Wuthering Heights is an intricate love story, an intricate story of revenge, much like a modern day soap opera. How does Brontë use elements like point of view (frame narrative), setting, Gothic elements of suspense and mystery, character development, and themes to pull off a masterpiece that explores the concepts of marriage for love and the destructive powers of revenge?



Wuthering Heights


Emily Brontë



Picture from: http://slouching-bethlehem.blogspot.com/2008/06/wuthering-heights.html
Picture from: http://slouching-bethlehem.blogspot.com/2008/06/wuthering-heights.html





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Emily Brontë as portrayed by her only brother picture from: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Image:Emilybronte_retouche.jpg


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Wuthering Heights, by Emily Brontë, is an epic romance novel of the Victorian Era. Throughout the novel, it intertwines the lives and hearts of two family names, the Linton's and the Earnshaw's. Love is able to bring them together, but revenge and animosity pulls them apart. In Wuthering Heights, the characters confess their love to each other and rush into marriage even though they do not truly love one another. It is often influenced by money and greed. In a way, it is somewhat like the Victorian version of Shakespeare's epic Romeo and Juliet. Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights can be compared to the different scenes of high school. For instance the fighting and yearn for love resembles teenagers and their eager attempt to charm a classmate. In high school and in much of the novel, teenagers and the young characters are trying to experience true love. Naive teenagers claim to be madly in love very quickly and rush to marriage- much like the characters in Wuthering Heights. However, the teenagers and the characters equally realize marriage takes time, energy, and love to make it through the hard times.As they grow older, they realize love is confusing and sometimes not enough to get the rough till the end; as Catherine and Heathcliff find out. For example, the characters in the narrative realize they are not truly happy with each other and jealousy takes over. When jealousy turns into revenge, all are hurt. Just as jealousy and revenge consumed the lives of the characters, teenagers in high school face the same pattern. When one lover comes to realize they are not sincerely happy, they begin to stray from the relationship while the other one begins to feel jealous, the cycle continues until all are ruined.

Catherine and Heathcliff are the main characters in Wuthering Heights. They have a true love that even after death is never ending. Everything that they do is for their love for one another. Catherine's shallow selfish greed, and Heathcliff's violent crude uncaring nature, is what made these two lovers so perfect for each other. Their flaws are what attracted each other. Heathcliff always loves Catherine, even after she married another man. After her death Heathcliff became even angrier then he was before being cruel to everyone and showed no feelings of sympathy. The only way we realize that Heathcliff is distraught by his own personal memories of Catherine is the end when he commits sucide.


Character List

1st Generation- Troubled Waters
Mr. Earnshaw - Catherine’s father. He brings Heathcliff into his family and soon favors the orphan over his own son, Hindley. He leaves Wuthering Heights to Hindley when he passes away.
Mrs. Earnshaw - Catherine’s mother. Not much is known about her, except that she favors her own son to Heathcliff, whom she does not like. She dies shortly after the arrival of the orphan child, Heathcliff.
Mr. Linton - Isabell's and Edgars dad, as well as the proprietor of Thrushcross Grange. Raises children to be well behaved and well mannered. He brings his children up to treasure order and reason.
Mrs. Linton - Mr. Lintons wife and has a very snobbish demeanor. She instills lady like qualities in Miss Catherine.


2nd Generation- Revenge is eminent
Heathcliff (the main character) - Orphaned as a child, he is constantly on the outside, constantly losing people. Although he and Catherine Earnshaw profess that they complete each other, her decision to marry Edgar Linton almost destroys their relationship. He spends most of his life contemplating and acting out revenge. His attitude is abusive, brutal, and cruel. He longs to be with Catherine yet has his heartbroken and later marries Isabella out of selfishness and greed. Heathcliff is the main source of passion and chaos in the novel, instilling both as much as possible.
Catherine Earnshaw - The love of Heathcliff’s life. Wild, impetuous, and arrogant as a child, she grows up getting everything she wants. When two men fall in love with her, she torments both of them. Ultimately, Catherine’s selfishness ends up hurting everyone she loves, including herself. She often struggles with having fits of wild passion and always seems to be torn.
Edgar Linton - Catherine’s husband and Heathcliff’s rival. Well-mannered and well-to-do, he falls in love with and marries Catherine. His love for her enables him to overlook their incompatible natures. He is the complete opposite of Healthcliff. He is somewhat of a coward.
Isabella - Edgar’s sister. Her infatuation with Heathcliff causes her to destroy her relationship with her brother. She experiences Heathcliff’s brutality first hand. She flees to London where she gives birth to Heathcliff’s son, but her attempts to keep her son from his father fail. She is very naive and self centered.
Hindley Earnshaw - Catherine’s brother. Jealous of Heathcliff, he takes a bit of revenge on Heathcliff after his father dies. He proves to be no match for Heathcliff, however, eventually losing his son and his family’s home.
Frances Earnshaw - Hindley’s wife. A sickly woman who dies soon after Hareton is born.

3rd Generation- Trying to heal old wounds
Cathy Linton - Daughter of Catherine and Edgar. A mild form of her mother, showing more compassion and has a quieter temper. She serves as a reminder of her mother’s strengths and weaknesses.
Linton Heathcliff - Son of Heathcliff and Isabella. Weak and whiny (both physically and emotionally), he serves as a pawn in Heathcliff’s game of revenge. He marries Cathy. Linton is a frail child and is often plagued by sickness.
Hareton Earnshaw - Catherine’s nephew, son of Hindley. Although uneducated and unrefined, Hareton has a staunch sense of pride. He is attracted to Cathy but put off by her attitude. His generous heart enables the two of them to eventually fall in love and marry. Hareton is the only person to mourn Heathcliff’s death.

Servants, Tenants, and Housekeepers- Minor characters sometimes make major decisions
Ellen (Nelly) Dean - The primary narrator and Catherine’s servant. Although she is one person capable of relating the majority of the events that occurred, she is not without bias. She is very intelligent and tells the story sensibly.
Lockwood - Heathcliff’s tenant at Thrushcross Grange and the impetus for Nelly’s narration. Although he serves primarily as the catalyst for the story, Lockwood’s role is an outsider who happens to gain inside information. His visit to Wuthering Heights and subsequent actions directly affect the plot.
Joseph - Servant at Wuthering Heights. A hypocritical zealot who possesses a religious fanaticism that most find wearisome.
Zillah - Heathcliff’s housekeeper. She saves Lockwood from a pack of dogs and serves as Nelly’s source of information at Wuthering Heights.

