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Wuthering Heights

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Bruna Carmelin

on 13 September 2014

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Transcript of Wuthering Heights

Wuthering Heights (1847)
Emily Brontë (1818-1848)

Brief Introduction
The Victorian Period (1832 - 1900)
Victorian Novels
The Brontë sisters
Wuthering Heights (1847)
Emily Brontë (1818-48)
Section of England where Wuthering Heights is set in
Part 1: First generation

The foundling Heathcliff
is brought to Wuthering Heights by Mr. Earnshaw.

of Heathcliff by Hindley, Mr. Earnshaw's son.

Cathy Earnshaw and Heathcliff become
twin souls
The Book Analysis
Cathy Earnshaw's
from "savage" to "proper lady" during her stay at Thrushcross Grange.

of her "soul mate" Heathcliff.

(splitting of the oak.

to Edgar Linton.
as a "gentleman intent on

Cathy's attempts to have
Heathcliff and Edgar.


of Cathy II, Catherine and Edgar's daughter.

and Heathcliff's
Part two: second generation
, gained by marriage to Isabella Linton and expropriation.

of Linton, Heathcliff's and Isabella's son

loses interest
in revenge.

Heathcliff and Catherine
in death.

of Cathy II and Hareton:
restored to rightful owner.
Narrative Structure
Narrative point of view
frame narrators:
(as an external narrator) and
Nelly Dean
(as an internal narrator)

Chinese box
structure: stories within stories

Two interpreters/ Two auditors (
closely identified)
Nelly Dean's perspective
Based on morality, religion and superstition
Cathy: "wayward", "ill-tempered"

"I vexed her frequently by trying to bring down arrogance" ( Part I, Ch. VIII)

"She was too much fond of Heathcliff" (Part I Ch. V)
Lockwood's perspective
The voice of convencional society.

An unrealiable narrator because he does not know all the details of the story.
Implications of the multiple narrators
Strangeness and "otherness" preserved

Multiple interpretations: no single "truth"

Unique Interpretation becomes impossible: modern aspect of the novel
Key events
Main Characters
Wayward, difficult, rebellious, spirited and "unfeminine"

"Her spirits were always at high-water mark, her tongue always going - singing, laughing, and plaguing everybody who would not do the same. A wild, wick slip she was but she had the bonniest eye, and the sweetest smile and lightest foot in the parish." (Part I, Ch. V)

"(...) heaven did not seem to be my home" (Part I, Ch. IX)
Man or beast?
Unknown origins, absence of social connection
Absence of emotion, "insensible"
Deteriorates into brute state
Violent and extreme language
A Byronic hero
A Victorian villain
Heathcliff and Catherine relationship
Vindictive, violent and possessive

"They may bury me twelve feet deep and throw the church down over me; but I won't rest till you are with me... I never will!" (Part I, Ch. XII)

Merged identities

"If all else perished and he remained, I should still continue to be; and, if all else remained, and he were annihilated, the Universe would turn to a mighty stranger... Nelly, I am Heathcliff!" (Part I, Ch. IX)
Heathcliff and Catherine relationship
Vitality, authenticity, freedom

Rejection of class values
Heathcliff and Cathy symbolise the instinctual, unconscious forces.

Contrasted with "civilised" characters: Edgar, Lockwood, Nelly Dean
Wuthering Heights
. England: Penguin Classics, 2003









The Penguin Guide to Literature in English
, 2001
1815: Beginning of Victorian Age (Pax Britannica)
Defeat of Napoleon
1832-1914: Literature Period
Sir Walter Scott's death
1837-1901: Queen Victoria reign
Population grew from 2 million to 6.5 million
Cities grew bigger
Britain: the richest manufacturating country in the world
1851: London, The Great Exhibition at Crystal Palace
1850s: Crimean War (1854-6)
On the Origin of species
(Charles Darwin)
1861: Prince Albert's death
Prime minister: either W. Gladstone or B. Disraeli
1870s: Protests against the monarchy and strong republican movement
Queen Victoria: Empress of India/ Symbol of Britain
1832-1867-1928: The slow movement toward democracy
Victorian Period

An age of extremes
Pax Britannica
Naval Supremacy of England
Industrial Revolution
Working classes x middle classes
Double standarts in this society

Writers: although the surface that was a succesful society, below the surface there were many problems
Romantic Period: Poetry, the most important literary form
Victorian Period: Novel, the most popular and important form.

