Literature – WH and ATSS – Violence

Hi! This is a long one again and can go on forever. It is very Wuthering Heights heavy since there is a lot more violence despite the fact one is in a war zone, so I’m sorry it is so obviously more about Wuthering Heights. But, please enjoy it as it is, since it does have some value still.


Violence

A Thousand Splendid Suns is defined by war, but that doesn’t mean it has to like it. The novel does not shy from showing you the horrible reality of war and its effect on regular people, but it’s not a hopeless tale. Instead, it’s concerned with how people manage to endure despite the horrors that surround them. War is tough, sure, but people are tougher. The war and subsequent violence comes from religion and political views where are radicalised on the public to have them fight for certain sides and make areas have their own gang wars. Kabul is split into districts with warlords, and it scares people. However, it doesn’t necessarily stop people as, even though the conflict brings poverty, it doesn’t stop Laila’s love for Aziza when she tries to visit her in the orphanage and gets beaten and whipped every day. The violence also brings a lot of weapons to the districts and teaches men, mostly, that violence is allowed and if it happens in the home it is nothing to do with the government. This leads Rasheed, who is already a volatile and nasty character, to be even more brutal and be much more free with the gun he owns. Mammy’s view of war is a fifty-fifty thing. She has a passion for one side of it, the side her sons participate in, and she wants that side to be victorious because it is what her sons wanted. But at the same time, she wants it to end so they can have peace. She cares little for what it does for the rest of her family due to this, as she becomes just as obsessed with war as many of the warlords do.

Just about everyone in Wuthering Heights suffers physical and emotional trauma, and many of them even die from it. Heathcliff avoids physical illness, but his love for Catherine causes an extraordinary amount of suffering. No one really wants to take responsibility for the misery that results from his or her own foolish decisions – including Isabella, who marries Heathcliff knowing he doesn’t love her. No suffering surpasses that of Heathcliff and Catherine, and they blame each other.

When Heathcliff returns to Wuthering Heights after his mysterious three-year period of exile Heathcliff has become someone very cruel. He left an uncouth but essentially humane stable-lad. He returns a gentleman psychopath. His subsequent brutalities are graphically recorded. They are many and very unpleasant. He humiliates Edgar Linton who has married Cathy during his absence. “I wish you joy of the milk-blooded coward,” he tells Cathy in her husband’s presence. The taunt is the more brutal since Edgar is clearly the weaker man and in no position to exact physical reparation. Heathcliff goes on to torment Edgar by hinting that he has cuckolded him (had sex with Catherine after she married Edgar). Subsequently, Heathcliff beats his wife, Isabella, as he has gruesomely promised to do in earlier conversation with Cathy.

Among the many examples of repetition in the plot, the scenes with the two Catherine’s and their respective suitors, Edgar Linton and Linton Heathcliff, reveal that mother and daughter are both feisty and self-indulgent. Catherine boxes Edgar Linton on the ear. When he tries to leave Wuthering Heights, she becomes a master manipulator, shouting, “No… not yet, Edgar Linton – sit down; you shall not leave me in that temper. I should be miserable all night, and I won’t be miserable for you!” Moments later, Edgar proposes marriage and Catherine accepts. Roughly twenty years later, Cathy pushes Linton Heathcliff after a fight about their parents. Though Cathy apologises she also blames him, just like her mother blamed Edgar. She does not want to leave Wuthering Heights carrying the blame for the scene: “Don’t let me go home thinking I’ve done you harm!” Daughter, like mother, cannot control her temper… but doesn’t want to bear any of the responsibility.

Constructed in 1500, this home is clearly designed to be impenetrable. The window in the oak-panelled bed is a critical boundary in the novel, symbolising a space of violation and violence. Even though Catherine’s name is scratched on its surface, the window doesn’t provide entry for her wailing ghost—thanks in large part to Lockwood’s lack of sympathy. The bloodshed from Catherine’s wrist “rubbed […] to and fro” on the pane suggests that there is some serious violence involved in crossing thresholds. Heathcliff’s double is Hareton Earnshaw. Both were placed into a servile position and deprived of an education by the ruthless master of the house. Just how vengeful Heathcliff is shown with Hareton, because rather than feeling compassion that the young man has no sympathetic father-figure, Heathcliff repeats the same crummy treatment on Hareton that he received from Hareton’s father, Hindley.


There you go, another post for literature complete. I hope you enjoyed it and I’m sorry again there isn’t much A Thousand Splendid Suns notes. Please write any scenes of violence below, like and share to help me and others – have a nice day!

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