Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

A stormy landscape similar to the one in Wuthering Heights

Wuthering Heights is a classic English literature novel by Emily Brontë, published in 1847. It is a masterpiece for its unicity. The book is about the story of Heathcliff, an orphan raised by the Earnshaw family at their home named Wuthering Heights. Heathcliff falls in love with Catherine Earnshaw, but differences in social class and other obstacles complicate their relationship, which will constantly be tormented.

Wuthering Heights Hallmarks

The novel Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë portrays Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff’s passionate and destructive love. The novel is set in the wild and isolated West Yorkshire’s moorlands, in northern England, between the late 18th and early 19th centuries. It is a story of insane love, envy, revenge, and madness that shows the lives of a group of characters who must battle against the forces of nature and their emotions to find their place in the world. The novel is often regarded as one of the greatest works of English literature and an absolute masterpiece.

Initially, Mr Lockwood is the story’s narrator, the new tenant at Thrushcross Grange. Afterwards, the novel’s primary narrator is Nelly, Ellen Dean, a housemaid who works for the estate of Wuthering Heights. She narrates what she lived in first person through the interactions with the Earnshaw and Linton families, particularly Heathcliff, a mysterious and cruel man obsessed with Catherine Earnshaw, his childhood friend and love. The novel is known for its Gothic elements, complex characters, and unconventional narrative structure.

The Love Between Catherine and Heathcliff

The two main characters are Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff, and they live a passionate and destructive love relationship. One of the central thematics of Wuthering Heights is the destructive power of obsession in the intense and turbulent relationship between the impulsive and reckless Catherine Earnshaw and the mysterious and ruthless Heathcliff. The novel portrays the insane and supernatural love between Catherine and Heathcliff, ultimately leading to their spiritual and physical destruction. Catherine’s love for Heathcliff consumes and overpowers her, and she cannot imagine a life without him. Similarly, Heathcliff’s love for Catherine is so intense that he does everything possible to be with her, even if it means destroying the lives of those around him. The novel shows how obsession can lead to destructive behaviour and ultimately destroy the lives of those involved.

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

The story of Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë also shows how differences between social classes can create individual divisions and conflicts. Ultimately, the book explores the destructive power of revenge and how it can consume a person and lead them to violent conduct. Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights is a timeless classic and captivating book with powerful themes and unforgettable characters. When it comes to enduring works of literature, few literary works can rival the magnetic appeal of Wuthering Heights.

Written entirely by Emily Brontë, this 19th-century novel may have been overshadowed by her sister Charlotte’s Jane Eyre, but it remains a timeless classic. This book speaks to readers in a language of evocative beauty and haunting mystery. At the heart of Wuthering Heights lies a love story that transcends the boundaries of reality, time, class, society, and expectations. Hence, to consider the novel as just a romance is to miss out on the full force of its depth and complexity. Indeed, in Wuthering Heights, symbolism, supernatural, complex portrayals, and a vivid evocation of the wild and stormy Yorkshire landscape mark Brontë’s writing.

Themes in Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë is a multi-layered and intricate novel that explores themes such as passionate love, vengeance, social class, and the destructive power of obsession. Mr Lockwood becomes intrigued by the history of the Earnshaw family and their neighbours at Wuthering Heights. Through his interactions with the characters and observations, he discovers the tragic and tumultuous events that have shaped their lives. Ultimately, “Wuthering Heights” is a haunting and complex tale of love and loss that has captivated readers for generations. Another critical theme in Wuthering Heights is social class. The novel is set when social class was relevant in determining one’s societal place.

The characters in the book are divided into two social categories: the wealthy and privileged Lintons and the working-class Earnshaws. Heathcliff, an orphan, is brought into the Earnshaw family and treated as an outsider because of his lower social status and unfamiliar background. The novel shows how social class can create divisions and conflict between individuals.

Revenge is also a significant theme in Wuthering Heights. Throughout the novel, Heathcliff desires revenge against those who mistreated him. He seeks revenge against Hindley Earnshaw, who mistreated him as a child, and Edgar Linton, who married Catherine, the love of Heathcliff’s life. The novel shows how vengeance can consume a person and lead to destructive behaviour.

