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Wuthering Heights

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(1847)





This story is narrated by Lockwood, a gentleman visiting the Yorkshire moors where the novel is set, and of Mrs Dean, housekeeper to the Earnshaw family, who had been witness of the interlocked destinies of the original owners of the Heights. In a series of flashbacks and time shifts, Brontë draws a powerful picture of the enigmatic Heathcliff, who is brought to Heights from the streets of Liverpool by Mr Earnshaw. Heathcliff is treated as Earnshaw's own children, Catherine and Hindley. After his death Heathcliff is bullied by Hindley, who loves Catherine, but she marries Edgar Linton. Heathcliff 's destructive force is unleashed, and his first victim is Catherine, who dies giving birth to a girl, another Catherine. Isabella Linton, Edgar's sister, whom he had married, flees to the south. Their son Linton and Catherine are married, but always sickly Linton dies. Hareton, Hindley's son, and the young widow became close. Increasingly isolated and alienated from daily life, Heathcliff experiences visions, and he longs for the death that will reunite him with Catherine.



Unlike most novels, Wuthering Heights' protagonists are anti-heroes; the very antithesis of what a hero is supposed to be. Instead of compassionate and heroic, Heathcliff and Catherine are selfish and petty. Instead of being blissfully in love, Catherine marries someone else and breaks Heathcliff's heart. Too proud to tell each other their true feelings, they fight, storm and rage against each other, destroying themselves in the process. Most people dislike this novel, for its gloomy perspective, tragic outcome and psychological drama. However, Catherine and Heathcliff are perhaps more realistic than most other novel characters claim to be. They not only make mistakes, they cause debacles, completely devastate both people and places and ruin it all by blaming solely themselves. The novel begins when all four, including the narrator and housekeeper, are children. Catherine and Hindley are true blooded siblings, and Heathcliff is sort of "adopted" into their family. The plot unravels, and with it, the characters, blooming into bitterness and pride simply by being dishonest with each other. The entire drama is a destruction of a human soul; how love can save and damn one man. Brontë brings in a whole new perspective on love. It isn't the epic ballad in tales, or the beautiful quiet bloom between spouses; this is rampant, tragic and interbred with other less desirable qualities until it is no longer recognizable until the very end.--Submitted by Leyla Shakew



An orphan brought home by a father to Wuthering Heights - a large rustic home on the moors - becomes a member of the family with complex emotional relationships with the father and his own children, Catherine and Hinton. The orphan, Heathcliff, finds his life totally changed after the father dies and Catherine makes friends with the refined Linton children of neighboring Thrushwood Grange. Entangled loves, marriages, sicknesses, births and deaths continue the dark story.--Submitted by Aloe



One day in the 1770s, widower Mr Earnshaw comes back from town with a new brother for his children: a small, black boy whom he calls Heathcliff. Hindley, the son of the household, is not pleased, but Catherine, his sister, finds a playmate in this harsh boy. However, things will change severely when old Earnshaw dies and Hindley takes over the household with his wife. As Heathcliff is more and more reduced to servitude, Catherine becomes aware that she and Heathcliff will never be able to keep themselves if they marry and she accepts the proposal of an Edgar Linton, the wealthy owner of the nearby Thrushcross Grange. On a stormy night, Heathcliff walks off after hearing Catherine say that it would be a degradation to be married to him. He returns three years later wealthy and longing for revenge. Doing just that, he leaves a trace of disease, dissipation and violence behind him. At the crucial stage, though, everything is compromised and the novel ends with a note of bliss after all the gloom. Wuthering Heights is known for its great setting on the moors that were so important to its writer and for the extremity of Heathcliff as Byronic Hero. Although the work is bleak in places, it does not depress, certainly not if read to the end. A fantastic, un-Victorian and imaginative work that is embedded in English folk-tradition and literature.--Submitted by kiki1982



Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte’s only novel, is a harrowing tale of passion and tragedy with a sunny ending. This gothic book entwines romantic and eerie threads to form the ultimate heart-throbber. The story is told by two characters in the sidelines: Mr. Lockwood, the new tenant of the Grange, and Mrs. Dean, an old servant of the Earnshaw family. It recounts the saga of two star-crossed lovers, Heathcliff-a gypsy boy rescued from the streets of London by Mr. Earnshaw-and Catherine Earnshaw, Mr. Earnshaw’s daughter. Catherine’s older brother Hindley cruelly tyrannizes over Heathcliff after Mr. Earnshaw’s death, treating him worse than a servant. When Catherine becomes a woman and the suitors start calling, Heathcliff, destitute and illiterate due to Hindley’s cruelty, is no match for the rich and handsome Edgar Linton, owner of Thrushcross Grange. Heathcliff mysteriously disappears after overhearing Catherine’s low opinion of him, only to reappear two years later and disturb the married life of his love Catherine, who by now has become Mrs. Linton. The uncanny gypsy then spends the remainder of his unhappy life wreaking vengeance upon the multiple recipients who had hurt him in the past, including Catherine who killed them both by marrying for money. Wuthering Heights is the recounting of this tragic love story, and of happiness redeemed through the next generation.--Submitted by Constance de Montmorency


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Recent Forum Posts on Wuthering Heights

wuthering heights

Hi just registered, like reading the classics am reading Wuthering heights at the moment, never read a book with such a lot of hate in it Heathcliff was not a lover his hate was endemic to every character in the book?

Whom to believe?

The Chinese-box structure (narrator within a narrator) of the novel makes the reader and the writer (or the storyteller) alike in their obliviousness of the many enigmatic aspects of the story of Wuthering Heights. The possibility of supernatural is more occurring than the actual supernatural leaving the listener and speaker in similar bafflement. The ground for my hypothesis lies on my discrediting each narrator in the novel. Let's begin with Ellen Dean! Her willingness to narrate the whole account with such intimate details to a complete stranger is evidence enough of her tendency to indulge in gossip; she was clearly a tittle-tattle! According to her story, she is not the type of person who would exchange such a tÍte-ŗ-tÍte with anyone - let alone a complete stranger. From her account, it is clear that Catherine was a temperamental and selfish women making most of her listeners despise her. I, for one, don't believe in her completely. It's plausible she exaggerated in explaining her foibles and misconducts and albeit she was passionate; she loved both Edgar and Heathcliff, and in her honest endeavours, tried to make do with her situation. Nelly did not like her and wished others to despise her as well. Lockwood, a misanthrope, constantly looks for company at Wuthering Heights, contradicting his own character (according to him). He's barely credible in his own, and after a certain point in the novel starts to recite to us - the account of what Nelly told him. Why become the middleman now? The story, by the time it reaches us, is twice (and each thrice removed). At one point, Isabella is narrating the story to Nelly, who narrates to Lockwood narrating to us. Thus, the story is prone is much prejudice. At no point in the novel does a third voice (a third-person narrator) make an appearance, giving us a clear and impersonal account. Further, the interpretation is scrutinised by the prejudice and disposition of the reader (us) as well. Albeit no counterbalancing narration of the tale is offered to the spectator, the narration offered in the novel is invaluable. It is is more personal, more intense, with every narrator having a story to tell from their perspective and prejudice; they are personally involved and invested in contrivances (also making their story one-sided). Had the whole account been detailed by the one third-person voice, the intimate feelings and the unpredictable foibles of the characters in a particular situation would not have been uncovered. The narration would then be too impersonal to the story thus being incapable of giving a more scandalous and pure account of the story. Every narrator in the story has their own agenda (except, perhaps, Lockwood but maybe so) and told the story from their eyes making themselves seem the "victim", the "good" one out of the two evil. Yet, the story as a whole makes sense. The hidden desires and plans of each - revealed by the narration of each -, and their evident action leading from the desire are in concert i.e conform to each other. Was Heathcliff Mr. Earnshaw's son? Did he actually kill Hindley? Did Catherine's soul attatch itself to Heathcliff's? Where did Linton's soul go? Did he unite with Catherine after death? The precise truth is lost to both the reader and the narrator partly because each has once been the other. The inconclusive end leaves the reader yearning an account to clarify the ambiguity and uncertainty of the work and its myth. I know I am.