Symbols and References

1. Wuthering Heights - This house symbolizes anger, hatred, violence, turbulence, and jealousy. As in the shown by the name, there is lot of tension within that house and that contaminates Thrushcross Grange. The Heights mirror the conditions of its inhabitants, especially Hindley and Heathcliff. An encompassing theme is passion, chaos, and wild freedom.
2. Thrushcross Grange - This house contrasts with Wuthering Heights since it has the appearance one would expect from a pleasing worldly lifestyle. This appearance of this house also symbolizes the feelings of the inhabitants. Like the house, the Lintons are materialistic and superficial. The main focus of its inhabitants is order, reservation, and reason.
3. Hareton and Cathy - These two symbolize Heathcliff and Catherine showing what they could have become if their situations were slightly different. Both couples live in similar situations and allow for the comparison.
4. Ghosts in the novel - The ghosts in the novel are written so you do not always know if they are a real person or not. So the real world could be confused with that of the spiritual and vis versa. The ghost symbolize the change of the past with the present as well and how a memory stays with one forever.
5. Heathcliff - He symbolizes the consequences of untrue love. His descent into hate and revenge are the products of Catherine's quest for personal gain.
6. Moors - The moors are the center of the "universe" of this story. They are dangerous and wild, often referred to as a place where one could drown if not careful. They are soggy and hard to navigate as well. The moors represent the wild and unpredictable love affair between Catherine and Heathcliff.

Picture from: www.myspace.com/southernfriedfoxymoxy
Picture from: www.myspace.com/southernfriedfoxymoxy

Character Map

Map from: http://www.cliffsnotes.com/WileyCDA/LitNote/Tess-of-the-d-Urbervilles-About-the-Novel-Character-Map.id-131,pageNum-7.html
Map from: http://www.cliffsnotes.com/WileyCDA/LitNote/Tess-of-the-d-Urbervilles-About-the-Novel-Character-Map.id-131,pageNum-7.html






Wuthering Heights






The horizons ring me like faggots,
Tilted and disparate, and always unstable.
Touched by a match, they might warm me,
And their fine lines singe
The air to orange
Before the distances they pin evaporate,
Weighting the pale sky with a soldier color.
But they only dissolve and dissolve
Like a series of promises, as I step forward.

There is no life higher than the grasstops
Or the hearts of sheep, and the wind
Pours by like destiny, bending
Everything in one direction.
I can feel it trying
To funnel my heat away.
If I pay the roots of the heather
Too close attention, they will invite me
To whiten my bones among them.

The sheep know where they are,
Browsing in their dirty wool-clouds,
Gray as the weather.
The black slots of their pupils take me in.
It is like being mailed into space,
A thin, silly message.
They stand about in grandmotherly disguise,
All wig curls and yellow teeth
And hard, marbly baas.

I come to wheel ruts, and water
Limpid as the solitudes
That flee through my fingers.
Hollow doorsteps go from grass to grass;
Lintel and sill have unhinged themselves.
Of people and the air only
Remembers a few odd syllables.
It rehearses them moaningly:
Black stone, black stone.

The sky leans on me, me, the one upright
Among all horizontals.
The grass is beating its head distractedly.
It is too delicate
For a life in such company;
Darkness terrifies it.
Now, in valleys narrow
And black as purses, the house lights
Gleam like small change.

Sylvia Plath


Path, Sylvia. "Wuthering Heights." Wuthering Heights 3 Sep 2008
<http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/wuthering-heights/>.


Point Of View


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Picture from: http://books-reading.blogspot.com/2007/04/wuthering-heights-cime-tempestose-emily.html



The point of view in the novel differs from giving readers the chance to understand most of the characters’ feelings to having a biased view depending on the narrator. As the story is being told by an outsider in some parts, we as readers are able to peer into the lives of the characters and know everything about them. Brontë wanted us to see how love can be an amazing life experience or can lead to a person's demise. By having two narrators, the reader has different points of view to learn from. Lockwood is an outsider, so he doesn't know who everyone is yet. He doesn't have the hate inside of him that would make him react differently to each character, that makes him have a completely different view then Nelly, because he is unbiased in his telling of the story. While Nelly, on the other hand, has a personal relationship to the characters and has grown to despise some of them. You can tell in the way she tells the stories which characters she wants you to think less of, Mrs. Dean became confidant and especially close with Mrs. Heathcliff and the two biological children of the first Mr. Earnshaw. This allows the reader to see the story through the emotions and motivations of additional characters adding a hint of confusion and increases the amount of romance and deceit. As she explains her story as the narrator, the reader can relate to her feelings better than if the book was told in a third person format. It makes you realize that it is somewhat like a story within a story. Also in this novel, the reader becomes the narrator and feels emotions that Nelly feels on a personal level. This experience could not be achieved if the book was only told by Lockwood. However, the reader's emotions are biased because we don't know what's really going on in any of the other main characters minds. Except Nelly misleads Edgar to ease his discomfort about young Catherine, and she lies to Linton about his father being a kind and generous man, which the reader knows is far from the truth. She paints a better image of young Catherine to Lockwood than of her mother to make her seem more appealing to Mr. Lockwood, even when the two women are very much alike. The reader does not know what to believe as the truth.

In Wuthering Heights, the story is told mainly by Nelly, the servant to almost everyone in the story. She knows everyone and everything about them, right down to their deepest secrets. With Nelly telling the story, you get the inside scoop, but she is also biased which establishes different perceptions of certain characters. For example, Nelly does not particularly like young Catherine and this is noticable in parts of the novel. One such part is when young Catherine is talking to Edgar and Nelly does not lead the room and leads young Catherine to react in an immature nature. The reader is also unaware of other characters' emotions and therefore the reader embraces an altered bias, such as having no sympathy towards Catherine and Heathcliff to feeling nothing but sympathy towards Linton.
By having most of the story in flashback as told to Mr. Lockwood and then play out to the present time, there is an added degree of suspense. While Mr. Lockwood now knows the main motivations of the saga between the two households, it is up to him to evaluate the other characters for himself as he encounters them. After meeting each of the characters that are still living, seeing the places that they've lived in, and hearing the story of what has happened in certain places and to those people he is able to put together his own opinions and thoughts about all of it.

