Major Works Data Sheet Courtney Fish
*Title: Wuthering Heights
*Author: Emily Brontë
*Publication Date: 1847
*Genre: Wuthering Heights is a Gothic novel with aspects of realist fiction.
I. Historical information about the period of publication
Wuthering Heights was written and published during 1846 and 1847 in England. During this
time, Europe, specifically Ireland, experienced the Great Famine. The famine was concentrated
in Ireland, but it affected England as well. At the beginning of the book, when the Mr. Earnshaw
brings Heathcliff home it is reasonable to assume that his family was a victim of the Great
Famine. The famine caused a large surge of immigration to the United States. This wave of
immigration could be the explanation for the secluded feeling most of the characters experience.
Specifically in England, the economy was depressed. Working conditions were so appalling that
the upper and middle class feared there would be a violent revolt.
II. Biographical information about the author
Emily Brontë was born in Yorkshire to Patrick Brontë and Maria Branwell. Maria Bronte died in
1821, and after her death Emily spent her time writing. She lived in a poverty-stricken moor
town with her father, brother, and sisters. The moors played an important part in Emily’s life.
Emily and her sister, Charlotte, attended school at Cowan Bridge. In 1837 Emily became a
Governess. She traveled to Brussels to learn foreign languages and school management. She
later returned home after the death of her Aunt Branwell. Here she wrote Wuthering Heights.
Emily died of Tuberculosis in 1848.
III. Characteristics of the genre
Characteristics of a Gothic novel include: supernatural elements, a dark foreboding atmosphere,
evokes strong emotion in readers, the presence of a villain and/or damsel in distress, a narrative
that is told by multiple narrators, a hidden or double reality, a disturbance in the balance of life
and death, dream and reality, or rationality and insanity, and events that cannot be rationalized by
The characteristics of Realist Fiction include: characters that face problems that are within the
range of what is possible in real life, a realistic setting, and it poses some kind of moral question
that a person may face in life. Characters in realistic fiction resemble real people that participate
and carry out “normal” lives.
Critics consider Wuthering Heights to be a Gothic novel that contains elements of realistic
fiction. The novel has a foreboding atmosphere, evokes strong emotions in readers, the narrative
changes perspectives, the balance between life and death, dream and reality, and rationality and
insanity are disturbed, and there is a villain-like character. The story resembles that of a real life
scenario with realistic events and characters.
*Narrative switches from the perspective of Mr. Lockwood to Ms. Dean, and then back to Mr.
Lockwood (the majority is told by Ms. Dean)
* The characters disrupt the balance between the life and death, dream and reality, and rationality
and insanity. (Specifically when Heathcliff curses Catherine, making sure she will haunt him
until his death) (The actions of the characters suggest that the line separating dream and reality,
and rationality and insanity has been blended)
*Heathcliff = villain-like character
IV. Plot Summary
In 1801, a man named Mr. Lockwood rents a house called Thrushcross Grange in the
moos of England. The book opens with Mr. Lockwood meeting his landlord Heathcliff, a
wealthy man who lives some miles from Thrushcross Grange in Wuthering Heights. After the
encounter with Heathcliff and the other inhabitants of Wuthering Heights, Lockwood asks his
housekeeper, Nelly Dean, to tell him about his strange neighbors.
Nelly begins by reminiscing about her childhood at Wuthering Heights. She worked as a
servant for the owner, Mr. Earnshaw, and his family. She specifically remembers a day when
Earnshaw travels to Liverpool and returns with an orphan boy, whom he planned to raise like his
own children. Hindley, Earnshaw’s son, immediately hates Heathcliff, the orphan. Catherine,
Earnshaw’s daughter, shows hatred towards Heathcliff in the beginning, but soon grows to love
him. They become inseparable. 3 years later Earnshaw dies, and Hindley becomes the owner of
Hindley returns to Wuthering Heights from college with the intent to seek revenge on
Heathcliff. Catherine and Heathcliff wander to Thrushcross Grange, with the intent to bother the
children that live there, Edgar and Isabella. While there Catherine is bitten by a dog and forced to
remain at Thrushcross Grange until she has healed. During her stay at Thrushcross Grange Mr.
