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Wuthering Heights

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Kelsey Anders

on 20 August 2013

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Transcript of Wuthering Heights

Emily Jane Brontë (1818-1848)
Grew up during both the Romantic and Victorian Era in the moors of Yorkshire, England

Published Wuthering Heights, her only novel, under the pseudonym Ellis Bell

Died a common death of Tuberculosis a year after Wuthering Heights' publication
Work in Historical Context
The Age of Romanticism
The Victorian Era
While Wuthering Heights was published during Queen Victoria's reign, the story told takes place roughly 75 years earlier in the Romantic Period.

Add in its author living in both these historic periods and you have a story full of romance, realism, and gothic themes.
Time of Publication
Wuthering Heights was published in 1847. The decision to publish was made after seeing the success of her sister Charlotte's novel Jane Eyre.
Original Language
Wuthering Heights was originally published in English, and has since been translated into twenty six languages.
Setting- Time
In the year 1801, Nelly tells Lockwood the story of Catherine and Heathcliff. This story starts in the 1770's.
Setting- Place
The entirety of Wuthering Heights takes place in and around two neighboring housing on the moors of Yorkshire, England.
Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange.
Plot Overview
Three years later, Mr. Earnshaw dies, and Hindley becomes the new owner of Wuthering Heights. He returns with a wife, Frances, and immediately returns to his old ways of hating Heathcliff. Heathcliff is forced to work in the fields, but still finds time to sneak off with Catherine. One night they wander over to Thrushcross Grange, planning to spy on the Lintons. There, Catherine is bitten by their guard dog and is forced to stay at the Grange to heal. During her five week stay, Mrs. Linton makes her a proper lady. By the time Catherine returns, she has become infatuated with the Linton's son, Edgar, and her relationship with Heathcliff grows more complicated.
Plot Overview
Three years later, Cathy meets Heathcliff on the moors, and makes a visit to Wuthering Heights to meet her other cousin, Linton. She and Linton begin a secret romance, and he asks her to come back and nurse him back to health. Too late, it becomes apparent that Heathcliff is forcing Linton to pursue Cathy in hopes of claiming the Grange if the two marry. Heathcliff lures Cathy to Wuthering Heights, and holds her prisoner until she agrees marries Linton. Soon after the marriage, both Cathy's father and husband die. Now, Heathcliff owns both Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange. He forces Cathy to serve him at Wuthering Heights, and rents the Grange to Lockwood.
Plot Overview
As the story reaches the present, Lockwood returns to London refusing to live under Heathcliff. He returns six months later to visit Nelly, and she tells him the final developments of the story. Heathcliff becomes increasingly distraught with the memory of his love, older Catherine. He begins speaking to her ghost. She's everywhere- in the moors, the manors, and his mind. After a night of walking through moors, Heathcliff dies. Hareton and Cathy plan on marrying after inheriting Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange. After hearing the end of the story, Lockwood pays a visit to the graves of Catherine and Heathcliff.
Lockwood’s and Nelly’s narrations are both past tense.
Brontë's mindset changed halfway through the novel. It was firstly pessimistic suggesting that Catherine and Heathcliff's love would be a waste if it would inevitably fall apart.
Her attitude then evolved into one of hope following Heathcliff's death where we see everyone move out from under his grasp.
While Lockwood is the one recording the story, it's Nelly's voice that he's using. She's classified as a First Person Peripheral Narrator because while she is neither a main character nor a protagonist, she has an excellent view of the action surrounding the main characters.
Point of View
Lockwood narrates the novel as an entry in his diary. He records a story told to him by Nelly, and he writes it through her voice.
Plot Overview
In 1801, a man named Lockwood rents a manor house called Thrushcross Grange in the moors of Yorkshire from a harsh, strange man named Heathcliff, who lives in the neighboring manor of Wuthering Heights, four miles away. Out of curiosity, Lockwood asks his housekeeper, Nelly Dean, to tell him about Heathcliff. Nelly agrees, and Lockwood records the story in his diary.
Plot Overview
As a young girl, Nelly worked as a servant at Wuthering Heights for Mr. Earnshaw and his family. One day, Mr. Earnshaw went to Liverpool and returns home with an orphan boy whom he names Heathcliff. At first, the Earnshaw children—a boy named Hindley and his younger sister Catherine—hate the gypsy boy, but Catherine quickly comes to love him, and the two soon grow inseparable. Even Mr. Earnshaw begins to prefer Heathcliff over his own son. As Hindley continues to go out of his way to show cruelty toward Heathcliff, Mr. Earnshaw sends Hindley away to college.
Plot Overview
When Hindley's wife, Frances, dies giving birth to their son, Hareton, Hindley turns toward alcohol and neglects his newborn son.
When Edgar proposes to Catherine, she accepts but only to guarantee her reputation be upheld. Truthfully, her true love has always been Heathcliff, and when he hears of the engagement he runs away from Wuthering Heights. He stays away for three years, and returns shortly after Catherine and Edgar’s marriage.
Plot Overview
Heathcliff returns, now a wealthy gentleman, and goes about seeking revenge on Hindley. Having become mysteriously wealthy, Heathcliff lends money to the drunken Hindley, knowing that Hindley will increase his debts and fall into a deeper depression. When Hindley dies, Heathcliff inherits Wuthering Heights. He also marries Isabella Linton to ensure he gets Thrushcross Grange. Later, Catherine dies giving birth to a daughter, and Heathcliff begs her spirit to remain on Earth. Even after she betrayed their love, he still loved her. Soon after, Isabella runs off and gives birth to Heathcliff’s son, Linton.
Plot Overview
Over the next thirteen years, Nelly serves as Catherine’s daughter’s chambermaid at Thrushcross Grange. Young Cathy grows up at the Grange with her father, and doesn't have any knowledge of Wuthering Heights. One day, she discovers the manor and meets her cousin, Hareton.

