Wuthering Heights is a novel by Emily Brontë that was first published in Read a Plot Overview of the entire book or a chapter by chapter Summary and Analysis. Continue your study of Wuthering Heights with these useful links. Here, he meets his dour landlord, Heathcliff, a wealthy man who lives in the ancient manor of Wuthering Heights, four miles away from the Grange. In this wild . Wuthering Heights is a novel of revenge and romantic love. . Meanwhile, Heathcliff is staying at Wuthering Heights with Hindley Earnshaw.
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Wuthering Heights Sparknotes - Download as Word Doc .doc /.docx), PDF File . pdf), Text File .txt) or read online. Wuthering Heights. Learn more about Wuthering Heights (SparkNotes) in the Digital Downloads This title only comes in the PDF eBook format, which doesn't work on this device. The best study guide to Wuthering Heights on the planet, from the creators of SparkNotes. Get the entire Wuthering Heights LitChart as a printable PDF.
Even Emily Bronts sister Charlottean author whose works contained similar motifs of Gothic love and desolate landscapesremained ambivalent toward the unapologetic intensity of her sisters novel. In a preface to the book, which she wrote shortly after Emily Bronts death, Charlotte Bront stated, Whether it is right or advisable to create beings like Heathcliff, I do not know. I scarcely think it is. Emily Bront lived an eccentric, closely guarded life. She was born in , two years after Charlotte and a year and a half before her sister Anne, who also became an author.
Wuthering Heights Sparknotes
Her father worked as a church rector, and her aunt, who raised the Bront children after their mother died, was deeply religious. Emily Bront did not take to her aunts Christian fervor; the character of Joseph, a caricature of an evangelical, may have been inspired by her aunts religiosity. The Bronts lived in Haworth, a Yorkshire village in the midst of the moors. These wild, desolate expanseslater the setting of Wuthering Heightsmade up the Bronts daily environment, and Emily lived among them her entire life.
She died in , at the age of thirty. As witnessed by their extraordinary literary accomplishments, the Bront children were a highly creative group, writing stories, plays, and poems for their own amusement.
Largely left to their own devices, the children created imaginary worlds in which to play. Yet the sisters knew that the outside world would not respond favorably to their creative expression; female authors were often treated less seriously than their male counterparts in the nineteenth century. Thus the Bront sisters thought it best to publish their adult works under assumed names.
Their real identities remained secret until after Emily and Anne had died, when Charlotte at last revealed the truth of their novels authorship. Today, Wuthering Heights has a secure position in the canon of world literature, and Emily Bront is revered as one of the finest writersmale or femaleof the nineteenth century. Like Charlotte Bronts Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights is based partly on the Gothic tradition of the late eighteenth century, a style of literature that featured supernatural encounters, crumbling ruins, moonless nights, and grotesque imagery, seeking to create effects of mystery and fear.
Wuthering Heights (SparkNotes)
But Wuthering Heights transcends its genre in its sophisticated observation and artistic subtlety. The novel has been studied, analyzed, dissected, and discussed from every imaginable critical perspective, yet it remains unexhausted. And while the novels symbolism, themes, structure, and language may all spark fertile exploration, the bulk of its popularity may rest on its unforgettable characters.
As a shattering presentation of the doomed love affair between the fiercely passionate Catherine and Heathcliff, it remains one of the most haunting love stories in all of literature. Plot Overview In the late winter months of , a man named Lockwood rents a manor house called Thrushcross Grange in the isolated moor country of England.
Here, he meets his dour landlord, Heathcliff, a wealthy man who lives in the ancient manor of Wuthering Heights, four miles away from the Grange. In this wild, stormy countryside, Lockwood asks his housekeeper, Nelly Dean, to tell him the story of Heathcliff and the strange denizens of Wuthering Heights. Nelly consents, and Lockwood writes down his recollections of her tale in his diary; these written recollections form the main part of Wuthering Heights.
Nelly remembers her childhood. As a young girl, she works as a servant at Wuthering Heights for the owner of the manor, Mr. Earnshaw, and his family. One day, Mr. Earnshaw goes to Liverpool and returns home with an orphan boy whom he will raise with his own children. At first, the Earnshaw childrena boy named Hindley and his younger sister Catherinedetest the dark-skinned Heathcliff.
But Catherine quickly comes to love him, and the two soon grow inseparable, spending their days playing on the moors. After his wifes death, Mr.