Success of the novels of Sir Walter Scott
Waverley Novels

Some subjects:
Drive for social advancement
What is “English” or what constitutes an “Englishman”
Rebellion against such idealized notions and stereotypical codes of conduct
Important names
Charles Dickens
Charlotte Brontë
Emily Brontë
Anne Brontë
George Eliot
William M. Thackeray
Anthony Trollope
Wilke Collins
Arthur Conan Doyle
Thomas Hardy
Oscar Wilde
The Moors
Gothic elements
Heathcliff as gothic villain in his inhuman treatment of his wife and his son.

The sinister atmosphere of Wuthering Heights surrounded by wilderness.

Catherine's ghost.

The dreams and superstitions often mentioned.
Opposite principles
Wuthering Heights
Thrushcross Grange
The home of the Earnshaws

Severy, gloomy, brutal in aspect and atmosphere

Firmly rooted in local tradition and custom

The background for the life of primitive passion led by its owner
The home of the Lintons

Reflects a Victorian concept of life

Symbolises stability, kindness and respectability
principle of storm and energy
principle of calm
Non linear narrative structure
Use of flashback
in media res
Binary structure
Elicits the curiosity in the reader
Invites comparison between the two stories
Implies an
active reader


Anne Brontë
Literary fiction
Here on Earth(1997)
The plot of Here on Earth involves a woman named March Murray, who returns with her teenage daughter to the Massachusetts town where she grew up. The story and characters are inspired by the 1847 Emily Brontë novel Wuthering Heights. After returning to the town that she grew up in, March finds herself reunited the boy she fell in love with years before, Hollis. This dark and twisted tale tells of the capabilities of love and how far one is willing to go for it. "For in heaven and in our dreams, love is simple and glorious. But it is something altogether different here on earth..."
" (...) I cannot express it; but surely you and everybody have a notion that there is or should be an existence of yours beyond you. What were the use of my creation, if I were entirely contained here? My great miseries in this world have been Heathcliff's miseries, and I watched and felt each from the beginning: my great thought in living is himself. If all else perished, and he remained, I should still continue to be; and if all else remained, and he were annihilated, the universe would turn to a mighty stranger: I should not seem a part of it.—
My love for Linton is like the foliage in the woods: time will change it, I'm well aware, as winter changes the trees. My love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath: a source of little visible delight, but necessary. Nelly, I am Heathcliff! He's always, always in my mind: not as a pleasure, any more than I am always a pleasure to myself, but as my own being. So don't talk of our separation again: it is impracticable
(...)" (Part 1, Ch. IX)
"I am Heathcliff" (1847)
"I am Heathcliff" (1992)
"I am Heathcliff" (2004)
Wuthering Heights - Kate Bush (1978)
Central female: complex relationships and problems
Unusual courage and directness
Change the way the novel could present women characters
After the Brontës: female characters were more realistic and less idealized
The Brontës struggles became the subject of a great many novels later in the nineteenth century
Jane Eyre (1847)
1818: Born in Thorton, Yorkshire
1819: Emily Brontë' mother dies
1825: Her sisters, Maria and Elizabeth, die
1826: Saga of Angria and Glasstown
(colaborative childhood writing)
Poems by Currer
, Ellis and Acton Bell
Wuthering Heights
was published (Ellis Bell)
1848: Emily dies from tubercolosis
No coward soul is mine
No trembler in the world's storm-troubled sphere
I see Heaven's glories shine
And Faith shines equal arming me from Fear

O God within my breast
Almighty ever-present Deity
Life, that in me hast rest,
As I Undying Life, have power in Thee

Vain are the thousand creeds
That move men's hearts, unutterably vain,
Worthless as withered weeds
Or idlest froth amid the boundless main

To waken doubt in one
Holding so fast by thy infinity,
So surely anchored on
The steadfast rock of Immortality.