The fact that the story is told through the eyes of Nelly does indeed allow more emotion to be involved. At some points in the story, you can tell she is bitter and others you can tell she has a more nostalgic tone. It is interesting that the story is told throught the eyes of a servant, someone who wouldn't seem to important in the story, but her relationship with the characters adds to the emotional appeal of the story. She connects the characters in a way, and her opinions are minimal to the subjective matter Heathcliff or Catherine would have displayed. Had Heathcliff been the narrator, the book would have been dominated by his feelings of hate and revenge. Had it been told throught the eyes of Catherine, It would not have been complete, and her feelings for Heathcliff would have dominated everything else. So, in truth, using Nelly as the narrator captured everyone's side of the story.

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Picture from: http://polandian.wordpress.com/2008/03/17/polish-artists-you-hate-you-couldnt-love/

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http://litstudies.org/publications/

Setting

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Map from: http://wuthering-heights.co.uk/locations/themoors.htm

Named estates with parks adjacent to them, damp, lush moors, and the rolling hills of the English country side help set the scene for this Victorian romance novel. Wuthering Heights, Thrushcross Grange, and the moors played a crucial part in the narrative. The difference between the two homes and the moors in between gave the characters room to roam and grow. This supports the conflict of good vs. evil that is apparent thoughtout the novel. In their childhood, Heathcliff and Catherine would sneak away and roam the moors together. With the moors separating the homes, Catherine and Heathcliff didn't know the Lintons well. Not knowing the Lintons made their imaginations run wild with the rumors of how the Lintons treated their children. "Cathy and I escaped form the wash-house to have a ramble at liberty and getting a glimpse of the Grange lights, we thought we would just go and see whether the Lintons passed their Sunday evenings standing shivering in corners, while their father and mother sat eating and drinking and singing and laughing, and burning their eyes out before the fire. Do you think they do?"- Heathcliff.
The following is a conversation between Ellen Dean and Linton Heathcliff: 'Is Wuthering Heights as pleasant a place as Thrushcross Grange?' he inquired, turning to take a last glance into the valley, whence a light mist mounted and formed a fleecy cloud on the skirts of the blue. 'It is not so buried in trees,' I replied, 'and it is not quite so large, but you can see the country beautifully all round; and the air is healthier for you—fresher and drier. You will, perhaps, think the building old and dark at first; though it is a respectable house: the next best in the neighborhood.'
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Stone crags along the rolling hills of the English countryside. Picture from http://wuthering-heights.co.uk/locations/themoors.htm
The “fresher and drier” air did not do well for Linton as he died soon after.
"Wuthering Heights represents wildness, ungoverned passion, extremity, and doom. The fiery behavior of the characters associated with this house—Hindley, Catherine, and Heathcliff—underscores such connotations. By contrast, Thrushcross Grange represents restraint, social grace, civility, gentility, and aristocracy—qualities emphasized by the more mannered behavior of the Lintons who live there." (Phillips)
While the two homes are actually quite near to each other, their inhabitants, for much of the novel, either choose not to visit the other house or forbid their children to do likewise. The two houses seem to create a sense that they are the only two places to go. Its either here or there, no where else. The entire world has been compacted into a microcosm, with the rest of the world is insignificant and therefore largely ignored. An additudinal barrier is created which causes strain on love and romance amongst the inhabitants of the two homes. When love is present in two people, they want to be close and do everything together. Heathcliff and Catherine lived in the same house as children, so their love grew. But when Heathcliff was forced out of the area by Hindley, their love was strained. Catherine couldn’t wait three years for Heathcliff’s return, so she marries a rich man named Edgar. Catherine didn’t love Edgar as much as Heathcliff, but she had to love somebody, and she made a quick decision that creates a turn for the worst. When Heathcliff returns to Wuthering Heights, he develops hate and later revenge towards Edgar. Wuthering Heights chaotic state contimates Thrushcross Grange's tranquil state and starts the plot. One may develop even deeper into the exact, literal meanings of both Thrushcross Grange and Wuthering Heights. A thrush is a medium-sized bird with plain colors, and a beautiful song. Wuthering, on the other hand, is a Yorkshire word referring to turbulent weather. One can only imagine the contrasting tones between the stunning song of a thrush against the striking howl of a dying animal wuthering. Similarly, when thinking of a grange, a picture is painted of a serene farmhouse spotted with cattle and chickens, and a tranquil, beautiful garden to match. Opposite of a grange lays a height: an image of a turbulent peak with gray skies and a rocky face. It is clear that Brontë gave significant forethought to the naming of both estates. The Grange represents peace and safety; a place that the residents of the Heights fantasized about as youths. The Heights, however, harbored all likes of hatred and bitterness for centuries while acting as a throne on which a despotic Heathcliff sits for the latter part of his life.
The two places are described as, as different as night and day. They are described by the author very vividly, and the characters go very well with the different places. In Wuthering Heights, even the title suggests a dark nature to it. The characters who have been touched by the house's morbid nature were the ones who demonstrated the most rebellious and extreme tendancies. However the Lintons who lived at the Thrushcross Grange demonstrated the calm and graceful nature that the house possessed. In addition, you can also tell the differences between them when Nelly is describing the houses as she relays the stories to Earnshaw.
The setting played a key role in the wellbeing and happiness of all of the characters. Perhaps if Linton would have been able to stay with his uncle, he would not have died, but instead he was sent away and his spirit was broken. Additionally, if Heathcliff would not have returned to Wuthering Heights, he may not have destroyed Catherine or her family and got the revenge he seeked.
The weather part of the setting was used multiple times throughout the story to depict the emotions of the characters and to foreshadow on the emotional connotations of something to come. When Catherine and Heathcliff are sitting outside talking the weather turns, which signifies their turn in emotions from good to bad.
"The location of Catherine's coffin symbolizes the conflict that tears apart her short life. 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 Kirk yard, 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." (Phillips)
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"Come in! Come in! Cathy do come. Oh do once more!" pg. 28 picture from: http://ombresblanches.wordpress.com/2008/01/16/the-priests-they-called-them/

