Earnshaw grows to prefer Heathcliff to his own son, and when Hindley continues his cruelty to Heathcliff, Mr. Earnshaw sends Hindley away to college, keeping Heathcliff nearby. Three years later, Mr. Earnshaw dies, and Hindley inherits Wuthering Heights. He returns with a wife, Frances, and immediately seeks revenge on Heathcliff.
Once an orphan, later a pampered and favored son, Heathcliff now finds himself treated as a common laborer, forced to work in the fields.
Heathcliff continues his close relationship with Catherine, however. One night they wander to Thrushcross Grange, hoping to tease Edgar and Isabella Linton, the cowardly, snobbish children who live there.
Catherine is bitten by a dog and is forced to stay at the Grange to recuperate for five weeks, during which time Mrs. Linton works to make her a proper young lady. By the time Catherine returns, she has become infatuated with Edgar, and her relationship with Heathcliff grows more complicated.
When Frances dies after giving birth to a baby boy named Hareton, Hindley descends into the depths of alcoholism, and behaves even more cruelly and abusively toward Heathcliff. Eventually, Catherines desire for social advancement prompts her to become engaged to Edgar Linton, despite her overpowering love for Heathcliff. Heathcliff runs away from Wuthering Heights, staying away for three years, and returning shortly after Catherine and Edgars marriage.
When Heathcliff returns, he immediately sets about seeking revenge on all who have wronged him. Having come into a vast and mysterious wealth, he deviously lends money to the drunken Hindley, knowing that Hindley will increase his debts and fall into deeper despondency.
When Hindley dies, Heathcliff inherits the manor. He also places himself in line to inherit Thrushcross Grange by marrying Isabella Linton, whom he treats very cruelly. Catherine becomes ill, gives birth to a daughter, and dies. Heathcliff begs her spirit to remain on Earthshe may take whatever form she will, she may haunt him, drive him madjust as long as she does not leave him alone.
Shortly thereafter, Isabella flees to London and gives birth to Heathcliffs son, named Linton after her family. She keeps the boy with her there. Thirteen years pass, during which Nelly Dean serves as Catherines daughters nursemaid at Thrushcross Grange.
Young Catherine is beautiful and headstrong like her mother, but her temperament is modified by her fathers gentler influence. Young Catherine grows up at the Grange with no knowledge of Wuthering Heights; one day, however, wandering through the moors, she discovers the manor, meets Hareton, and plays together with him.
Soon afterwards, Isabella dies, and Linton comes to live with Heathcliff. Heathcliff treats his sickly, whining son even more cruelly than he treated the boys mother.
Analysis of Major Characters
Three years later, Catherine meets Heathcliff on the moors, and makes a visit to Wuthering Heights to meet Linton. She and Linton begin a secret romance conducted entirely through letters. When Nelly destroys Catherines collection of letters, the girl begins sneaking out at night to spend time with her frail young lover, who asks her to come back and nurse him back to health.
However, it quickly becomes apparent that Linton is pursuing Catherine only because Heathcliff is forcing him to; Heathcliff hopes that if Catherine marries Linton, his legal claim upon Thrushcross Grangeand his revenge upon Edgar Lintonwill be complete. One day, as Edgar Linton grows ill and nears death, Heathcliff lures Nelly and Catherine back to Wuthering Heights, and holds them prisoner until Catherine marries Linton.
Soon after the marriage, Edgar dies, and his death is quickly followed by the death of the sickly Linton. Heathcliff now controls both Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange. He forces Catherine to live at Wuthering Heights and act as a common servant, while he rents Thrushcross Grange to Lockwood. Nellys story ends as she reaches the present.
Lockwood, appalled, ends his tenancy at Thrushcross Grange and returns to London. However, six months later, he pays a visit to Nelly, and learns of further developments in the story. Although Catherine originally mocked Haretons ignorance and illiteracy in an act of retribution, Heathcliff ended Haretons education after Hindley died , Catherine grows to love Hareton as they live together at Wuthering Heights.
Heathcliff becomes more and more obsessed with the memory of the elder Catherine, to the extent that he begins speaking to her ghost. Everything he sees reminds him of her. Shortly after a night spent walking on the moors, Heathcliff dies. After hearing the end of the story, Lockwood goes to visit the graves of Catherine and Heathcliff.
Chronology The story of Wuthering Heights is told through flashbacks recorded in diary entries, and events are often presented out of chronological orderLockwoods narrative takes place after Nellys narrative, for instance, but is interspersed with Nellys story in his journal.
