Emily Bronte uses language, structure and plays with the context of the novel, Wuthering Heights, to present Catherine as a disturbed character. This is apparent from the beginning of the novel, chapter 3, in which Lockwood hears and feels the presence of Catherine’s ghost. Lockwood exclaims ‘I discerned, obscurely, a child’s face looking through the window’.
This event in itself shows Catherine as disturbed because she is expressed as parallel to a ghost. This gives the connotation that Catherine’s soul has been demented, turned crazy and ultimately disturbed, so much so that she has ended up as a lingering ghoul trapped in Wuthering Heights.
Bronte uses the adjective ‘child(‘s)’ to describe Catherine’s face in order to convey the idea that Catherine is perhaps locked in time (as a ghost) but wishes to return to her childlike self and her very early years. This is because of the imagery of a ghostly ‘child’s’ face and also the connotations that the word has with innocence, naivety and innocuousness. The fact that Catherine is shown as having these characteristics implies that this is how she wishes to be and that ultimately she has been disturbed by her life and love and wishes to return to a time when things were more pure and innocent.
The idea is further strengthened when the ghost of Catherine exclaims, ‘I’ve been a waif for twenty years!’. The phrase ‘ a waif’ means a homeless, lonely and neglected person, especially a child. Bronte uses this to imply that Catherine was neglected as a young girl but the fact that she still appears as a child suggests that she wants to return to and potentially change this event before it disturbed her for the rest of her life. This is a way in which Bronte has presented Catherine as disturbed; she would rather be a young child and live her life again differently than appear as the disturbed character that she truly is.
Finally, Lockwood describes the experience as an ‘intense horror’. The...