Pretty Specific Theory

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WH Tattoo Ideas?

Hey everyone! Wuthering Heights became my favorite book upon first read. It was the first classic that I fell in love with completely, and I think I finished off the whole thing in half a day, haha. This book actually became a very important one to me personally, for a variety of reasons, and it truly means a lot. So, when I decided a while ago that I would like to get my first tattoo, I immediately thought of something WH inspired. I know it's very popular right now to get literary quote tattoos, but I don't really want anything so obvious. So I was hoping you guys could help give me some ideas from the book for a more symbolic tattoo. Right now I was either thinking about getting a tattoo of the tree from the cover of my book (couldn't add link, but it's the Oxford Classics print - anyone know what kind of tree that would be, btw?), or a candle - which comes from one of my favorite scenes in the book where Cathy opens the window at Thrushcross and insists she sees the candle in her window and calls out to Heathcliff. Anything else along those lines you guys can think of? Maybe one of the birds mentioned? Thanks!

Wuthering Heights...?

Hi, So I read Wuthering Heights... What an odd book. First off all, why did Bronte make pretty much every single character not likeable? I mean, even the two central characters, Cathy and Heathcliffe (I mean, I think they were... Not Cathy so much because she was dead for the second part of the book, but anyway...) were disgusting. Heathcliffe - well, I think that that is pretty self-explanatory (abusive, cruel, insensitive, sadistic). Cathy - self-centered, mercurial, superficial. I mean, come on. Can anyone honestly tell me who the protagonist is? And their "love?" Not appealing at all. I mean, maybe their craziness could be compatible, but the bottom line is that Cathy chose Edgar, caring more about superficial societal expectations than her own romantic feelings. Now don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with that. I completely understand that back then, marrying outside your "status" was not really accepted, but the least Cathy could have done was not throw hissy fits after she made her decision, and face the consequences she created (which honestly weren't that bad... she had a nice house and a doting husband - that's not exactly torture). If her love for Heathcliffe was as deep as she expressed it to be, then why would she throw it all away for a superficial whim? She either is intensely in love with Heathcliffe, or isn't - she can't be both. And even all of the other characters - gross, gross, gross. The Lintons: prissy, spoiled (Mr. Linton, I think had a kind heart, but was honestly so flat and weak that I would hardly call him "likeable"). Linton Heathcliffe: made me sick (makes sense though I guess - being the offspring of Heathcliffe and Isabel... gag) Young Cathy Linton: not bad, but lived a pretty much perfect life, so really had no reason to be too horrible. Hindley: a crazy drunk. Can someone explain to me why these characters (namely Heathcliffe, Cathy Sr., and Hindley) turned out so badly as adults? I mean, they grew up in nice households. Did they all just have crazy genes? This now brings me to Hareton. Honestly, I think that he is only semi-likeable character in the entire book - which is a bit of a plot hole. Despite his crazy outbursts (a result of his upbringing), he seems like a kind person, shown through his actions towards young Cathy, and his loyalty to Heathcliffe. What made him like this? He was the son of crazy Hindley, and grew up being abused by Healthcliffe - doesn't seem like a good formula to me. And yet, he ended up "better" than all of the other characters, who I believe had pretty decent upbringings - it just doesn't make sense. Was Hindley's wife (Hareton's mother) simply an extremely kind person? That's the only thing I can think of as an explanation for his random positive traits, which were foreign characteristics within this novel. I know it's not likely because Hindley's wife played such a minor role, but what else could it be? Any thoughts?

Research question / gothic /romaticism

Hello, I'm French and I have recently became really interested in BrŲnte's books, and more specifically Wuthering Heights. I'm very into literature and next school year I have to handle out a sort of big French essay (about 70 pages), with a reserach question, on a book of my choice. I have to give my professor 2 choices: my choice is to work both on Wuthering Heights and Pride and Prejudice. As for Wuthering Heights, I've read it and like it very much but I am not really able to find a research question (that I will answer quoting and analyzing the text) that would be interesting enough for this work. I've noticed that the book contains many characteristics of Romanticism, but a question like " To what extend do Wuthering Heights belongs to Romanticism" would be too vast and not really relevant. I also love stylistics and narratology so I thought about working on the different level of languages, but my professor refused... Besides, he does not want me to work on the era, even if he agrees with me working on the literature movement. Do you have any ideas? Maybe there's something more interesting in the book to study I did not noticed...? Best regards and thank you in advance for your answers! P.D.: Sorry for my English and all the mistakes I may have made (like the "n" missing in "romanticism" in the title).