Soon afterwards, Isabella dies, and Linton comes to live with Heathcliff. Heathcliff treats his sick, dying son just as he treated the boy's mother.
"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
Wuthering Heights

Romantic literature is not reserved solely for love between to people, but also includes love of self and love of nature.
Women in distress
Supernatural elements
Scenes of passion and cruelty
Suspenseful atmosphere
Conflict appropriate for time period
Character growth
Real-world setting
"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[.]"
“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 can not live without my life! I can not live without my soul!

Manor house used in the 2009 PBS adaptation of Wuthering Heights.
List and Description of Characters
Ellen "Nelly" Dean:
Nelly is the housekeeper of Thrushcross Grange as the novel begins and is the servant of both Catherines. Intelligent and compassionate, she is more a relative to the characters than a servant.
List and Description of Characters
The new tenant at Thrushcross Grange who becomes wary of his landlord, Heathcliff, and those who work for him. Narrates the novel through a journal entry, recording Nelly Dean's story.
Characterized as vain and pretentious.
Paul Geoffrey; 1992 adaptation.
Sarah Lancashire; 2009 PBS adaptation.
List and Description of Characters
Mr. Earnshaw:
The father of Hindley and Catherine, and adopted father of Heathcliff.
Favors Heathcliff above Hindley, which leads to the harsh feelings between the two boys.
Kevin McNally; 2009 PBS adaption.
List and Description of Characters
Hindley Earnshaw:
Catherine's older brother. He hates Heathcliff because his father prefers Heathcliff over him.When his wife, Frances, dies, he descends into gambling and drinking. Heathcliff gets his revenge on Hindley by buying Wuthering Heights from him.
Burn Gorman; 2009 PBS adaptation.
List and Description of Characters
Catherine Earnshaw-Linton:
The daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Earnshaw. She falls overwhelmingly in love with Heathcliff, her "adopted" brother. However, her desire for social advancement becomes her reason to marry Edgar Linton instead. Catherine is free-spirited and beautiful, spiteful and childish. Her inner conflict throughout the novel is summed up of her passion for Heathcliff and her social reputation. She dies giving birth to Edgar Linton's daughter, Catherine "Cathy" Linton.
Charlotte Riley; 2009 PBS adaptation.
List and Description of Characters
A gypsy boy who falls passionately in love with Mr. Earnshaw’s daughter, Catherine. Following Mr. Earnshaw death, his son, Hindley, treats Heathcliff as a servant. When Catherine marries Edgar instead of Heathcliff, he dedicates most of his life to seeking revenge on Hindley, Hindley's son Hareton, his love Catherine, and her daughter Cathy. He marries Isabella Linton to both spite Catherine and to guarantee his inheritance of Thrushcross Grange. He despises his son, Linton Heathcliff, and uses him to aid in her revenge.
Tom Hardy; 2009 PBS adaptation.
Mrs. Earnshaw:
Catherine and Hindley’s mother, who despises Heathcliff almost as much as Hindley. She dies less than 2 years after Heathcliff’s arrival.
Hindley's wife, who dies giving birth to their son, Hareton. Characterized as childish and empty-headed.
Sia Berkeley; 2009 PBS adaptation.
List and Description of Characters
Edgar Linton:
Catherine's husband. His wealth attracted Catherine. He is spoiled and cowardly, yet proper and tender to Catherine and their daughter.
Andrew Lincoln; 2009 PBS adaptation.
List and Description of Characters
Isabella Linton-Heathcliff:
Edgar Linton’s sister, who falls in love with Heathcliff and marries him. Heathcliff never reciprocates her feelings, and uses Isabella as a tool in his revenge scheme. Isabella runs away and gives birth to his son, Linton Heathcliff.