Nevertheless, the novel contains enough clues to enable an approximate reconstruction of its chronology, which was elaborately designed by Emily Bront. For instance, Lockwoods diary entries are recorded in the late months of and in September ; in , Nelly tells Lockwood that she has lived at Thrushcross Grange for eighteen years, since Catherines marriage to Edgar, which must then have occurred in We know that Catherine was engaged to Edgar for three years, and that Nelly was twenty-two when they were engaged, so the engagement must have taken place in , and Nelly must have been born in Since Nelly is a few years older than Catherine, and since Lockwood comments that Heathcliff is about forty years old in , it stands to reason that Heathcliff and Catherine were born around , three years after Nelly.
There are several other clues like this in the novel such as Haretons birth, which occurs in June, The following chronology is based on those clues, and should closely approximate the timing of the novels important events. Earnshaw brings Heathcliff to live at Wuthering Heights.
Earnshaw sends Hindley away to college. Late in the year, Lockwood rents the Grange from Heathcliff and begins his tenancy. In a winter storm, Lockwood takes ill and begins conversing with Nelly Dean. Earnshaw, Heathcliff falls into an intense, unbreakable love with Mr.
Earnshaws daughter Catherine. After Mr. Earnshaw dies, his resentful son Hindley abuses Heathcliff and treats him as a servant. Because of her desire for social prominence, Catherine marries Edgar Linton instead of Heathcliff. Heathcliffs humiliation and misery prompt him to spend most of the rest of his life seeking revenge on Hindley, his beloved Catherine, and their respective children Hareton and young Catherine.
A powerful, fierce, and often cruel man, Heathcliff acquires a fortune and uses his extraordinary powers of will to acquire both Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange, the estate of Edgar Linton. Catherine - The daughter of Mr. Earnshaw and his wife, Catherine falls powerfully in love with Heathcliff, the orphan Mr.
Earnshaw brings home from Liverpool. Catherine loves Heathcliff so intensely that she claims they are the same person. However, her desire for social advancement motivates her to marry Edgar Linton instead. Catherine is free-spirited, beautiful, spoiled, and often arrogant. She is given to fits of temper, and she is torn between her wild passion for Heathcliff and her social ambition.
She brings misery to both of the men who love her. Edgar Linton - Well-bred but rather spoiled as a boy, Edgar Linton grows into a tender, constant, but cowardly man. He is almost the ideal gentleman: Catherine accurately describes him as handsome, pleasant to be with, cheerful, and rich.
However, this full assortment of gentlemanly characteristics, along with his civilized virtues, proves useless in Edgars clashes with his foil, Heathcliff, who gains power over his wife, sister, and daughter.
A sensible, intelligent, and compassionate woman, she grew up essentially alongside Hindley and Catherine Earnshaw and is deeply involved in the story she tells. She has strong feelings for the characters in her story, and these feelings complicate her narration.
Lockwood - Lockwoods narration forms a frame around Nellys; he serves as an intermediary between Nelly and the reader. A somewhat vain and presumptuous gentleman, he deals very clumsily with the inhabitants of Wuthering Heights. Lockwood comes from a more domesticated region of England, and he finds himself at a loss when he witnesses the strange households disregard for the social conventions that have always structured his world.
As a narrator, his vanity and unfamiliarity with the story occasionally lead him to misunderstand events. The first Catherine begins her life as Catherine Earnshaw and ends it as Catherine Linton; her daughter begins as Catherine Linton and, assuming that she marries Hareton after the end of the story, goes on to become Catherine Earnshaw.
The mother and the daughter share not only a name, but also a tendency toward headstrong behavior, impetuousness, and occasional arrogance. However, Edgars influence seems to have tempered young Catherines character, and she is a gentler and more compassionate creature than her mother.
After Hindleys death, Heathcliff assumes custody of Hareton, and raises him as an uneducated field worker, just as Hindley had done to Heathcliff himself. Thus Heathcliff uses Hareton to seek revenge on Hindley. Illiterate and quick-tempered, Hareton is easily humiliated, but shows a good heart and a deep desire to improve himself. At the end of the novel, he marries young Catherine. Linton Heathcliff - Heathcliffs son by Isabella. Weak, sniveling, demanding, and constantly ill, Linton is raised in London by his mother and does not meet his father until he is thirteen years old, when he goes to live with him after his mothers death.
Heathcliff despises Linton, treats him contemptuously, and, by forcing him to marry the young Catherine, uses him to cement his control over Thrushcross Grange after Edgar Lintons death. Linton himself dies not long after this marriage.
