Heathcliff, the principal character of Wuthering Heights, is forced into a society where his low status results in rejection from the residents of Thrushcross Grange and Catherine Earnshaw. Heathcliff is an orphan from Liverpool who is adopted into a middle-class family by Mr. Earnshaw. Heathcliff is targeted by the residents of Wuthering Heights for his origins. The Lintons, an elite family, torment him for his lack of social status and class, “Mrs. Linton placed her spectacles on her rose in horror, ‘Frightful thing! Put him in the cellar! He’s exactly like the son of the fortune-teller that stole my fame peasant’”. Not only do they immediately judge him and cast him aside, but they also conspire to isolate him from everyone else: “‘He is quite unfit for a decent house!’”. Through this, the Lintons prevent Heathcliff from elevating himself in society and looking desirable in the eyes of Catherine.
Although Catherine and Healthcliss become inseparable during adolescence, “the greatest punishment invented for Catherine was to keep her separate from him”. It is only when she begins spending time with the Lintons that she notices Heathcliff’s lesser origins and feels superior to him. She ignores his feelings and humiliates him by saying, “‘It would degrade me to marry Heathcliff’”. Catherine rejects him and marries Edgar Linton (Edgar), someone who can advance her socially. Heathcliff is tortured by the Lintons and is betrayed by Catherine for his low status. This treatment he endures compels him to elevate his social status.
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