Wuthering Heights

Wuthering Heights is the only novel by Emily Brontë’s. But this one is enough to be considered as the beautiful and wonderful expression of her poetic vision. The novel was considered to be extremely bold at that time—it is not the sort of novel that a gently-bred Victorian lady would be expected to write. Publishers had rejected it saying that it is insane and obsessed with cruelty.

Though it is often referred to as story of love, I have always felt that it was full of hate. There was too much of hate even in love! But the way the emotions are handled in the book is really interesting! Each of the characters in the story has a distinct dominant streak. For example I found Heathcliff  cruel, untamed, volatile, wild, menacing, dangerous, and brooding. He is capable of deep-seeded hatred, and incapable of any kind of forgiveness or compromise. He establishes his great love of Catherine and shows resentment towards many other characters with the same intensity.

I started off by writing the entire story, but then decided to keep it small and sweet just enough to give a gist of what the story is about. The reason is that as I started writing the review, I realized that this is a book of character, romance, violence, social values and you really should explore all that for yourself. Each one of you will have a different opinion about the book. I first read a very short, condensed version of the book when I was in school (probably in the 8th grade) and I have read it more than 10 times since then. Each time I made a different opinion about the characters and the story in general.

The Story in brief: Wuthering Heights is the name of the farm that belongs to Earnshaw. Once when he went to Liverpool on a business trip, he found a little boy who had been abandoned on the streets. Kind as he was, he brought the child home with him and named him Heathcliff after a son of his who had died. Catherine became friendly with him but Hindley feels as though Heathcliff had taken his place.

Wuthering Heights is the unusual love story between Cathy and Heathcliff in the Yorkshire Moors. Cathy and Heathcliff seem to be made for each other but one day Cathy meets handsome Edgar, is attracted by him and tells that to her nanny. Heathcliff listens to, feels betrayed and disappears. Years later he comes back a rich man only to see that Cathy married to Edgar.

All he wants now is revenge. At first, he ruins Cathy brother completely, takes power over his son and seduces Edgars sister. Both couples have a child each. Highlight of Heathcliff´s revenge is that he forces his son to marry the daughter of Catherine. He seems to be like the devil but everything he does is the result of his unique love for Catherine.

Characters

Ellen Dean has been a servant with the Earnshaws and the Lintons for all her life, and knows them better than anyone else. Probably that is the reason she does justice being one of the main narrators. She is fondly called Nelly by Mr. Earnshaw, Catherine, and Heathcliff.

Lockwood is another narrator of the novel.

Mr. Earnshaw is fairly well-off farmer with few pretensions. But he is extremely kinds at heart. This is proved by the fact that he takes in Heathcliff  into the family and is raised with his children despite the protests from his family. He has two children, daughter Catherine and a son Hindley. He is a stern father.

Heathcliff seems to represent the wild and untamed person in this book. No one knows about his past bust have taken for granted that he is dangerous for society. He is totally devoted to Catherine and that is the moving force in his life that keeps him going. He also has an equally strong hatred for all those who stand between him and Catherine. In between we can see glimpses of a hungry, abandoned child.

Catherine is Mr. Earnshaw’s daughter (Hindley’s sister). Cathy as she is fondly called is beautiful and charming, but she is not civilized as she pretends to be as she is an unruly temper. She is extremely wild and a little cruel at times. She grew up playing on the moors with Heathcliff (who happens to be her foster brother and beloved). Edgar, her husband calls her Catherine.

Hindley is the only son of Mr. and Mrs. Earnshaw. He is Catherine’s older brother. He has always been a discontented boy. He hates Heathcliff because he felt jealous of his father’s affections for the other boy. In return, Heathcliff hates him even more in Hindley. grows up to be violent and turns alcoholic when his beloved wife (Frances) dies.

Edgar Linton marries Catherine Earnshaw. Edgar is just opposite to Heathcliff—he is a gentle, well bred and a refined man. He is a patient husband and a loving father. His only flaw is that he has a tendency to be cold and unforgiving when his dignity is hurt.

Catherine Linton is the daughter of the Catherine and Edgar Linton. She has all her mother’s charm without her wildness. But this does not mean that she is submissive and spiritless.  Her father, Edgar calls her Cathy. Catherine marries Linton Heathcliff and then marries Hareton.

Isabella Linton is Edgar’s younger sister. Before her marriage, she was pretty, quick-witted but a little foolish. She marries Heathcliff and they have a son name Linton. She has a very unhappy marriage as Heathcliff  never treats her with love or dignity. She starts hating Heathcliff with all her heart— an element of cruelty in her character brought by the unhappy marriage and her husband’s misbehavior.

Linton is the son of Heathcliff and Isabella. He is a combination of the worst characteristics of both parents. He is extremely weak, cruel, and manipulative. His father despises him. Linton marries Catherine (Jr.) and dies soon after. 

Hareton Earnshaw is the son of Hindley and Frances he marries Catherine  (Jr.) after Linton’s death. He is rough, rustic and uncultured. He grows up to be like Heathcliff, but is more sweet-tempered and forgiving.

Zillah is the housekeeper at Wuthering Heights after Hindley’s death and before Heathcliff’s. She doesn’t particularly understand the people she lives with, and stands in marked contrast to Ellen, who is deeply invested in them. She is an impatient but capable woman.

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