With wide-embracing love
Thy spirit animates eternal years
Pervades and broods above,
Changes, sustains, dissolves, creates and rears

Though earth and moon were gone
And suns and universes ceased to be
And Thou wert left alone
Every Existence would exist in thee

There is not room for Death
Nor atom that his might could render void
Since thou art Being and Breath
And what thou art may never be destroyed.
No coward soul is mine
Book Analysis

Critical Reception

Based on the book
Main aspects of the book
Themes and symbols
Love and passion
"Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same; and Linton's is as different as a moonbeam from lightning, or frost from fire." (Part I, Ch. IX)

Linton's "cold blood cannot be worked into a fever." (Part I, Ch. XI)
"’It is a poor conclusion, is it not?’ he observed, having brooded awhile on the scene he had just witnessed: ‘an absurd termination to my violent exertions? I get levers and mattocks to demolish the two houses, and train myself to be capable of working like Hercules, and when everything is ready and in my power, I find the will to lift a slate off either roof has vanished! My old enemies have not beaten me; now would be the precise time to revenge myself on their representatives: I could do it; and none could hinder me. But where is the use? I don’t care for striking: I can’t take the trouble to raise my hand! That sounds as if I had been labouring the whole time only to exhibit a fine trait of magnanimity. It is far from being the
case: I have lost the faculty of enjoying their destruction, and I am too idle to destroy for nothing."(Part II, Ch. XX)
Lure of success and Social Standing
Catherine marries Edgar after becoming infatuated with his image as a cultured gentleman with wealth enough to meet her every need.

Isabella marries Heathcliff after becoming infatuated with a idealized, romantic image of him.
Charlotte Brontë's works
The Professor (1857)
Villete (1853)
Anne Brontës's works
The tenant of Wildfell Hall (1848)
Agnes Grey (1847)
Moorland cannot be cultivated, and its uniformity makes navegation difficult
Symbol of the wild threat posed by nature
Setting for the beginning of Catherine and Heathcliff's bond
Symbolic associations onto the Catherine and Heathcliff's relationship

Wuthering Heights
is a more difficult book to understand than Jane Eyre, because Emily was a greater poet than Charlotte. When Charlotte wrote she said with eloquence and splendor and passion "I love,‟ "I hate,‟ "I suffer.‟ Her experience, though more intense, is on a level with our own.
But there is no "I‟ in
Wuthering Heights
. There are no governess. There are no employers. There is love, but it is not the love of men and women.
Emily was inspired by some more general conception. The impulse which urges her to create was not her own suffering or her own injuries.
She looked out upon a world cleft into gigantic disorder and felt within her the power to unite it in a book
[…] Hers, then is the rarest of all powers”
(Woolf, 1925)

"Womanly sentiment and pietism are detonated by Emily Brontë with an explosive charge of contempt.
She knew we lived our lives on a battlefield in which the chief law is universal strife; class facing class,
tribe versus tribe, every man‟s and woman's hand against his or her neighbor. She had been mendaciously told that woman had gender but no sexuality to speak of; natural selflessness; the power to spell her name but not to write out her identity. Emily would not varnish or beautify.
She took no pleasure in veneer of face or the emollient dilution of terrible truths for the benefit of other people's feelings

(Davis, 1999)