Linton forces Catherine to become a proper young lady. When Catherine returns she has become
infatuated with Edgar, and her relationship with Heathcliff becomes complicated. Hindley’s wife
dies giving birth to a baby, Hareton. This tragedy cause Hindley’s abuse of Heathcliff to
intensify. Catherine, in an attempt to gain social status or “society”, becomes engaged to Edgar
Linton, despite her love for Heathcliff. Heathcliff, as a result of the engagement, runs away for 3
years. He returns to seek revenge on the people who have wronged him.
Hindley dies and Heathcliff inherits Wuthering Heights. Heathcliff marries Isabelle to
both place himself in the line of inheritance for Thrushcross Grange and to bother Edgar and
Catherine Linton. He treats Isabelle awfully. Catherine gives birth to a daughter, Catherine, and
then dies. Heathcliff curses Catherine’s spirit when she dies. He begs her to haunt him until he
dies. Shortly after Catherine’s death, Isabelle flees, gives birth to a son, and names him Linton.
Nelly accounts for thirteen years as she serves as young Catherine’s nursemaid.
Catherine grows up oblivious to Wuthering Heights, despite their close proximity. One day, as
Catherine is wandering through the moors, she discovers Wuthering Heights. Afterword, Isabella
dies and Linton comes to live with Catherine and Edgar Linton. Heathcliff discovers the
presence of Linton and demands he be moved to Wuthering Heights. Heathcliff treats his son
with more cruelty than he treated Isabella and treats Hareton. Catherine soon forgets Linton.
Several years later Catherine meets Heathcliff, and she makes a trip to Wuthering Heights, and
there she is reunited with Linton. Heathcliff conjectures that he can attempt to unite the two with
marriage. Linton, being sickly, will not live much longer and this would make Heathcliff the heir
to Thrushcross Grange.
Catherine and Linton begin a kind of romance entirely through letters. Linton wishes for
Catherine to nurse him back to health, and she begins sneaking out. Eventually, it becomes rather
apparent that Linton only loves Catherine because Heathcliff is forcing him to. Edgar Linton
falls ill. Heathcliff then lures Nelly and Catherine to Wuthering Heights, where he holds them
hostage. Heathcliff refuses to let them go until Catherine marries Linton. She agrees and they get
married; however she does not get released. Catherine escapes, and rushes to Thrushcross
Grange and her dying father. Edgar Linton dies. Heathcliff becomes the owner of Thrushcross
Grange and Wuthering Heights. Linton becomes ill and dies. Catherine is then forced to become
a servant at Wuthering Heights. This concludes the narration of Nelly Dean. Lockwood, at the
conclusion of the narration, feels appalled and moves to London.
Several months later Lockwood returns to settle his renting issues with Heathcliff. There
he learns more of the story. Catherine, who previously taunted Hareton for his illiteracy and
ignorance, becomes rather fond of Haerton. Heathcliff grows increasingly deluded and obsessed.
He focuses on the elder, deceased Catherine so much that he begins to speak to and see her
ghost. He stops eating and sleeping. Heathcliff dies. Catherine and Hareton fall in love and have
set a date to get married. Nelly, Catherine, and Haerton live in Wuthering Heights. After hearing
and seeing the conclusion of the story, Lockwood goes to visit the graves of the elder Catherine
and Heathcliff. (My book didn’t have the full page for the last two pages, so this is what I
gathered from the end)
**Rising actions: Heathcliff’s arrival at Wuthering Heights, Hindley’s abuse of Heathcliff,
Heathcliff and Catherine grow close, she claims that she cannot marry him because it would
“degrade” her, Heathcliff runs away
**Climax: Catherine’s death
** Falling actions: Heathcliff and Isabella have a child, Isabella dies, Heathcliff forces Catherine
to marry Linton, Edgar Linton dies, Linton dies, and Catherine and Hareton grow close
Resolution: Heathcliff dies, supposedly joining Catherine in the afterlife; Catherine and Hareton
are engaged to be married on New Year’s Day. (Promising an end to an awful cycle, coincidently
they are to be married on New Year’s)
V. Describe the author’s style (think diction, syntax, tone)
Bronte employs the use of repetition, antithesis, doubles, colloquialism, tone, and a variety of
rhetorical and literary techniques.