Hindley Earnshaw - Catherines brother, and Mr. Earnshaws son.
Hindley resents it when Heathcliff is brought to live at Wuthering Heights. After his father dies and he inherits the estate, Hindley begins to abuse the young Heathcliff, terminating his education and forcing him to work in the fields.
When Hindleys wife Frances dies shortly after giving birth to their son Hareton, he lapses into alcoholism and dissipation. Isabella Linton - Edgar Lintons sister, who falls in love with Heathcliff and marries him. She sees Heathcliff as a romantic figure, like a character in a novel. Ultimately, she ruins her life by falling in love with him. He never returns her feelings and treats her as a mere tool in his quest for revenge on the Linton family.
Earnshaw - Catherine and Hindleys father. Earnshaw adopts Heathcliff and brings him to live at Wuthering Heights.
Earnshaw prefers Heathcliff to Hindley but nevertheless bequeaths Wuthering Heights to Hindley when he dies. Earnshaw - Catherine and Hindleys mother, who neither likes nor trusts the orphan Heathcliff when he is brought to live at her house. She dies shortly after Heathcliffs arrival at Wuthering Heights. Joseph - A long-winded, fanatically religious, elderly servant at Wuthering Heights. Joseph is strange, stubborn, and unkind, and he speaks with a thick Yorkshire accent.
Frances Earnshaw - Hindleys simpering, silly wife, who treats Heathcliff cruelly. She dies shortly after giving birth to Hareton.
Linton - Edgar and Isabellas father and the proprietor of Thrushcross Grange when Heathcliff and Catherine are children. An established member of the gentry, he raises his son and daughter to be well-mannered young people.
Linton - Mr. Lintons somewhat snobbish wife, who does not like Heathcliff to be allowed near her children, Edgar and Isabella. She teaches Catherine to act like a gentle-woman, thereby instilling her with social ambitions. Zillah - The housekeeper at Wuthering Heights during the latter stages of the narrative.
Green - Edgar Lintons lawyer, who arrives too late to hear Edgars final instruction to change his will, which would have prevented Heathcliff from obtaining control over Thrushcross Grange.
The first paragraph of the novel provides a vivid physical picture of him, as Lockwood describes how his black eyes withdraw suspiciously under his brows at Lockwoods approach. Nellys story begins with his introduction into the Earnshaw family, his vengeful machinations drive the entire plot, and his death ends the book.
The desire to understand him and his motivations has kept countless readers engaged in the novel. Heathcliff, however, defies being understood, and it is difficult for readers to resist seeing what they want or expect to see in him. The novel teases the reader with the possibility that Heathcliff is something other than what he seemsthat his cruelty is merely an expression of his frustrated love for Catherine, or that his sinister behaviors serve to conceal the heart of a romantic hero.
We expect Heathcliffs character to contain such a hidden virtue because he resembles a hero in a romance novel. Traditionally, romance novel heroes appear dangerous, brooding, and cold at first, only later to emerge as fiercely devoted and loving. One hundred years before Emily Bront wrote Wuthering Heights, the notion that a reformed rake makes the best husband was already a clich of romantic literature, and romance novels center around the same clich to this day.
However, Heathcliff does not reform, and his malevolence proves so great and long-lasting that it cannot be adequately explained even as a desire for revenge against Hindley, Catherine, Edgar, etc. As he himself points out, his abuse of Isabella is purely sadistic, as he amuses himself by seeing how much abuse she can take and still come cringing back for more. Critic Joyce Carol Oates argues that Emily Bront does the same thing to the reader that Heathcliff does to Isabella, testing to see how many times the reader can be shocked by Heathcliffs gratuitous violence and still, masochistically, insist on seeing him as a romantic hero.
It is significant that Heathcliff begins his life as a homeless orphan on the streets of Liverpool. When Bront composed her book, in the s, the English economy was severely depressed, and the conditions of the factory workers in industrial areas like Liverpool were so appalling that the upper and middle classes feared violent revolt.
Thus, many of the more affluent members of society beheld these workers with a mixture of sympathy and fear. In literature, the smoky, threatening, miserable factory-towns were often represented in religious terms, and compared to hell. The poet William Blake, writing near the turn of the nineteenth century, speaks of Englands dark Satanic Mills. Heathcliff, of course, is frequently compared to a demon by the other characters in the book. Considering this historical context, Heathcliff seems to embody the anxieties that the books upper- and middle-class audience had about the working classes.
