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English Literature - Wuthering Heights

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Thaís Miassu

on 13 September 2016

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Transcript of English Literature - Wuthering Heights

The apartment and furniture would have been nothing extraordinary as belonging to a homely, northern farmer, with a stubborn countenance, and stalwart limbs set out to advantage in knee-breeches and gaiters. Such an individual seated in his arm-chair, his mug of ale frothing on the round table before him, is to be seen in any circuit of five or six miles among these hills, if you go at the right time after dinner. But Mr. Heathcliff forms a singular contrast to his abode and style of living. He is a dark-skinned gipsy in aspect, in dress and manners a gentleman: that is, as much a gentleman as many a country squire: rather slovenly, perhaps, yet not looking amiss with his negligence, because he has an erect and handsome figure; and rather morose. Possibly, some people might suspect him of a degree of under-bred pride..."

(Chapter I: 1801, p. 185-186)
Emily Brontë
Culture and Entertainment
Theatre / Arts;
Drama (Low comedy to Shakespeare);
Opera (Michael Balfe);
Gentlemen went to dining clubs;
Gambling at cards;
Michael Balfe
Fonte: Google Images
Historical Context
" - See here, wife! I was never so beaten with anything in my life: but you must e'en take it as a gift of God; though it's as dark almost as if it came from the devil"

(Chapter IV, p.197)
"We crowded round, and over Miss Cathy's head I had a peep at a dirty, ragged, black-haired child; big enough both to walk and talk: indeed, its face looked older than Catherine's; yet when it was set on its feet, it only stared round, and repeated over and over again some gibberish that nobody could understand. I was frightened, and Mrs. Earnshaw was ready to fling it out of doors: she did fly up, asking how he could fashion to bring that gipsy brat into the house, when they had their own bairns to feed and fend for? What he meant to do with it, and whether he were mad?[...]"
(Chapter IV, p. 197)
Emily Jane Brontë
(1818 – 1848)


English moors
Catherine Earnshaw/Linton
Edgar Linton
Ellen “Nelly” Dean
Isabella Linton
Hindley Earnshaw
Cathy [Catherine] Linton
Hareton Earnshaw
Linton Heathcliff
Mr. Lockwood
Written between October 1845 and June 1846

Year of publication: 1847

Events in the novel: 1771 - 1802

Emily Brontë;
Historical context;
Literary context
Extracts from the novel.

Victorian era (1837–1901)
Queen Victoria

National self-confidence;

Significantly changing;
Double standards:
- working class
- middle classes
The effects of the Industrial Revolution

- rapid growth of cities
- rise of the middle class

The Earnshaws’ house resembles that of a “homely, northern farmer” and not that of a gentleman
“The apartment and furniture would have been nothing extraordinary as belonging to a homely, northern farmer, with a stubborn countenance, and stalwart limbs set out to advantage in knee-breeches and gaiters.”

(Lockwood: chapter I, p. 185)
Nature X Culture
Chaotic X peaceful
Contrasting Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange...
Catherine and Heathcliff - representatives of the wild, chaotic atmosphere in Wuthering Heights; charcters strongly governed by their passions.

Edgar Linton - represents culture, peace and order; symbolizes the ideal gentleman.
Men were the ruler of the family

Female relatives were expected
to be gentle and dutiful

Gender Distinction

Ex 1: Mr. Earnshaw imposes the presence of Heathcliff to his wife and to the rest of the family

Ex 2: The sisters Brontë published under male pseudonyms
Victorian critics about Wuthering Heights:

“How a human being could have attempted such a book as the present without committing suicide before he had finished a dozen chapters, is a mystery. It is a compound of vulgar depravity and unnatural horrors […]”

Wuthering Heights is not a typical Victorian novel
Emily Brontë is not a typical Victorian novelist
Typical novelist: Charles Dickens:
concern about the evis of society

[she wrote] about different subjects in a different way and from a different point of view

(David Cecil, 1958)
The setting
The entire story of Wuthering Heights is set in the isolated, windy, rough Yorkshire moors in Northern England
“This is certainly a beautiful country! In all England, I do not believe that I could have fixed on a situation so completely removed from the stir of society. A perfect misanthropist's heaven”

(Lockwood: chapter I, p. 185)

A man could be considered a gentleman just by acquiring wealth

Information about
the edition

Wuthering Heights - Deluxe edition bilingual
Emily Brontë
English / Portuguese
303 pages
Doris Goettems
A remarkable novel
Published in 1847
Emily Brontë's pen name: Ellis Bell
The book was very criticized by society