The setting helps the reader to better understand the story. There are three structured locations in which the story takes place, it is easier to understand what is going on and who lives with who. Wuthering Heights is where Mr. Lockwood meets Mr. Heathcliff, Catherine Linton, Joseph, and Hareton Earnshaw. It is also where Catherine Earnshaw was raised and where she loved Heathcliff. After Catherine married Edgar, she moved to Thrushcross Grange. There she lives with her husband and his sister, Isabella. After a while, Heathcliff returns after running away when finding out about Catherine and Edgar's wedding. Catherine is so thrilled she invites him in and it is just like old times again. Edgar, seeing the love Catherine has for Heathcliff, is not so thrilled and tells him not to come again. This makes Heathcliff's jealousy for Edgar stronger. He then feels he is destined to ruin Catherine and his happy lives. Later in life, Isabella starts to love Heathcliff and he marries her in hopes of making Catherine jealous. Hearing this news, Edgar says that there is nothing to forgive because it was his sister that disowned him in leaving him. Because of the fight that Edgar and Heathcliff had, Catherine stays in her room and becomes very ill. After weeks of being ill and carrying Edgar's child, she dies after giving birth to Catherine Linton. About a week after Catherine dies, Isabella runs to Thrushcross Grange and tells Nelly that she is going to run away to London from her marriage to Heathcliff. When she gets to London, she has her son, Linton Heathcliff. Isabella dies in London when Linton is about twelve years old. Edgar goes to London and brings Linton home with him. Young Catherine instantly enthralled with her cousin and Linton seems a little less aware of her but is happy to have her with him. Heathcliff hears that his son is at Thrushcross Grange and demands that he come to Wuthering Heights the next morning. Linton leaves, and after being there for years, with Catherine not allowed to visit, it slowly slips from her mind. Throughout the years, Catherine starts to play in the same spot her mother did, the moors. The moors is the third important location in Wuthering Heights. The moors is the land that separates Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange. When Catherine Earnshaw was young, Heathcliff and she would play in the moors for hours during the day and now her daughter, Catherine, also plays there. Without these three locations, the setting of the story would lack many of the novels important features. The Moors also represent a place where people are trapped by Heathcliff, like young Catherine.
Another major connection between the characters and the setting is the use of imagery. The two estates reflect the charcaters own personalities and traits. Wuthering Heights is turbulent and violent, so therefore its physical appearance is with wild growth and moors. Thrushcross Grange, on the other hand, has characters with self control and and manners; therefore, the physical appearance of the estate is very appealing and beautiful (traits of Victorian Society). Furthermore, Thrushcross has a containing wall that symbolizes the restraint and temperance of the inhabitants.

Gothic Elements

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"He dashes his head against the knotted trunk, and, lifting up his eyes, howled, not like a man, but like a savage beast getting goaded to death...I observed several splashes of blood about the bark." -pg. 162

Picture from: **www.tfaoi.com/ newsm1/n1m361.htm**


The Gothic elements of mystery and suspense play a key role in Brontë’s novel. Novels with Gothic elements have a dark atmosphere, ghosts, premonitions, women in distress, and dramatic people. The structure of the house, Wuthering Heights, is the epitome of a Gothic setting. Also key in gothic novels is the use of powerful, unreturned love, tension between a woman's love to a man and the father's control over it, rival lovers, woman being threatened by a tyrannical male, and much more. Wuthering Heights includes all of these items. With all of the hatred and revenge in the story, a gloomy atmosphere always looms over the estates. Wuthering Heights begins with Mr. Lockwood staying at Wuthering Heights and in the middle of the night feels there are ghosts around him. He describes: “The ledge, where I placed my candle, had a few mildewed books piled up in one corner; and it was covered with writing scratched on the paint. This writing, however, was nothing but a name repeated in all kinds of characters, large and small- Catherine Earnshaw, here and there varied to Catherine Heathcliff, and then again to Catherine Linton.” This is when the mystery and suspense of the book begins. Readers are left with three names. Throughout the book, you are gradually introduced to each of the three names and the mystery starts to unravel. Later, Heathcliff experiences premonitions that make the reader confused and interested to read more. When Heathcliff captures Cathy and prevents her from seeing her dying father, it adds excitement and makes the reader wonder what is going to happen next. The last gothic element to his novel is that it has dramatic people. Wuthering Heights is based around love, jealousy and revenge that all of the readers feel.
Emily Brontë used the Gothic element to set the mood of the book. The mood of this book has nothing uplifting: it was used to put you into the same mood as the characters of Wuthering Heights. The book would not be the pulling story it was with out the help of the Gothic elements. The fact that both manors the characters lived in were described as a sullen place beat by the wind and rain filled with nothing but strong feelings of hate and revenge. Gothic imagery often uses weather to convey a message. This is a Gothic novel, it is used to warn people of the horrible things people do for the wrong reasons. The characters live to hurt the next one. How can any one be right when everyone is wrong? That is the question burning in our minds as we read Wuthering Heights. Wuthering Heights is used as a painted picture ready to show anyone willing to hurt another for happiness, it warns that even though you may have everything, you can be destroyed from within. We are still left, however, with the mystery as to the author of these cryptic writings. One can only assume that it was Catherine during her dying months at the Grange. Consumed in her mad mind, Catherine could have written her name followed by the name of the men she had once loved, wishing only to be free from the captive ailment. After reading the book, one can finally piece together the parts of the story and identify the elements of a gothic novel. After reading the book a person could be so filled with a emotion you are still reeling from it after you are done reading it and much of the strong, detailed imagery is understood if you read the book agian.