Rosalind Halstead; 2009 PBS adaptation.
List and Description of Characters
Linton Heathcliff:
Heathcliff and Isabella's son. Weak and forever on his death bed, he is raised in London by Isabella; he goes to live with his father at the age of thirteen when his mother dies. Heathcliff despises Linton and forces him to marry the young Catherine (Cathy) so he can maintain his inheritance of Thrushcross Grange. Linton dies soon after him and Cathy marry.
Tom Payne; 2009 PBS adaptation.
List and Description of Characters
Catherine "Cathy" Linton:
The daughter of Catherine and Edgar. When she is trapped into marrying Linton she goes to live at Wuthering Heights with Heathcliff. His hatred and treatment towards her changes her from headstrong and free-spirited like her mother to reserved and bitter like Heathcliff. That is, until her friendship (and soon marriage) with Hareton brings out her prior characteristics.
Known as Catherine Heathcliff after her first marriage to Linton, and Catherine Earnshaw after her second marriage to Hareton.

Rebecca Night; 2009 PBS adaptation.
List and Description of Characters
Hareton Earnshaw:
The son of Hindley and Frances Earnshaw. His father neglects him, and after Hindley dies Heathcliff raises him as a field worker. Although uneducated, Hareton has a good heart and is even on of the few Heathcliff respects. At the end of the novel, he marries Cathy.
Andrew Hawley; 2009 PBS adaptation.
I found Heathcliff to be the protagonist of Wuthering Heights, not because he was the hero we expect stories to have, but because he was the hero of his own life. He took all the sneering comments of his gypsy-hood, all the cruel ways Hindley treated him, and all the heartache Catherine left him drowning in and despite it all he returned a wealthy gentleman.
While I went back and forth on this aspect of the book quite a bit, I've come to the conclusion that Hindley was the ultimate antagonist. He didn't work against Heathcliff throughout the entirety of the novel, but his actions toward Heathcliff from the very beginning was what prompted the revenge that was later sought after him.
Never Changing Love:
Love was the main focal point of the novel as most of the major conflicts were centered around both Catherine and Heathcliff's love and Cathy and Hareton's love. The difference between the two, other than their success rate, was the growth between the two lovers in both cases. Early in the novel, Hareton is portrayed as illiterate and sullen, but over time he becomes loyal to Cathy and, with her help, learns to read. Similarly, when Cathy first meets Hareton she acts if she is above him. Later, her attitude evolves from contempt to love. In contrast, Heathcliff maintains his unforgiving nature and somehow holds the same grudges for years. Likewise, Catherine refuses to let go of the idea of Heathcliff during her marriage to Edgar.
The majority of the novel's conflicts can be traced back to someone's desire for revenge, and it's this desire that repeats again and again. It starts with Hindley denying Heathcliff an education when Heathcliff wins Mr. Earnshaw's favortism. From there, Heathcliff and Catherine are seperated because Heathcliff is now a mere field worker who will never amount to Catherine's standards. Heathcliff then takes revenge upon Hindley by taking ownership of Wuthering Heights and then by denying an education to Hareton, Hindley's son. Heathcliff also seeks revenge on Edgar for marrying Catherine by marrying Cathy to Linton.
Like The Count of Monte Cristo, while Heathcliff's revenge is effective, it doesn't bring much happiness to him. Cathy sees this, and tells Heathcliff that her revenge on him, no matter how miserable he makes her, is to know that he is far more miserable than she.

Timeless Questions
Why is it better to have loved and lost as opposed to never loving at all?

Brontë's attitude toward Heathcliff and Catherine's love seemed to think otherwise, finding that the loss and heartbreak that Heathcliff endures was a waste and could have been easily avoided. Despite her feelings, Heathcliff begs Catherine's soul to remain with him regardless of the pain. Like Heathcliff, I would prefer to experience the curiosities, joys, fears, and pain that an emotion like love brings rather than exist in a world completely ignorant of such things. If we all lived without knowing love it wouldn't be a life worth living, and the principle of creating a worthwhile existence is what I think, and hope, we're all here for.
Overall Reaction to the Work
Once I got past the seemingly endless number of characters, the book was phenomenal. I found myself thanking Brontë for creating such a genuine love between two of the most flawed people I've ever read about. Upon finishing, I thought I would be disappointed that Heathcliff and Catherine didn't 'live happily ever after', but that wasn't the case. I was satisfied with the ending, and I was happy, not only for Cathy and Hareton, but even for Heathcliff who could finally rest peacefully by Catherine's side. Everyone should take the time to read Wuthering Heights; it will leave you speechless.
Portrait by Patrick Branwell Brontë, restored by Michael Armitage
"[I] listened to the soft wind breathing through the grass; and wondered how any one could ever imagine unquiet slumber for the sleepers in that quiet earth."
Full transcript