Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same | What does it mean?
This quote is from Emily Brontë‘s novel Wuthering Heights.
“It would degrade me to marry Heathcliff now, so he shall never know how I love him, and that, not because he’s handsome, Nelly, but because he’s more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same, and [Edgar’s] is as different as a moonbeam from lightning or frost from fire.”
Explanation of dialogues
Catherine’s speech to Nelly in Chapter IX about her acceptance of Edgar’s proposal serves as the plot’s turning point. Heathcliff leaves Wuthering Heights at this point, after overhearing Catherine say that marrying him would “degrade” her. Although the action of Wuthering Heights takes place far from the bustle of society.
Where most of Bront’s contemporaries set their scenes, social ambition motivates many of these characters’ actions, even if they are isolated among the moors. Catherine’s decision to marry Edgar Linton to be “the greatest woman in the neighborhood” exemplifies the influence of social considerations on the characters’ actions.
Readers can see how Catherine and Heathcliff’s relationship frequently transcends the desired dynamic and becomes one of unity through Catherine’s contradictory statement that Heathcliff is “more myself than I am.”
In literature, heterosexual love is frequently described as complementary opposites, such as moonbeam and lightning or frost and fire, but Catherine and Heathcliff’s love defies this convention. Catherine says, “I am Heathcliff,” not “I love Heathcliff.” The novel may ultimately attest to the destructiveness of a love that denies difference by following the relationship through to its painful end.
Biography of Emily Brontë
Emily Bront led an extraordinary and closely guarded life. She was born in 1818, two years after her sister Charlotte and a year and a half before her sister Anne, who were both authors. Her father was a rector, and her aunt, who raised the Bront children after their mother died, was a devout Christian. Emily Bront did not share her aunt’s Christian zeal; the character of Joseph, a caricature of an evangelical, in her most famous novel Wuthering Heights may have been inspired by her aunt’s faith. The Brontes lived in Haworth, a moorland village in Yorkshire. These wild, desolate expanses—later the setting for Wuthering Heights—were the Bronts’ daily environment, and Emily spent her entire life among them. She died of tuberculosis at the age of thirty in 1848.
The Bront children were a highly creative group, as evidenced by their extraordinary literary achievements, writing stories, plays, and poems for their amusement. The children were mostly left to their own devices, made up imaginary worlds to play with. However, the sisters were aware that the outside world would not welcome their creative expression; female authors were frequently treated less seriously than their male counterparts in the nineteenth century. As a result, the Bront sisters decided to publish their adult works under aliases. Charlotte wrote under the pen name Currer Bell, Emily under the pen name Ellis Bell, and Anne under the pen name Acton Bell. Their true identities remained hidden until after Emily and Anne died when Charlotte finally revealed the actual authorship of their novels.
Emily Brontë Quotes
“Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.”
“Proud people breed sad sorrows for themselves.”
“I am now quite cured of seeking pleasure in society, be it country or town. A sensible man ought to find good company in himself.”
“Love is like the wild rose-briar; Friendship like the holly tree. The holly is dark when the rose-briar blooms, but which will bloom most constantly?”
“Any relic of the dead is precious if they were valued living.”
“A good heart will help you to a bonny face, my lad, and a bad one will turn the bonniest into something worse than ugly.”
“Honest people don’t hide their deeds.”
The novel Wuthering Heights
Emily’s earliest known works are set in the fictional world of Gondal, which she co-created with her sister Anne. She wrote both prose and poetry about this fictitious location and its inhabitants.
Emily also wrote several other poems. Her sister Charlotte discovered some of Emily’s poems and attempted to publish them alongside Anne’s. The three sisters used male pen names for their collection—Poems by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell. The book was published in 1846, but it only sold a few copies and received little attention.
Bront republished her seminal work, Wuthering Heights, as Ellis Bell in December 1847. The novel’s complex plot follows the Earnshaws and the Lintons through two generations and their stately homes, Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange.
Heathcliff, an orphan, raised by the Earnshaws, is the driving force behind the novel’s plot. He was motivated first by his love for Catherine Earnshaw and then by a desire for vengeance against her for what he perceived to be rejection.
While love appears to be the novel’s overarching theme, Wuthering Heights is more than a romantic love story. Hatred, vengeance, and social class, an ever-present issue in Victorian literature, are intertwined with Heathcliff and Cathy’s (unsatisfied) passion.
The entire novel Wuthering Heights is a meditation on the nature of love. The most important relationship, of course, is that between Cathy and Heathcliff, which is all-consuming and causes Cathy to fully identify with Heathcliff, to the point where she says, “I am Heathcliff.”
Their love, on the other hand, is anything but simple. They betray one another and themselves to marry someone for whom they have a gentler—but more convenient—love.
Interestingly, Cathy and Heathcliff’s love is never consummated despite its intensity. Even when Heathcliff and Cathy are reunited in the afterlife, they are not at ease. They instead haunt the moorland as ghosts.
The romance that blossoms between young Catherine and Hindley’s son, Hareton, is paler and less intense.
The love that develops between young Catherine and Hindley’s son, Hareton, is a paler and gentler version of Cathy and Heathcliff’s love, and it is headed for a happy ending.
Revenge and Hatred
Heathcliff hates as much as he used to love Cathy, and most of his actions are motivated by a desire for vengeance. Throughout the novel, he resorts to exacting some form of retribution from all those who, in his opinion, have wronged him: Hindley (and his progeny) for mistreating him and the Lintons (Edgar and Isabella) for taking Cathy away from him.
Surprisingly, despite his undying love for Cathy, he is not particularly pleasant to Catherine’s daughter. Instead, he kidnaps her, forces her to marry his sickly son, and generally mistreats her while playing the stereotypical villain.
Wuthering Heights is wholly immersed in the Victorian era’s class issues, which were more than just a matter of affluence. The characters demonstrate that birth, source of income, and family connections all played a role in determining one’s place in society and that people generally accepted that place.
Wuthering Heights depicts a class-based society. The Lintons belonged to the professional middle class, while the Earnshaws were lower. Nelly Dean came from a lower-middle-class family and worked non-manual labor (servants were superior to manual laborers).
Heathcliff, an orphan, used to be at the bottom of society in the Wuthering Heights universe, but when Mr. Earnshaw openly favored him, he defied social conventions.
Class is also the reason Cathy chooses to marry Edgar rather than Heathcliff. Even when Heathcliff returns to the heath as a well-dressed, wealthy, and educated man, he remains an outcast in society. Heathcliff’s attitude toward Hindley’s son, Hareton, is also explained by Class.
He debases Hareton the same way Hindley degraded him, enacting a reverse class-motivated vengeance.
Death and Enduring Legacy
Wuthering Heights elicited mixed reactions from critics at first. It wasn’t until after Bront’s death that the book gained a reputation as a literary masterpiece.
On December 19, 1848, she died of tuberculosis, nearly two months after her brother, Branwell, died of the same disease. Her sister Anne became ill and died the following May from tuberculosis.
Wrap It UP
Bront’s work and life continue to pique people’s interest today. The parsonage where Bront spent much of her life has been turned into a museum. The Bront Society runs the museum and works to preserve and honor the Bront sisters’ work.