Character Development


The story starts out with Catherine Earnshaw and a charming young Heathcliff. They both reside at Wuthering Heights, Heathcliff being only a servant. Throughout the years that they live there, they play and talk. Their relationship grows stronger until Catherine finds Edgar and Isabella Linton in Thrushcross Grange. As soon as Catherine met Edgar, everything between herself and Heathcliff changed drastically. Heathcliff realized his feelings for Catherine and started to feel the wrath of jealousy as Catherine stay with the Lintons instead of coming back to the Grange with him. Time rags on and when they are older, Edgar proposes to Catherine and she accepts, even though she knows she loves Heathcliff deep down. She went to Nelly to ask for advice, once she already accepted. Nelly tells her she should deny his proposal. Nelly then quizzes Catherine on why and how she loves Edgar. Catherine does not come up with a sensible reason that suits Nelly as to why she wants to marry Edgar. It seems mostly for a secure future and for financial greed. As soon as this happens, jealousy overcomes almost everything. Heathcliff’s destructive ways made him a hated character, but at the same time, one could not help but feel sorry for him. He was raised with a mixture of love and hate, and when Hindley gets guardian ship of Heathcliff, Hindley turns him into a slave. Hindley deprives Heathcliff of Catherine, his education, and his dignity; making Heathcliff grow more and more resentful to what was taken away from him. This starts his desire for revenge on Hindley. Heathcliff even overhears Catherine say that it would degrade her to marry him. This makes him leave her for 3 years, he comes back a "gentleman" who would deserve Catherine's love and hand in marriage. However, during his time away, Catherine marries his other childhood nemesis, Edgar Linton, causing Heathcliff to seek revenge on Edgar for taking his Cathy away from him. However, the reader wants to look at him as a traditional romance novel hero. Traditionally, heroes have been brooding, even dangerous, but in the end show that they are devoted and loving. His abuse of Isabella is pretty much his amusement; he tries to see how far he can push her and still have her crawling back to him." Critic Joyce Carol Oates argues that Emily Brontë does the same thing to the reader that Heathcliff does to Isabella, testing to see how many times the reader can be shocked by Heathcliff's gratuitous violence and still, masochistically, insist on seeing him as a romantic hero." (Phillips)
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Timothy Dalton as Heathcliff Picture from www.geocities.com/.../7518/WH_Eng/WH_Eng.htm
Also by portraying Heathcliff's character at the beginning of the story as a kind young boy in your mind you think that he is going to be that way during the story. But once he is faced with the rejection of his one true love; he transforms into a man just looking to seek revenge on the ones that hurt him and their families. This shows how drastically his character changed from beginning to the end, and as Brontë shows is one clear reason why there is so much agony in the novel.
Catherine seemed to be a selfish person who, in the end, destroyed herself and those she loves. She seems to focus on how things will affect her, other than how her actions will affect the people she loves and is around all the time. She is extremely selfish throughout the whole novel. For example, after Heathcliff leaves she throws a huge fit and makes herself sick because of it, forcing months and months of recovering and making everyone answer to her every whim, and agree with her on everything." 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. However, she is also motivated by impulses that prompt her to violate social conventions—to love Heathcliff, throw temper tantrums, and run around on the moor." (Phillips)
Edgar Linton is a very gentle man. Rich, educated, handsome, and kind, he is hard to like at first. After all, Heathcliff is supposed to be the hero in the book and it was hard to know that Catherine was gravitating towards another man. Edgar Linton at the same time is naive in a way to not see how Catherine doesn't love him fully and to let Heathcliff come into his house.
Young Catherine is a mixture of both Catherine and Edgar. She's headstrong and wild like her mother but tempered and gentle like her father. She teases Hareton about his ignorance like her mother did to Heathcliff. Catherine grows up on the Grange and lives a sheltered life. Her father didn't allow her to go past the outer fenching. Edgar gives her little knowledge of the Heights and she is never far from the Grange until she sneaks away to Linton is a mix of Isabella and Heathcliff. Although young Catherine seemed to get the best qualities of her parents, Linton got the worst. He is demanding like Heathcliff but weak and fragile like Isabella. He is a sickly creature; frankly, he gets to be quite annoying at times with all his complaining. Linton is a pawn in Heathcliff's revenge. Heathcliff needs Linton in order to get the Grange from Edgar. He turns into a character easy to hate when he gloats that all Catherine's possessions are now his after they marry. Edgar is fading fast and Linton is a snob about it.
Hareton appears to be a spitting image of Heathcliff. Not in looks, but in temperament. Heathcliff basically made him into a slave after the death of Hindley, getting his revenge on what Hindley did to him in their youth. Hareton is rough, but he knows the wrath of Heathcliff and can feel some compassion with Catherine. Hareton in the end goes with his better judgement and his emotions, not fear; and goes to protect Catherine from Heathcliff. This turns out to be very lucky for the two, because Heathcliff feels a pang of emotion when he looks at young Catherine because it reminds him so much of his Catherine, so it causes him not to seek revenge on the two of them as well.