After later re-evaluation the novel was praised
by its originality:
Courage and directness;
Two main narrators ;
It moves backward and forward in time;
A new view of women and their emotions
An important classic
of English literature
One of the most celebrated stories today
A complex novel about memorable characters and ungovernable passions
period of strict social morals and values
Gentry class (non-titled nobility landowners)

Ex: Heathcliff
Lintons X Earnshaws

An intellectual, literary, and artistic movement
love and sentimentality
covers a range of developments in art, music, literature and philosophy

Reaction against:
- Industrial Revolution;
- The scientific rationalization of nature;
- The dry rationality of the Enlightenment.
The movement emphasized:
the individual;
the subjective;
the imaginative;
the irrational;
the emotional;
the transcendental
English Literature:
Poets: William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge
19th century: the novel as the most popular and
important literary form
The Brontës Sisters

Emily, Charlotte and Anne were among the most important novelists in Victorian Literature
Significant works
The way the novel could present women characters was changed
By Branwell Brontë
The influence of the romantic and the gothic in Wuthering Heighs
Nature is a living, vitalizing force and offers a refuge from the contraints of civilization;

Focus on the individual: society is pushed to the periphery of the action and the reader's consciousness;

The passion driving Catherine and Heathcliff and their obsessive love for each other are the center of their being and transcend death;

Heathcliff is a Byronic hero;
Death and madness;
The supernatural or the possibility of the supernatural appears repeatedly;
Revenge is a driving force;
Extreme landscapes and weather;
The influence of the romantic ant the
gothic in Wuthering Heighs
- Only a few reviews
- It sold very poorly
- It was considered shocking and innappropriate

The Brontës

Thornton, west of
Yorkshire, England
30 July 1818
Life in Haworth

he Brontës move to an isolated Parsonage in Haworth, Yorkshire, a place surrounded by the dramatic landscape of the moors
Haworth Parsonage
Age of 6: Clergy Daughters' School at Cowan Bridge with Maria, Elizabeth and Charlotte for one year

1842: Brussels with Charlotte for eight months

October 1842 - December 1848: Emily remais secluted in Haworth
"My sister's disposition was not naturally gregarious; circumstances favoured and fostered her tendency to seclusion; except to go to church or take a walk on the hills, she rarely crossed the threshold of home. Though her feeling for the people round was benevolent, intercourse with them she never sought; nor, with very few exceptions, ever experienced. And yet she knew them: knew their ways, their language, their family histories; she could hear of them with interest, and talk of them with detail, minute, graphic, and accurate; but WITH them, she rarely exchanged a word."


Haworth, West of Yorkshire, England

19 December 1848

Aged 30
The moors are open areas, wet, infertile and as wild as the protagonists...
“heath” = “moor”
"Moor: an open area in the countryside that is covered with rough grass and bushes"

(Cambridge Dictionaries Online)
The title
Wuthering Heights
Name of the farmhouse where Heathcliff and the Earnshaws live;
The source of all conflicts;
The place where most of actions happens.

"Wuthering Heights is the name of Mr. Heathcliff's dwelling.'Wuthering' being a significant provincial adjective, descriptive of the atmospheric tumult to which its station is exposed in stormy weather. Pure, bracing ventilation they must have up there at all times, indeed: one may guess the power of the north wind blowing over the edge, by the excessive slant of a few stunted firs at the end of the house; and by a range of gaunt thorns all stretching their limbs one way, as if craving alms of the sun."
(Lockwood: chapter I, p. 185)
“Wuthering” means “windy”

According to Winifred Gérin the name was based on
Top Withens:
- “Top” suggests 'Heights'
- “Withens” (willows) suggests “Wuthering"
1801 -
Mr Lockwood rents the
Thrushcross Grange
Mr Lockwood learns the history of the Earnshaws and the Lintons from Nelly Dean

Mr Earnshaw returns home with Heathcliff
"from the very beginning, [Heathcliff] bred bad feeling in the house" (p. 197)


Mr Earnshaw dies;


Hindley becomes the Master of the family;

Catherine stays at Thrushcross Grange;
Catherine grows vainer and less savage;

Heathcliff and Catherine's relationship
becomes complicated;

Edgar Linton proposes to Catherine and she accepts;
Heathcliff runs away from Wuthering Heights ;
Heathcliff returns with a large sum of money, the airs of a gentleman
and a strong desire for revenge; he wins from Hindley the deeds to WH
Heathcliff and Edgar fight, and Heathcliff is expelled from the house ;
Heathcliff marries Isabella Linton;
Catherine dies giving birth to Cathy
Hindley dies;
Isabella escapes from Wuthering Heights to London, where she gives birth to Linton;

