1996. The British novelist Fay Weldon offers this observation about happy endings. “The writers, I do believe, who get the best and most lasting response from their readers are the writers who offer a happy ending through moral development. By a happy ending, I do not mean mere fortunate events – a marriage or a last minute rescue from death – but some kind of spiritual reassessment or moral reconciliation, even with the self, even at death.” Choose a novel or play that has the kind of ending Weldon describes. In a well-written essay, identify the “spiritual reassessment or moral reconciliation” evident in the ending and explain its significance in the work as a whole.
Wuthering Heights depicts the story of a vengeful man who exists solely to make those closest to him suffer. Heathcliff, a dark and evil character, is stripped of his other half, his true love, Catherine, at the young age of ...view middle of the document...
He was brought into the Earnshaw family as an orphan who had nothing, and so grew up with Catherine playing in the Moors together. Then, at age 12, they were separated and were not allowed to play together again. Heathcliff seemed as a normal boy until this moment, which was the first spark of his devilish ways. Catherine was married to a quiet, mild Edgar Linton, whom she married for wealth and status. Heathcliff never forgave Edgar for marrying her or Catherine for choosing Edgar over himself. At Catherine’s death, Heathcliff begs her spirit haunt him on earth so that he can still be with her. He blames Catherine’s death on herself, but cannot forget the actions of Edgar who betrayed him.
After the event of Catherine’s death, Heathcliff sets out to exact revenge on all those, and their children, who prohibited him from being with his one true love. He marries Isabella, Edgar’s brother, and hates her because she is a Linton. He treats her with no respect, and the first action he takes after marrying her is killing her dog. Heathcliff and Isabella have a son, Linton, who Heathcliff breeds to be a weak and spoiled man. In addition, he writes letters to second-generation Catherine acting as Linton to make her fall in love with his son. Later in the novel, Heathcliff digs up Catherine’s grave and lays next to her body because he cannot be calm without her. After being questioned by Nelly, he says that he has done nothing wrong and that he only caused himself peace. Catherine’s death brought emptiness upon Heathcliff that he filled with hatred and malice toward everyone around him.
At the end of the novel, Linton and Cathy have a relationship which reminds Heathcliff of his and Catherine’s. He begins to accept what has happened, and eventually stops eating. Heathcliff seems different in nature to all of the characters at the end of the novel, who describe a cheery or glistening face on a man who once was nothing but grief and spite. Heathcliff’s happy ending is that he finally realizes that his eternal love for Catherine is more powerful than any retribution he could impose on a human.