Theme

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Emily Brontë’s themes were evident throughout the book. Her strongest theme was: do not marry for money, marry for love. It then worked down through Hindley and Frances Linton’s love. When Frances died, Hindley was lost without her. The lack of love destroyed Hindley. Love blossomed between Catherine and Heathcliff from the very beginning of their relationship. Both knew they loved each other, but when Catherine said that it would degrade her to marry Heathcliff, he became jealous of Edgar's wealth and status, something that had been taken away from him by Hindley. In return, Edgar was jealous of Heathcliff because he knew Catherine did not love him like she loved Heathcliff. Catherine married Edgar because she professed she would be happy, adored, and recieve anything she could want from him, a very selfish thought. However, the reason Catherine really married Edgar was to help Heathcliff get back to where he could have been, if not for Hindley. However, her plan backfired.
Another way one can look at the theme of love is that some love is just not to be. Even though they had love for each other, Catherine was more consumed with wealth rather than love. If Catherine had married Heathcliff then she still would have desired weath. In the end, if they would have wed then they really wouldn't have had true love.
Finally, the jealousy and love worked its way down to Cathy, Linton and Hareton. If only Catherine would have married Heathcliff, the destructive powers of jealousy and revenge would not have destroyed the entire family.
There are many themes to Wuthering Heights, another would be that one should love and not hate. Over the years, each family hated the other and it eventually led to the destruction of the characters. There would be a family member that would die and it seems like every person died unhappy. When Catherine died, she wanted revenge to Heathcliff and Edger. Linton died unhappy, because of his controlling father. Revenge worked through each family until there were no families left. Finally, Cathy and Hareton were the only ones remaining from each side. They learned to truly love each other and that is how the story ends. Brontë creates a suspenseful novel with a great theme that makes the reader think.
One of the central themes in Wuthering Heights is good vs. evil. Thoughtout the novel, Brónte illustrates this theme of the evil corrupting the good. An example is the contrast between Thrushcross Grange and Wuthering Heights. The two estates clash constantly and shows how the evil corrupts the good, or in this example, Wuthering Heights corrupts Thrushcross Grange. Characters also support this theme with their personalities and actions. Catherine is first unrestrained and is part of Wuthering Heights not Thrushcross Grange, but then succumbs and marries Linton. Heathcliff is viewed as a symbol of evil in the novel and therefore is part of Wuthering Heights and not Thrushcross Grange.
Another central theme is that revenge is a double-edged sword. Hindley had taken revenge on Heathcliff after the death of his and Catherine's father. Their father had always treated Heathcliff as his own and Hindley had thought that his father liked Heathcliff more than him. Heathcliff left to become a gentleman so he could get revenge on what Hindley had done to him. However, in his time away, his Cathy married Edgar instead of waiting for him to return. When Heathcliff did return, he started his revenge on Hindley by getting Hindley to mortgage his land to Heathcliff. When Hindley died, he died in debt with no money or property to his name. If Hindley had been kind to Heathcliff in their childhood and didn't try to make Heathcliff a slave, Heathcliff wouldn't have taken revenge on him and ruined his good name. When his revenge on Hindley was done, Heathcliff turned his attention on Edgar. Edgar had taken Cathy away from him, and Heathcliff wanted to hurt Edgar as he had been hurt. He charmed his way into Isabella's regard and got her to run away with him. Edgar was devastated; he'd loved his sister very much and she hurt him tremendously by running away with the person he hated most. The reader can see the effects of marriage when there is really only one sided love or no love at all. Edgar and Catherine's relationship was never right from the beginning but it was not violent. No matter what Edgar would say or do, Catherine would always be in love with Heathcliff. Because of her love for Heathcliff, she eventually made her self sick and passed away. In the matter of Heathcliff and Isabella, he was brutal to her and yet she loved him, but only for a brief time until she realized what a monster he was. Heathcliff had never loved Isabella, he only used her to get to Edgar. At least with Catherine and Edgar there was some love from both sides; Heathcliffs and Isabella's was one sided and in the end they didn't even have that. Heathcliff's obsession led to Catherine haunting him until the day he died. Revenge is a powerful emotion and it is no different in Wuthering Heights. Most of the revenge comes from Heathcliff towards everyone from Hindley to his son. He ends up taking all of Hindley's money. When Hindley dies, Heathcliff makes his son, Hareton, a servant. In his revenge for Catherine he marries Isabella and destroys her and Catherine. He also destroys Edgar by marrying Isabella because he no longer wants to have anything to do
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http://eu.movieposter.com/posters/archive/main/15/b70-7875
with his sister. Heathcliff revenged Edgar by moving his body so that Heathcliff himself could be buried beside his one true love Catherine. Also, Heathcliff brings his son, Linton, home to live with him. He wants Edgar's property because Edgar is very sick and soon to perish, so he traps Cathy and keeps her locked up until she marries Linton. All of the revenge seems to disappear between everyone when Heathcliff, himself dies.
Another theme is the destructiveness of a love may never change. Heathcliff and Catherine love each other so much, it hurts. It seems to be an emotion that is stronger than any other throughout the novel. Every girl dreams of finding "the one" and Catherine does find him, but she doesn't marry him because her "status" would be lowered. It is obvious that the two lovers belong to a different social status, which makes the love more compassionate. Passion is a strong feeling that can change the whole atmosphere of a novel. Catherine's passion for Heathcliff helps us grasp the emotion of the novel and give us a realistic idea of the love she felt for him. Knowing that her love for Heathcliff is wrong due to social moral causes a deeper desire to be with him. Heathcliff displays a prime example of a tragic love hero who has self-pity and mourns at the loss of his own love. Catherine may be to blame for falling in love with Edgar, yet we also can't blame her for falling in love with a man of the same social status. It is apparent that Heathcliff's love for Catherline never fades away, yet he is able to marry Isabella out of vengeance. This helps lead us to the conclusion that he has given up on his heart and all hopes of a life with Catherine. His destructive matter towards love lures us into the novel and teaches us the lesson that a true love always remains.
Another theme is not being caught up in which social class you are in. An example of that would be Catherine marrying Edgar to be "the greatest woman of the neighborhood". What is strange is that Heathcliff went from being homeless to gentleman to a regular laborer and finally back to a gentleman. This shift in social status is very uncommon and would not normally happen. Comparing this to the two families, the Linton's are firm in their status, but kept showing it through their actions whereas the Earnshaws are on shaky ground. The Earnshaws have less than the Linton's, they don't have a carriage and they have less land. It shouldn't matter if you have a carriage or not, you should be able to love and marry who you want.





