother (Tang & Liu, 2014). Mr. Earnshaw, Cathy’s father took Heathcliff home one day and he was a child of a gypsy woman. For that reason Heathcliff had to bear inhuman behavior from Hindley, Cathy’s brother. Even Mrs. Earnshaw did not welcome him and was rather disturbed due to his arrival at the Wuthering Heights, their mansion. As a child, Heathcliff was a lonesome one and just like Hindley he was resented by Cathy too, but Cathy was a very good natured girl and soon befriended with him. Mr. Earnshaw always considered Heathcliff as his another son, but soon after his death, Hindley got the inheritance of the property and started treating Heathcliff like a servant. He even made him work in the fields, he was told to spend the nights at the stable (Triastuti, 2015). These are the horrific incidents that he had to go through all his childhood and teen age.

After the marriage, Cathy realized that she loves wild Heathcliff more than the polished well mannered Edgar Linton. Some days later Heathcliff returns to Wuthering Heights with a huge fortune and no one knows how he acquired that kind of money. After returning to Wuthering Heights, Heathcliff was seen as a different man altogether as he came back with wrath and with  desire to lay his vengeance upon the people who tortured him all through his life. Heathcliff initially made good use of Hindley’s alcoholism and gambled with him and made him indebted towards him and ultimately Hindley had to mortgage his property to Heathcliff to get off the loans (Saidah, 2015). Thus, ultimately Heathcliff became the lord of the Wuthering House and misbehaved utterly with Hindley and Hindley’s son Hareton, just to avenge his insults. Later on, to make Cathy jealous, Heathcliff got married with Hindley’s sister and had an ill child. His wife left him and the boy was very dear to Cathy’s daughter Catherine (Yuhong, 2016). Cathy dies and the course of actions started to change rrapidly. After cathy’s death, Heathcliff became much more cruel than ever, he despised everything and he could not stand the people of Thrushcross Grunge. Then one day he found Cathy’s daughter Catherine is in love with his ill sickly son Linton; and he took the opportunity (Varghese, 2015). Sadly, after few days of the marriage Linton dies, and Heathcliff eventually becomes a tormented insane person who is possessed by the thoughts of Cathy (Larsson, 2013). He does not care about the world as his revenge is done all he knows is Cathy and  to reach Cathy there was only one option left for him and that was death. He requested to get buried just beside Cathy’s grave and after his death Heathcliff was buried just beside Cathy’s grave and like this they reconciled after many years of torments.

Heathcliff's transformation after returning to Wuthering Heights

Bowbly’s Attachment Theory:

This theory was proposed by John Bowbly and his belief was that premature relationships with caregivers obliging a key role in the development of child and persist in influencing the social relationships across life (Freund, Nikitin & Ritter, 2009). This theory suggested the fact that children are generally born with an instinctive requirement in forming attachments.


Heathcliff’s entry into the home of Earnshaw was as an unfortunate orphan and was instantly being stigmatized as he was all alone in the world. In the Earnshaw household, baby Heathcliff was mainly referred to as ‘it’. The poor treatment that was meted out to him by his adopted family, especially his brother and sister states that Baby Heathcliff was unable to form any sort of attachment with the Earnshaw family. His childhood was all about starving and being homeless, however adoption did not change much of the situation for him. It became worse, as he became the product of neglect and abuse. Heathcliff was deprived of any sort of care or protection as a child, which led to his negative behavioral and motivational outline. The way Mr. Earnshaw introduces Heathcliff to his adopted family suggested the behavior that could be expected from them for the boy when he said, “as dark almost as if I came from the evil” and is being called ‘gipsy’ by various characters in the novel.

According to the attachment theory, children have a propensity to stay close and associated to their caregiver who in turn offers secure heaven and a sheltered base for investigation (Nagoshi, Brzuzy & Terrell, 2012). That association never happened with Heathcliff, he was more of a beaten-down street adolescent. He was hardened by the ill-treatment offered to him by his adopted family and may be more during his orphan days. Such was the extent of ill-behavior that Heathcliff stood silent to the blows from Hindley without even shedding a tear. Hindley was the one who abused Heathcliff the most throughout his childhood. He was getting used to this, receiving the less reliable care that would in future develop him into an undecided, avoidant or muddled approach. Heathcliff can be stated as the typical victim-turned-perpetrator.