Isabella dies

Cathy discovers Wuthering Heights
- Cathy marries Linton
- Edgar dies

- Mr Lockwood decides to leave the Thrushcross Grange
- Heathcliff dies
- Cathy marries Hareton
Not idealized
Catherine’s decision
of marry Edgar:
- The importance of social status at that time;

- the position of women in society.
I dreamt once that I was there [but] heaven not did not seen to be my home; and I broke my heart with weeping to me back to earth; and the angels were so angry that they flung me out into the middle of the heath on the top of Wuthering Heights; where I woke up sobbing for joy. That will do to explain my secret, as well as the other. I've no more business to marry Edgar Linton than I have to be in heaven; and if the wicked man in there had not brought Heathcliff so low, I shouldn't have thought of it. 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 Linton's is as different as a moonbeam from lightning, or frost from fire.
(Chapter IX, p. 212)
- Lord Byron: Byronic hero
Lord Macaulay: "a man proud, moody, and cynical, with defiance on his brow, and misery in his heart, a scorner of his kind, implacable in revenge, yet capable of deep and strong affection"
Capable of
deeply love
“Whether it is right or advisable to create beings like Heathcliff, I do not know: I scarcely think it is.”

“He leant his two elbows on his knees and his chin on his hands and remained rapt in dumb meditation. On my inquiring the subject of his thoughts, he answered gravely:
- I'm trying to settle how I shall pay Hindley back. I don't care how long I wait, if I can only do it at last. I hope he will not die before I do!
- 'For shame, Heathcliff!’ said I. ‘It is for God to punish wicked people; we should learn to forgive.'
- ‘No, God won’t have the satisfaction that I shall,’ he returned. ‘I only wish I knew the best way! Let me alone, and I'll plan it out: while I'm thinking of that I don't feel pain.’” (Chapter VII, p. 205)

Some more Extracts from the novel...
"[...] ‘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 seen 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 [...]’" (Catherine: chapter IX, p. 213)
" - You teach me now how cruel you've been—cruel and false. Why did you despise me? Why did you betray your own heart, Cathy? I have not one word of comfort. You deserve this. You have killed yourself. Yes, you may kiss me, and cry; and wring out my kisses and tears: they'll blight you—they'll damn you. You loved me—then what right had you to leave me? What right—answer me—for the poor fancy you felt for Linton? Because misery and degradation, and death, and nothing that God or Satan could inflict would have parted us, you, of your own will, did it. I have not broken your heart—you have broken it; and in breaking it, you have broken mine. So much the worse for me that I am strong. Do I want to live? What kind of living will it be when you—oh, God! would you like to live with your soul in the grave?’

- ‘Let me alone. Let me alone,’ sobbed Catherine. ‘If I’ve done wrong, I'm dying for it. It is enough! You left me too: but I won't upbraid you! I forgive you. Forgive me!’

- ‘It is hard to forgive, and to look at those eyes, and feel those wasted hands,’ he answered. ‘Kiss me again; and don’t let me see your eyes! I forgive what you have done to me. I love my murderer—but yours! How can I?’ (Heathcliff and Catherine: chapter XV, p. 241)

Lifelong servant at Wuthering Heights
fanatically religious
hypocrite religious character
1) Mr. Lockwood has walked across the Moors to Wuthering Heights. He knocks upon the door and rattles the latch. Joseph pokes his head out of a window in the barn and says:
“’Whet are ye for?’ he shouted. ‘T’ maister’s dahn i’ t’ fowld. Goa rahnd by th’ end ut’ laith, if yah went tuh spake tull him.’”
“What do you want? The master’s down in the sheepfold. Go around by the end of the barn if you want to speak to him.”
2) Lockwood is taken into the house. There he meets young Catherine. Joseph comes into the room and says the following to young Catherine:
“Aw wonder hagh yah can faishion tuh stand thear i’ idleness un war, when all on ‘em’s goan aght! Bud yah’re a nowt, and it’s noa use talking – yah’ll niver mend uh yer ill ways: bud, goa raight tuh t’ divil, like yer mother afore you!”
“I wonder how you have the face to stand there in idleness and worse, when they’re all gone out. But you’re useless, and it’s no use talking – You’ll never mend your evil ways; but go straight to the devil like your mother before you.”
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