Books in Wuthering Heights

Books play an important role in Wuthering Heights. Edgar Linton spends much of his time in his library. Mrs Dean has educated herself and thus made herself comprehensible to us by reading all the books in the Thrushcross Grange library, except the foreign language ones. Young Cathy Linton enjoys reading, although her mother not so much so. One of the young grooms risks his job in return for books. Joseph only reads the bible but it is very important to him. Lastly, Hareton attempts to educate himself by reading books, but throws them on the fire when he is scorned by Cathy. I have wondered about the value of books back then. Books were comparatively expensive while most people were comparatively poor. On the other hand, there were not as many sources of information or amusement. When reading introductions of classic literature, you often read something like: the first edition of 3000 copies sold out within a month, and a second publishing run of 5000 copies was... Those sorts of sales figures do not seem very high for a population of 20 million. I suppose that would be explained by their high cost. I read in the introduction to A Christmas Carol that the first edition sold for five shillings. The first edition sold out but still made a loss due to the high cost of production, due to it containing colour pictures I think. Five shillings seems to have been about a quarter of an average weekly wage, so quite a lot of money for a small book. I get the impression many books were sold in three volume formats, so that must have been expensive. I suspect Great Expectation's Pip and Edgar Linton's collections of books represented a large part of their expenditure. Luckily for Pip, I suspect their resale value was high. When Hareton threw his books on the fire, he was burning a fortune.

Artefacts

Hindley's knife-gun described by Isabella must have been something like this :eek2: http://images.ookaboo.com/photo/m/Coach_Gun_gm002_m.jpg I noticed in another chapter that Cathy Linton had a watch. That must have been very expensive in 1800.

Linton and Cathy's wedding

How did Heathcliff manage to force his son's wedding to Cathy? If I understand correctly, wedding banns would normally need to be read out in Cathy's church for three weeks before the wedding could take place. If anyone objected, the wedding could not take place. In Tess of the d'Urbervilles and Jane Eyre, the bridegroom avoided this process by applying for a marriage licence, but Linton Heathcliff is under the age of majority, so could he have done this? Surely it would have been highly unusual for a sixteen or seventeen-year-old woman to undergo a wedding without her parents' consent, especially when Cathy's father was a magistrate, and wealthy and well known member of the local establishment. In addition, the priest would surely ask Cathy whether she was marrying Linton of her own free will. Also, did Linton and Cathy ever consummate their marriage? Linton was so ill at the time, he may not have been up to it. If they never consummated the marriage then it could have been annulled, and neither Linton nor his father would get their hands on her property. This seems a real weak point in the plot.

Mortality rate in Wuthering Heights

If there's one thing I got from reading Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, it was the appalling mortality rate back then. I suppose the BrontŽs may have been more sickly than average, but the death rate of natural causes in those books must have been plausible at the time. iirc, the ages and causes of death were as follows: Name................Age......Cause of death Mrs Earnshaw......40-55....n/k Mr Earnshaw.......40-55....n/k Mrs Linton...........40-55....fever Mr Linton............40-55....fever Frances..............20........consumption Catherine............21........childbirth after she had weakened herself with cold, hunger and self-neglect Hindley...............30?.......died of injuries resulting from a fight, or murder Issabella.............36........not stated, probably consumption Linton Heathcliff..16/17....consumption Heathcliff...........38.........starvation and exposure I was puzzled by the fever that carried off Mr and Mrs Linton. Catherine caught a fever after she had stayed out all night in the rain after Heathcliff ran away. The Lintons insisted Catherine convalesce with them, but sadly caught her fever and died. What sort of fever could that be? It was obviously infectious, but Catherine only developed it after she'd stayed out all night in the bad weather.

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