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Wuthering Heights

Emily Brontë

Key Facts

Important Quotations Explained

Study Questions & Essay Topics

full title  ·  Wuthering Heights

author  · Emily Brontë

type of work  · Novel

genre  · Gothic novel (designed to both horrify and fascinate readers with scenes of passion and cruelty; supernatural elements; and a dark, foreboding atmosphere); also realist fiction (incorporates vivid circumstantial detail into a consistently and minutely thought-out plot, dealing mostly with the relationships of the characters to one another)

language  · English (including bits of Yorkshire dialect)

time and place written  · In 1846–1847, Emily Brontë wrote Wuthering Heights in the parsonage of the isolated village of Haworth, in Yorkshire.

date of first publication  · 1847

publisher  · Thomas C. Newby

narrator  · Lockwood, a newcomer to the locale of Wuthering Heights, narrates the entire novel as an entry in his diary. The story that Lockwood records is told to him by Nelly, a servant, and Lockwood writes most of the narrative in her voice, describing how she told it to him. Some parts of Nelly’s story are narrated by other characters, such as when Nelly receives a letter from Isabella and recites its contents verbatim.

point of view  · Most of the events of the novel are narrated in Nelly’s voice, from Nelly’s point of view, focusing only on what Nelly can see and hear, or what she can find out about indirectly. Nelly frequently comments on what the other characters think and feel, and on what their motivations are, but these comments are all based on her own interpretations of the other characters—she is not an omniscient narrator.

tone  · It is not easy to infer the author’s attitude toward the events of the novel. The melodramatic quality of the first half of the novel suggests that Brontë views Catherine and Heathcliff’s doomed love as a tragedy of lost potential and wasted passion. However, the outcome of the second half of the novel suggests that Brontë is more interested in celebrating the renewal and rebirth brought about by the passage of time, and the rise of a new generation, than she is in mourning Heathcliff and Catherine.

tense  · Both Lockwood’s and Nelly’s narrations are in the past tense.

setting (time)  · The action of Nelly’s story begins in the 1770s; Lockwood leaves Yorkshire in 1802.

setting (place)  · All the action of Wuthering Heights takes place in or around two neighboring houses on the Yorkshire moors—Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange.

protagonists  · Heathcliff, Catherine

major conflicts  · Heathcliff’s great natural abilities, strength of character, and love for Catherine Earnshaw all enable him to raise himself from humble beginnings to the status of a wealthy gentleman, but his need to revenge himself for Hindley’s abuse and Catherine’s betrayal leads him into a twisted life of cruelty and hatred; Catherine is torn between her love for Heathcliff and her desire to be a gentlewoman, and her decision to marry the genteel Edgar Linton drags almost all of the novel’s characters into conflict with Heathcliff.

rising action  · Heathcliff’s arrival at Wuthering Heights, Hindley’s abusive treatment of Heathcliff, and Catherine’s first visit to Thrushcross Grange set the major conflicts in motion; once Heathcliff hears Catherine say it would “degrade” her to marry him, the conversation between Nelly and Catherine, which he secretly overhears, drives him to run away and pursue his vengeance.

climax  · Catherine’s death is the culmination of the conflict between herself and Heathcliff and removes any possibility that their conflict could be resolved positively; after Catherine’s death, Heathcliff merely extends and deepens his drives toward revenge and cruelty.

falling action  · Heathcliff destroys Isabella and drives her away, takes possession of young Linton, forces Catherine and Linton to marry, inherits Thrushcross Grange, then loses interest in the whole project and dies; Hareton and young Catherine are to be engaged to be married, promising an end to the cycle of revenge.

themes  · The destructiveness of a love that never changes; the precariousness of social class

motifs  · Doubles, repetition, the conflict between nature and culture

symbols  · The moors, ghosts

foreshadowing  · Lockwood’s initial visit to Wuthering Heights, in which the mysterious relationships and lurking resentments between the characters create an air of mystery; Lockwood’s ghostly nightmares, during the night he spends in Catherine’s old bed, prefigure many of the events of the rest of the novel.

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Links between Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre?

by Hello1234562012, September 02, 2012

Hello All ! I wanted to know a few links between the two famous stories of Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights and the main themes that occur within both the novels.The first one that stood out to me was the descent into madness of both Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights, imagining Catherine being everywhere and Bertha Mason in Jane Eyre being known as 'Insane'.What other links can be made between the two novel??

4 Comments

26 out of 35 people found this helpful

main idea

by yo0sha, October 08, 2012

i need the main idea of chapter 4 can anyone help me please??

1 Comments

3 out of 11 people found this helpful

Wuthering Heights Blog

by DanMitchell23, January 01, 2013

I really like this book, it is such a great classic! Here are my views on it ...

http://inbetweenthelines1.wordpress.com/2012/12/18/book-review-wuthering-heights/

See all 5 readers' notes   →

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