Quotes & Their Meaning Throughout the Story

"How little did I dream that Hindley would ever make me cry so!...Hindley calls him a vagabond and won't let him sit with us nor eat with us; and he says he and I must not play together."
-- Catherine pg. 22
Shows that Catherine has very strong feelings for Heathcliff. She's getting torn up inside over what Hindley did to him.
"Come in! Come in! Cathy do come. Oh once more! My heart's darling! hear me this time. Catherine at last!"
-- Heathcliff pg. 28
Heathcliff is calling out for Catherine to come back to him. He's still mourning the loss of his Cathy and wants her to be with him.
"The little souls were comforting each other with better thought than I could have hit on; no parson in the world ever pictured heaven so beautifully as they did, in their innocent talk; and, while I sobbed, and listened, I could not help wishing we were all there together."
-- Nelly pg. 43
Even though they were wild when given the chance, they where perfect when they talked in private to each other.
"You needn't have touched me! I shall be dirty, and I will be dirty."
-- Heathcliff pg. 53
Heathcliff's pride has been hurt because Catherine called him dirty. He's trying to save face by acting like it didn't hurt.
"Nelly, make me decent, I'm going to be good."
-- Heathcliff pg. 54
Changing his mind, Heathcliff wants Catherine's attention back on him so he is going to be clean like Edgar and Isabella.
"Well then, it is my darling! Whist, dry thy eyes there is a joy; kiss me! By God, as if I would rear such a monster! As sure as I'm living I'll break the brat's neck."
-- Hindley pg. 72
Hindley is taking his drunken rage out on Hareton. Showing the contrast between Hindley and his father. His father was kind, but Hindley is bitter and mean.
"In my soul and in my heart, I'm convinced I'm wrong."
-- Catherine pg. 77
Catherine knows she loves Heathcliff and she knows that she doesn't love Edgar. However, she just wants to help Heathcliff but knows she'll be miserable without him.
"He listened till he heard Catherine say it would degrade her to marry him, and then stayed to hear no farther."
-- Nelly pg. 78
Heathcliff left before the damage to his ego was righted. Catherine went on to say that she could help him by marrying Edgar, but the damage was done.
"Nelly, I am Heathcliff!"
-- Catherine pg. 80
Heathcliff is as much a part of Catherine as she is to herself.
"Is she here? Speak! I want to have on word with her-- your mistress... Go and carry my message I'm in hell till you do!"
-- Heathcliff pg. 90
It seems that although Catherine hurt him by saying it would degrade her to marry him, it shows that he's thought of her in his time away and is eager to see her again.
"I've struggled only for you!"
-- Heathcliff pg. 94
Heathcliff still has strong feelings for Catherine. He only went away to make money and get to an acceptable social status so he could finally be with her.
"Among his books! And I am dying!"
-- Catherine pg. 117
Catherine is destroying herself. She hasn't eaten in days and all she's trying to do is get attention.
"I don't want you Edgar I am past wanting you. Return to your books."
-- Catherine pg. 124
When she finally attains Edgar's attention she throws it back at him. She's breaking his heart, but she's breaking her own, too.
"Hereafter she is only my sister in name, not because I disown her, but because she has disowned me."
-- Edgar pg. 129
Edgar is so hurt by what Isabella has done to him, he never wants to see her again. She ran off with the very man that holds his wife's true affections.
"I will have it back; and I'll have his gold too: and then his blood; and hell shall have his soul!"
-- Hindley pg. 136
Ironically, Hindley says the very thing that Heathcliff said about him.
"I do hate him- I am wretched- I have been a fool!"
-- Isabella pg. 144
After realizing that Heathcliff wasn't the man she thought he was, she's ashamed of herself for running off with him.
"I was in the Grange garden for six hours and I'll return there tonight; and every night I'll haunt the place and every day till I find an opportunity of entering."
-- Heathcliff pg. 148
Heathcliff is so desperate to see Catherine, he's turned into a sort of stalker.
"Why shouldn't you suffer? I do! Will you forget me? Will you be happy when I am in the earth?" -- Catherine pg. 153
Catherine is trying to hurt Heathcliff.
"This is not my Heathcliff; I shall love mine yet, and take him with me-- he's in my soul."
-- Catherine pg. 155
Catherine knows the difference between the old and new Heathcliff. It's the old Heathcliff that she loves.
"I have not broken your heart- you have broken it; and in breaking it you have broken mine."
-- Heathcliff pg. 156
Her plan worked. She wanted to hurt Heathcliff and Edgar. Catherine broke their hearts.
"And I pray one prayer--I repeat it till my tongue stiffens--Catherine Earnshaw, may you not rest as long as I am living! You said I killed you--haunt me, then! The murdered do haunt their murderers. I believe--I know ghosts have wandered on earth. Be with me always--take any form--drive me mad! only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you! Oh God! it is unutterable! I cannot live without my life! I cannot live without my soul!"
-- Heathcliff pg. 162
Heathcliff is torn apart. He can't live without her. He was in Catherine's soul and she was in his.
"Nay, it's enough that he has murdered one of you, at the Grange, everyone knows your sister would have been living now, had it not been for Mr. Heathcliff, after all, it is preferable to be hated than loved by him. When I recollect how happy we were how happy Catherine was before he came-- I'm fit to curse the day."
-- Isabella pg. 174
Isabelle is getting her own revenge on Heathcliff by shoving Catherine's death in his face.
"His eyes rained down tears among the ashes, and he drew his breath in suffocating sighs."
-- Isabella ph. 175
Heathcliff feels guilty about Catherine's death and is still in serious mourning.
"He's as young,' said I; 'but he has black hair and eyes, and looks sterner; and he is taller and bigger altogether. He'll not seem to you so gentle and kind at first, because it's not his way: mind you, be frank and cordial with him, he'll be fonder of you than any uncle, for you are his own."
-- Nelly pg. 202
Nelly lies to Linton about Heathcliff's nature to persuade him to visit him.
"Oh, give them to me, and I'll never, never do so again! Don't tell papa. You have not told papa, Ellen? say you have not? I've been exceedingly naughty, but I won't do it any more!"
-- Catherine pg. 221
Catherine's reaction to Ellen finding her stash of secret love letters to Linton.
He spelt and drawled over by syllables, the name -- "Hareton Earnshaw"
-- Nelly pg. 241
Hareton is finally able to read his own name, but is unable to impress Catherine due to his inability to read the numbers.
"I am afraid now,' she replied, 'because if I stay, papa will be miserable: and how can I endure making him miserable -- when he -- when he -- Mr. Heathcliff, let me go home! I promise to marry Linton: papa would like me too: and I love him. Why should you wish to force me to do what I'll willingly do of myself?"
-- Catherine pg. 264
Catherine convinces Heathcliff that she wants to marry Linton, after he captures her.
"And tell him, if he'll take it, I'll come and teach him to read it right," she said; "and, if he refuse it, I'll go upstairs, and never tease him again."
-- Catherine pg. 300
Catherine promises to teach Hareton to read if he accepts the book that she wants to give him.
"It would degrade me to marry Heathcliff now; so he shall never know how I love him; and that, not because he's handsome, Nelly, but because he's more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same, and Edgar's is as different as a moonbeam from lightning, or frost from fire."
-- Catherine pg. 79
Catherine longs to be "the greatest woman of the neighborhood" and clearly believes that marrying Heathcliff could only damper that dream.
When Mr. Heathcliff was asked if he feared death his complex answer follows:
"Afraid? No!" he replied. 'I have neither a fear, nor a presentiment, nor a hope of death. Why should I?
With my hard constitution and temperate mode of living, and unperilous occupations, I ought to, and probably shall, remain above ground till there is scarcely a black hair on my head. And yet I cannot continue in this condition! I have to remind myself to breathe-almost to remind my heart to beat! And it is like bending back a stiff spring: it is by compulsion that I do the slightest act not prompted by one thought; and by compulsion that I notice anything alive or dead, which is not associated with one universal idea. I have a single wish, and my whole being and faculties are yearning to attain it. They have yearned towards it so long, and so unwaveringly, that I'm convinced it will be reached-and soon-because it has devoured my existence: I am swallowed up in the anticipation of its fulfillment. My confessions have not relieved me; but they may account for some otherwise unaccountable phases of humour which I show. O God! It is a long fight; I wish it were over.'
--Mr. Heathcliff pg.313-314
Mr. Heathcliff is not afraid of death which is not surprising. What is surprising is that he sees his life as highly unaccomplished. He says he has lived easy and without much adventure throughout his life. He also mentions he has a wish to still do in his life and will take up the most part of his life's fulfillment. It is odd because he has already gone through so much and is in fact getting older.

