The Trappings of Social Class in Wuthering Heights

In a society, where social class can make or break a person, Emily Bronte proves through her novel, Wuthering Heights, that no matter how high one is on the social ladder, they will always be miserable- in the end, social class does not matter, for it does not satiate man’s desires. Ultimately, none of the characters are satisfied by their wealth and power- each and every one desires attention and love; whether it comes from an animal or person.

From the very beginning of the book, when the characters are mere children, there is a built-in idea of class- Heathcliff is referred to as “it” or compared to and treated like a dog. However, Edgar and Isabella fight over who gets to love the dog. Neither their estate nor does their giant property please them. They can have anything in the world that they want- yet what they want is a loving relationship with a dog. When choosing whom to marry, Cathy’s choices are Edgar, the rich, good guy and Heathcliff, the outsider- and the love of her life. Her immense love for Heathcliff does not stop her from choosing Edgar in order to pursue a rich life and high social standing:”Edgar Linton will be rich and I shall like to be the greatest woman of the neighborhood whereas if Heathcliff and I married, we should be beggars (81).” She does not however, stop loving Heathcliff- she continues her life miserable while married to Edgar, who owns an entire estate. She shares her last words though, with Heathcliff. It never mattered to her that he was poor or powerless – she loved him. In the end, all of Cathy’s money could not get her what she truly wanted.

Nelly, who is a mere servant, has more power than anyone in the book because 1. She is always there when important discussions are happening 2. She kisses up to the boss to gain their trust and 3. She inserts herself into situations to make herself feel as though she is more powerful than she is, which does, in fact, give her power. It is al…