The reader may easily sympathize with him when he is powerless, as a child tyrannized by Hindley Earnshaw, but he becomes a villain when he acquires power and returns to Wuthering Heights with money and the trappings of a gentleman. This corresponds with the ambivalence the upper classes felt toward the lower classesthe upper classes had charitable impulses toward lower-class citizens when they were miserable, but feared the prospect of the lower classes trying to escape their miserable circumstances by acquiring political, social, cultural, or economic power.
Catherine The location of Catherines coffin symbolizes the conflict that tears apart her short life.
Wuthering Heights Summary
She is not buried in the chapel with the Lintons. Nor is her coffin placed among the tombs of the Earnshaws. Instead, as Nelly describes in Chapter XVI, Catherine is buried in a corner of the kirkyard, where the wall is so low that heath and bilberry plants have climbed over it from the moor.
Moreover, she is buried with Edgar on one side and Heathcliff on the other, suggesting her conflicted loyalties. Her actions are driven in part by her social ambitions, which initially are awakened during her first stay at the Lintons, and which eventually compel her to marry Edgar.
A subsequent visit to Wuthering Heights yields an accident and a curious supernatural encounter, which pique Lockwood's curiosity. Back at Thrushcross Grange and recuperating from his illness, Lockwood begs Nelly Dean, a servant who grew up in Wuthering Heights and now cares for Thrushcross Grange, to tell him of the history of Heathcliff.
Nelly narrates the main plot line of Wuthering Heights. The boy is named Heathcliff and is raised with the Earnshaw children, Hindley and Catherine.
Earnshaw's affection. After Mr. Earnshaw's death, Hindley does what he can to destroy Heathcliff, but Catherine and Heathcliff grow up playing wildly on the moors, oblivious of anything or anyone else — until they encounter the Lintons. One night Heathcliff and Catherine ramble down to Thrushcross Grange to spy on the Linton children, Edgar and Isabella, who live a pampered and protected existence.
When a dog bites Catherine, she is forced to stay at the Grange for five weeks to recuperate. While there, she captures the affections of young Edgar. Back at Wuthering Heights, life without Catherine has been miserable for Heathcliff, but with Edgar in the picture things will never be the same.
Frances dies after giving birth to a son, Hareton. Without his wife to help tone down his rage, Hindley becomes even more vengeful toward Heathcliff. Hindley resents his new son, and he becomes an abusive alcoholic. His primary activity is making life miserable for Heathcliff and, as a consequence, for everyone else in the house. Though Catherine confesses to Nelly an all-consuming love for Heathcliff, she still marries Edgar.
Even out on the isolated moors, social class dictates whom you marry. Heathcliff takes off for three years to who knows where. Heathcliff is now on a mission of revenge against Hindley, who is in even worse shape than before.
Loaded with a bunch of money gained during his mysterious absence, Heathcliff sets into motion his master plan to acquire Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange. Heathcliff exploits the fact that Hindley is a drunken mess and engages him in extended bouts of gambling that eventually lead Hindley to mortgage Wuthering Heights to pay his debts. The house now belongs to Heathcliff. Heathcliff continues to visit Catherine at Thrushcross Grange, though her husband Edgar treats him like a low-born outsider.
In order to acquire Edgar's property, Heathcliff marries Isabella Linton, who brings out all of his abusive instincts. A violent argument between Edgar and Heathcliff sends Catherine to the sickbed, from which she never really recovers. She does, however, give birth to a daughter, also named Catherine. When Catherine dies, Heathcliff's sorrow and rage increase and he pleads for Catherine's ghost to haunt him.
Unable to take his abusiveness any longer, Isabella flees for London, where she gives birth to a son, Linton Heathcliff. For the next thirteen years, Nelly Dean stays at Thrushcross Grange to raise Catherine, a feisty daddy's girl.Heathcliff falls into an intense.
Because of her desire for social prominence. Largely left to their own devices, the children created imaginary worlds in which to play. Earnshaw , a gentleman, owns Wuthering Heights.
The OverDrive Read format of this ebook has professional narration that plays while you read in your browser. Edgar hurries to find help. The reader can immediately question Lockwoods reliability as a conveyer of facts. At the top of British society was the royalty, followed by the aristocracy, then by the gentry, and then by the lower classes, who made up the vast majority of the population.
Largely left to their own devices, the children created imaginary worlds in which to play. As he himself points out.