Wuthering Heights Trailer. Dir. Peter Kosminsky. Perf. Juliette Binoche, Ralph Fiennes, Janet McTeer, Sophia Ward. 1992.
Trailer courtesy of YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4clztbOrFps

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References:
Phillips, Brian and Bourneuf, Annie. SparkNote on Wuthering Heights. 16 Aug. 2008
http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/wuthering/.

Help with the character confusion. SparkNote on Wuthering Heights. 19 Aug. 2008
http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/wuthering/characters.html

Helped establish elements of gothic fiction. Great website!!
Harris, Robert. "Elements of the Gothic Novel." virtual salt. 7 Oct 2008 <http://www.virtualsalt.com/gothic.html>.

"Wuthering Heights." The Reader's Guide to 'Wuthering Heights'. 4 Sep 2008 <http://www.wuthering-heights.co.uk/>

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Emily Bronte’s only novel, Wuthering Heights, is a terribly depressing tale of romance and revenge. Published in 1847 under the pen name of Ellis Bell, is now considered a classic example of English literature.
The story is actually told as a memory; each event has already occurred and is in the past. Its telling is set in motion by the curiosity of a visitor, Mr. Lockwood. He is a tenant of Thrushcross Grange, which is owned by Heathcliff. He meets the housekeeper, Ellen Dean, who makes his acquaintance upon his arrival at the Grange. “…I desired Mrs. Dean, when she brought in supper, to sit down while I ate it; hoping sincerely she would prove a regular gossip, and either rouse me to animation or lull me to sleep by her talk.” Nelly does indeed prove to be quite the gossip, she serves as the narrator for the majority of the rest of the book.
The primary conflict in the story revolves around the passion and drama of the characters, Catherine and Heathcliff. Heathcliff is an orphan boy that Catherine’s father, Mr. Earnshaw, found and brought home one day after a trip to Liverpool. Over time, Mr. Earnshaw favors Heathcliff over his own son, Hindley. As a result, Hindley immediately and forevermore hated Heathcliff, and their rivalry is never resolved. Catherine, however, is drawn to Heathcliff, and they become inseparable as they grow up together.
Eventually, as a result of one of Catherine and Heathcliff’s naughty ramblings, Catherine is injured at Thrushcross Grange, where the Lintons lived at the time. Catherine stays there for five weeks to recuperate, and during her stay there, she meets Edgar and Isabella Linton, and becomes their friend. Her meeting with the Linton family sets in motion the events that lead to Catherine’s eventual marriage to Edgar.
Edgar Linton begins to pursue Catherine, and after courting for a period of time, he proposes. Catherine converses the subject with Nelly: “…To-day, Edgar Linton has asked me to marry him, and I’ve given him an answer. Now, before I tell you whether it was a consent or a denial, you tell me which it ought to have been.”
It ends up that Catherine agreed to marry Edgar, and as soon as Heathcliff hears this news, he runs away, and is not found in the hours following his disappearance. Catherine is distraught, but marries Edgar anyway, and they live peacefully together for several years. That is, until Heathcliff returns.
Heathcliff had been away for several years to make money and raise his status, in hopes of winning Catherine’s heart away from Edgar. However, Catherine was still so hurt by his unannounced departure so many years ago that she is not so forgiving.
From here, many other events are set in motion and unfold throughout the tale. Heathcliff marries Isabella to make Catherine jealous, and before her death Catherine bears a daughter named Cathy, who eventually marries Heathcliff’s sickly son Linton. When Catherine does die, Heathcliff is so embittered by her death and his unrequited love for her, that he becomes even colder and crueler towards everyone that he encounters. They tortured each other throughout their entire lives because of their inability to forgive, and Heathcliff dies a lonely and bitter man. The legacy of the animosity between these two doomed lovers forever affects everyone around them.
The central issue in this novel is indisputably the effects of bitterness and revenge, and we see how unhappy life can be if we let those things plague us.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wuthering_Heights

About the Author
Emily Bronte was born on July 30th, 1818 in Thornton, Bradford, Yorkshire, England. She was the fourth daughter of Maria Branwell and Irish clergyman Patrick Bronte. Her mother died from cancer when Emily was three years old. In 1824, Emily and her four sisters attended the Clergy Daughter's School near Kirkby Lonsdale. Two of her sisters, Maria and Elizabeth, died there a year later from TB. In 1842, Emily and her sister traveled to Belgium, where they studied French, German, and the different kind of literature in these areas. Her writing is greatly influenced by this trip. She became a member of the Bronte writing clan; consisting of her sisters, Charlotte and Anne. The three of them published a book of poetry with pseudonames called, Poems by Currer, Ellis, and Action Bell. By 1845, Emily was back home helping around the house and beginning to write her only book. She came up with a drastic love story, Wuthering Heights, which was published in 1847. Emily died of a cold on December 19, 1848. She rests with her entire family at the Church of Saint Michael and All Angels in Haworth, England.




In the novel, Wuthering Heights, the two main characters, Cathy and Heathcliff, are two halves of the same soul, and are good and evil, angel and devil. Catherine and Heathcliff’s love is based on their shared perception that they are identical. Their love denies difference and seems strangely asexual. The two do not kiss in dark corners or arrange secret trysts, as adulterers do. Cathy famously proclaims "I am Heathcliff!" In that same conversation with Nelly, she talks about a dream she had, where she was in heaven, but was very unhappy and wanted to be back on earth. The angels grew so angry with her that they cast her onto the heath and onto Wuthering Heights, and when she woke, she wept for joy.