This is a strange book. It is not without evidences of considerable power: but, as a whole, it is wild, confused, disjointed and improbable; and the people who make up the drama, which is tragic enough in its consequences, are savages ruder than those who lived before the days of Homer.
..Heathcliff may be considered as the hero of the book, if hero there be. He is an incarnation of evil qualities; implacable hate, ingratitude, cruelty, falsehood, selfishness, and revenge[…] If this book be…the first work of the author,
we hope that he will produce a second, - giving himself more time in its composition than in the present case, developing his incidents more carefully, eschewing exaggeration and obscurity, and looking steadily at human life, under all its moods, for those pictures of the passions that he may desire to sketch for our public benefit. It may be well also to be sparing of certain oaths and phrases, which do not materially
contribute to any character, and are by no means to be reckoned among the evidence of a writer‟s genius”.
, 1848)
"The book is original; it is powerful; full of suggestiveness [...] Setting aside the profanity, which if a writer introduces into a book, he offends against both politeness and good morals, there is such a general roughness and savageness in the soliloquies and dialogues here given as never should be found in a work of art.
The whole tone of the style of the book smacks of lowness […] It will live a short and brilliant life, and then die and be forgotten
American Review: a Whig Journal of Politics
, 1848)
The critical reception
“Critics failed to do them justice.
The immature but very real powers revealed in
Wuthering Heights
were scarcely recognized
; its […] nature [was] misunderstood; the identity of its author was misrepresented; it was said that this was an earlier and ruder attempt of the same pen which had produced
Jane Eyre
[…] We laughed at it as first, but I deeply lament it now”
(Charlotte Brontë, 1850)

“In December, 1847,
Wuthering Heights
Agnes Grey
appeared. The first named of these stories has revolted many readers by the power with which wicked and exceptional characters are depicted”
(Gaskell, 1857)
“That [Cathy] Earnshaw – at once so wonderfully fresh, so fearfully natural […] what can surpass the strange compatibility of her simultaneous loves; the involuntary art with which her two natures are so made to co-exist, that in the very arms of her lover we dare not doubt her purity; the inevitable belief with which we watch the oscillations of the old and the new elements in her mind, and the exquisite truth of the last victory of nature over education, when the past returns to her as a flood, sweeping every modern landmark from within her, and the soul of the child, expanding, fills the woman? […] Heathcliff might have been as unique a creation. The conception in his case was as wonderfully strong and original, but he is spoilt in detail. The authoress has too often disgusted, where she should have terrified, and has allowed us a familiarity with her fiend which has ended in unequivocal contempt"
, 1850)
Wuthering Heights
) are in themselves a dramatic poem (...) Emily Brontë stands alone among female poets, and, Robert Browning excepted, alone among English poets of the present century (…) in the power of concentrating into a small space a profound psychological study."
, 1873)

" Emily Brontë‟s rank as a poet is to be measured, not by her verse, but by her single romance. The quantity as well [as] the quality of work must needs be taken into account in estimating the genius of a writer […]
But if we look only to the quality of the imagination displayed in Wuthering Heights – its power, its intensity, its absolute originality – it is scarcely too much to say of Emily that she might have been Shakespeare‟s younger sister
[…] what is there comparable to this romance except the greater tragedies of Shakespeare?”
Westminster Review
“Emily Brontë had in some ways a literal and careful mind. She constructed her novel on a time-chart even more elaborate than Miss Austen‟s, and she arranged the Linton and Earnshaw families symmetrically, and she had a clear idea of the various legal steps by which Heathcliff gained possession of their two properties. Then why did she introduce […] chaos, tempest?
Because in our sense of the word she was a prophetess; because what is implied is more important to her than what is said
; and only in confusion could the figures of Heathcliff and Catherine externalize their passion till it streamed through the house and over the moors."
(Foster, 1927)
"(Wuthering Heights) (...) cannot be easily classified as any particularly kind of novel – that is the literary strength that Brontë‟s text possesses. (...) The novel told from multiple points of view is easily read and interpreted from multiple perspectives, also."
(Wasowski, 2001)
Catherine II





Wuthering Heights
is about England in 1847”
(Kettle, 1951)
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 too 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.

Sylvia Plath
Based on the book
Wuthering Heights (1939)
Abismos de pasíon (1954)
Full transcript