A. Examples to illustrate the style
Repetition: Bronte uses repetition throughout the novel. She writes in cycles, making the
younger characters repeat the mistakes of the older characters. She repeats the names. She
repeats the plot. * Hindley abuses Heathcliff, Heathcliff abuses Hareton**Catherine taunts
Heathcliff, Catherine taunts Hareton**Catherine marries Edgar because of money/social status,
Catherine marries Linton**Catherine Love Heathcliff, Catherine loves Hareton*
Doubles: Bronte organizes her characters and setting into pairs. There are two narrators, Nelly
and Lockwood. Catherine and Heathcliff are almost identical; they claim to each be the other one
and the other ones’ soul. The elder Catherine and the younger Catherine are strikingly similar,
but incredibly different at the same time. Heathcliff and Hareton are similar, but different. There
are two households Wuthering Heights and Thruscross Grange. Two families, the Lintons and
Bronte varies the tone of the novel. She begins with a certain tone in the beginning, a dark and
stormy, and ends with an antithetical tone, hopeful and light. The beginning seems to carry a
doomed feeling while the ending ends with the promise of renewal.
The speeches of Nelly, Joseph, and Hareton all represent the colloquialism in the novel. (Dialect
VI. Memorable Quotations
A. Quotations and explanations
1.” 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 [Edgar’s] is as different as a
moonbeam from lightning, or frost from fire.” Catherine gives Nelly this speech, and
Heathcliff hears. This quotation shows the destructiveness of societal pressures. Catherine,
while explaining why she loves Heathcliff, explains the destructiveness of unchanging love.
She loves Heathcliff because he is more herself than her. She is unwilling to accept what
makes other people different and therefore is doomed to be unhappy. She also exclaims “I
2. “and I was miserable and bitter at everybody; but now I thank you, and beg you to forgive
me: what else can I do?” Catherine begs Hareton for forgiveness. She understands she has
done the wrong thing by taunting him, and she wishes to make it right. This embraces the
theme. Catherine accepts the difference of others, and she will supposedly live a happy life.
It also exemplifies the fact that Catherine herself has changed.
3. “I love my murderer” Heathcliff exclaims this to Catherine on her deathbed. This follows a
long speech in which Heathcliff explains to Catherine why she should die after all the wrongs
she had committed towards him.( *loving him, but marrying Edgar, degrading him, and
causing death**)By saying “I love my murderer”, Heathcliff is saying she will be the end of
him. He claims she is to blame for their separation, which she cannot bear. This is just
previous to the climax, and can be seen as one of the last rising actions.
VII. Characters (Pick at least two)
1. Nelly Dean 2. Hareton Earnshaw
B. Role in story and C. Significance and D. Descriptors
1. Nelly plays multiple roles in the story. She acts as a nursemaid, a servant, and a friend to
almost all the other extended characters. The majority of the novel is from Nelly’s point of view,
making her the narrator. Nelly acts as an instigator, set up conflicts between some of the
characters. Nelly cannot be seen as an objective narrator because she is entirely too involved
with the other characters in the story. Some critics argue that Nelly represents society. She never
mentions a husband; she has a job and a house to keep. She constantly complains about the
Earnshaws and the Lintons, but she never quits her job. These examples indicate her role as
society because they are pressures society place on women. Other critics argue that Nelly is the
true villain in Wuthering Heights because of the violence and instability she describe.
(James Hafley, "The Villain in Wuthering Heights," Nineteenth-Century Fiction, Vol. 13, No. 3.
(Dec., 1958), pp. 199-200.)