Freudian interpretations can be stated as the most common of the psychological readings (Beaumont & Pratt, 2011). Typical of the readings of Freud of the novel is the interpretation of Linda Gold. She administers in the symbiosis of Catherine, Edgar and Heathcliff the affiliation of Freud’s id, ego and the superego. At the psychological extent, they have merged into one personality with the image of Heathcliff of the three of them covered (the unconscious) in what is fundamentally one coffin. Heathcliff, the id, articulates the most primordial drives (like sex), seeking happiness and avoiding pain. The id is generally not being affected by time and stays in the cataleptic (the origins of Heathcliff are unknown, he is dark, he scampers wild and has been primal as a child along with the mystery surrounding his three year absence). Catherine is being considered as the ego relating to other people along with society, testing the impulses of the id against realism, controlling the id that is energetic until there is rational probability of the urges being fulfilled. Edgar is the superego, symbolizes the rules of appropriate behavior and ethics inculcated by family and society; moreover he is cultured and well civilized. As ethics, he compels Catherine in choosing between himself and Heathcliff. 

Heathcliff's revenge and cruelty towards others

In the analysis of Freud, the ego needs to be male dealing successfully with the world (Ang & Pridmore, 2009).. For survival, a female ego needs to live throughout males. This is performed by Catherine in recognizing egoistically with Edgar and Heathcliff, as per Gold. Heathcliff is being rejected by Catherine on the basis of more realistic evaluation of her future, clearing the social advantages of marrying him, degrading of acquiescent to her unconscious self. She expected Edgar in accepting Heathcliff in their household during her stay at Thrushcross Grange and for raising him from his corrupted state. This resulted in incorporation of her individuality- id, ego and superego- into one incorporated personality.

References

Ang, G. K., &Pridmore, S. (2009). Theory of mind and psychiatry: An introduction. Australasian Psychiatry, 17(2), 117-122. https://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10398560802375982

Beaumont, S. L., & Pratt, M. M (2011). Identity processing styles and psychosocial balance during early and middle adulthood: The role of identity in intimacy and generativity. Journal of Adult Development, 18(4), 172–183. https://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10804-011-9125-z

Crain, W. (2015). Theories of development: Concepts and applications. Psychology Press.

Demetriou, A., Shayer, M., & Efklides, A. (Eds.). (2016). Neo-Piagetian theories of cognitive development: Implications and applications for education. Routledge.

Freund, A. M., Nikitin, J., & Ritter, J. O. (2009). Psychological consequences of longevity: The increasing importance of self-regulation in old age. Human Development, 52(1), 1-37. https://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000189213

Kolb, D. A. (2014). Experiential learning: Experience as the source of learning and development. FT press.

Moon, J. A. (2013). Reflection in learning and professional development: Theory and practice. Routledge.

Nagoshi, J. L., Brzuzy, S., & Terrell, H. K. (2012). Deconstructing the complex perceptions of gender roles, gender identity, and sexual orientation among transgender individuals. Feminism & Psychology, 22(4), 405-422. https://dx.doi.org/ 10.1177/0959353512461929

Overton, W. F. (Ed.). (2013). Reasoning, necessity, and logic: Developmental perspectives. Psychology Press.

Paukovi?, A. (2016). Narrative Figures of Character Disclaming the Victorian Norm: Emily Brontë's Heathcliff and Thomas Hardy's Michael Henchard(Doctoral dissertation, University of Rijeka. Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. Department of English Language and Literature.).

Santrock, J. (2012). LIFESPAN DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY. Psychology.

Shaffer, D. R., & Kipp, K. (2013). Developmental psychology: Childhood and adolescence. Cengage Learning.

Tang, J., & Liu, Y. (2014). The Opposition and Integration between Civilization and Nature?Analysis of Wuthering Heights from the Perspective of Eco-Criticism. Advances in Literary Study, 2(04), 143.
https://doi.org/10.4236/als.2014.24022

Varghese, L. M. (2012). Stylistic Analysis of Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights. IOSR Journal of Humanities and Social Science (JHSS), 2, 46-50.
https://doi.org/10.9790/0837-0254650

Yuhong, B. (2016). Contrast between Pride and Prejudice and Wuthering Heights–Analysis of Marriage Views between Jane Austin and Emily Bronte. In Proceedings of The Fifth Northeast Asia International Symposium on Language, Literature and Translation (p. 427).

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