Wuthering Heights Residency

Wuthering Heights is Heathcliff’s dwelling, describing the tumultuous atmosphere its station is exposed to in stormy weather. It is a solid house with narrow windows deep in the wall and corners defended with large jutting stones. Moreover, several grotesque figures are carved on the front, especially the main door, such as crumbling gryphons, boys, the date 1500 and the name of Hareton Earnshaw.

Wuthering Heights as Astonishing Work

It is undeniable that Emily Brontë was a genius and Wuthering Heights an excellent work. Indeed, the book is a Gothic novel and a Victorian Bildungsroman because it displays the main characters’ moral, psychological, spiritual, and social evolution from childhood to maturity. Wuthering Heights is a blend of romance and realism. Moreover, it is closer to the nineteen-century literary works by American authors such as Bird, Cooper, Hawthorne, Melville, and Poe. The novel is affected by extremes and contradictions. The book has many social themes, such as brutal patriarchy, women’s submission, realism, supernatural, terrifying, wild, beautiful and peaceful nature.

Contrasts in Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

Wuthering Heights is a book constructed on contrasts and extremes. In both the residences of Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange, there are conflicting features such as darkness and light, animality and humanity, hate and love, death and life, and eccentricity and normality. Wuthering Heights is not a historical novel, and it is not the typical Gothic novel. Indeed, unlike other Gothic stories, this novel takes place in the English countryside and not in a remote, imaginary or out-of-space location. The storms in nature correspond to the passions in human relationships. The tempestuous relationship between Heathcliff and Catherine is destructive for both sides and those surrounding them.

The Storytelling Process

The main storyteller of the novel is Nelly Dean, a housekeeper working in Wuthering Heights. Nelly is not passive in the narration but is a central character in the events she describes. She belongs to the ordinary world, contrasting with the romantic and supernatural world in the story. She is wise in her narrow vision and has a stable temper that allows her to give the reader a “normal” sight of the events. Nelly keeps the status of male authority and owns a self-taught literary culture. Still, she does not understand the supernatural and insane world in which Catherine and Heathcliff live, including their tragic relationship. Unlike Nelly, Lockwood is passive and a minor narrator, being new in the acquaintance with the people involved in the events. Nevertheless, among the story’s main characters, Lockwood is the only one besides Heathcliff to see the ghost of Catherine.

Catherine and Heathcliff

Catherine and Heathcliff grow up together, not in a typical family with lovely parents. Especially Heathcliff is a victim of an abusive education, growing up without ethical constraints and in a harsh patriarchal environment. Since their childhood, they escape to nature to find themselves alone together and be part of its rough and wild essence. They never lose their animal instincts as soon as they reach adulthood, when their traits become sharper and untamed. Catherine never stops loving Heathcliff, and their connection is a need for both of them to be alive. The devilish character of Heathcliff pushes him to oppress and be cruel to others, especially women. He represents a violent man in a stable patriarchal society. However, the women in this book show that their strength and fortitude are more fierce than men.

Reading as a Form of Education

In Wuthering Heights, reading represents a form of education, a vital force in the novel. Education under the form of reading is emphasised and distinguishes the novel’s different characters. Moreover, education is considered a condition of virtue. Catherine writes in the biblical texts a secret diary that Lockwood discovers in her chamber during a stormy night in the Wuthering Heights estate. Furthermore, at the beginning of the book, there is a supernatural connection between the ghost of Catherine and Lockwood, who dramatically shows his unknown violent nature against her ghost. He panics about the unknown paranormal forces and transforms his fear into a brutal force. Edgar Linton finds peace in his library, whilst Heathcliff and Hareton ignore reading, remaining ignorant. In the end, Cathy, Edgar’s daughter, is Hareton’s teacher, and this couple represents a form of social improvement fighting against ignorance and degradation through a laborious work of self-improvement. Cathy and Hareton symbolise progress and etiquette in the Early Victorian Era in England. Meanwhile, Heathcliff represents a hostile and brutal force that manifests in violence and damage. He is never interested in culture and self-improvement but drowns in his blind and insane animality without achieving any progress.  

A Positive Ending

Although Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë is a tragic fiction novel, the ending is bright and hopeful. The book’s conclusion includes marriage and the reconciliation between the estates of Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange. The future is full of radiant expectancies where education, culture, love, compassion and social improvement are the bases for developing a new society. Hareton and Cathy represent a different world featured by mutual respect, cooperation, friendship, and education.  

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