2. Hareton demonstrates the main theme of the novel. His actions throughout the novel prove
that life is a process of change. The other characters represent the destructiveness of the inability
to change. He acts as a friend, a servant, and then an inheritor. Readers consider Hareton as a
dynamic character. He seems savage like, brutal, and is illiterate. Hareton, in an attempt to
impress Catherine, tries to learn how to read. He experience growth throughout the novel.
Catherine and Hareton’s love breaks the cycle of the ill-fated love of Heathcliff and the elder
Catherine. The relationship between Catherine and Hareton parallels the relationship between
Heathcliff and the elder Catherine. Heathcliff’s abuse of Hareton parallels Hindley’s abuse of
Heathcliff. Bronte uses the character of Hareton as one of her many doubles.
VIII. Setting (think details)
Yorkshire, England. Two secluded neighboring houses, Wuthering Height and Thrushcross
A. Significance of opening scene
In the beginning scenes, the readers are introduced to Lockwood, who is not an active member of
the story. Lockwood describes the scenery through the majority of the opening. He gives the
most description of Wuthering Heights and the surrounding moorland. He pauses at several
details that contribute to the novel’s tone. Lockwood specifically stops and describes the name
and date across the top of the principal door. The door read “1500 Hareton Earnshaw”. This
foreshadows the important role the younger Hareton will have, almost suggesting to the reader
that he hold the key to solving the conflict.
B. Significance of closing scene
In the closing scene, Mr. Lockwood, during his walk home, visits the kirks. The kirks remain the
burial place for Edgar Linton, the elder Catherine, and Heathcliff. Catherine’s burial place
illuminates the conflicts that she had during her lifetime. She is not buried with her family the
Earnshaws, and she is not buried with her husband, Edgars’ family either. This suggests she did
not know who she was, haha possibly from all the marriage within the same family. The position
in which che is buried, between Edgar and Heathcliff, represents the conflict she had during her
life. Catherine’s conflicts included her marriage to Edgar because he was socially acceptable,
and her unyielding love for Heathcliff because they were “the same person”. The decay
represented on Catherine’s headstone shows the passage of time, but also suggests that while she
may decay outwardly Heathcliff’s assumption that her soul will forever remain the way it was
may be valid. ***“The Mental Traveller” by William Blake, The poem at the beginning of
Grendel, symbolically represents the Celestial and passionate bodies. The Celestial body grows
older, while the Passionate body remains young. Often, the Celestial body must be rescued by
the Spirit. As the Celestial body ages it becomes the personification of evil. This philosophical
idea resembles the theories and actions of the characters. ***The closing scene also symbolizes
the end of the repeated destructive love cycle, and leaves the reader with different interpretations
Setting: Many critics consider the moors to be a symbol in Wuthering Heights. There is emphasis
placed on the moors surrounding Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange. (Moor: a tract of
open uncultivated upland; a heath.) The land is infertile, soggy, and unnaturally uniform. The
characters fear the moors because they are hard to navigate and there are several places where
people can drown. The moors symbolize the unknown, danger, nature. The moors symbolize the
danger of nature, both actual nature and human nature. Catherine and Heathcliff’s relationship
begins in the moors foreshadowing the destructiveness of their love.
Ghosts: The ghosts in Wuthering Heights represent the effect memories have on people. Their
presence suggests that the past and present intertwine, and that the past effects everyday life.
The effects of social class: Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange are isolated from
society, but the inhabitants are concerned with their social status. Catherine will not marry
Heathcliff because he is a gypsy. The younger Catherine taunts Hareton for his low society.
Both the elder and younger Catherine focuses too heavily on the class of their partner, and in turn
they both end up marrying the wrong man. The diction which individual characters use further
separates the classes. Wuthering Height
The destructiveness of stagnant love: The relationship between Catherine and Heathcliff never
evolves, which ultimately leads to their downfalls. The elder Catherine never individually
evolves. Heathcliff, a dynamic character, changes but does not evolve until the closing of the
novel. The elder Catherine and Heathcliff love each other because they claim they are the same
person. This shows their inability to change, and to accept the difference of others.