“Nelly, I am Heathcliff! He’s always, always in my mind: not as a pleasure, anymore than I am always a pleasure to myself, but as my own being”. – Wuthering Heights
The Wuthering Heights, the only novel published of Emily Brontë in 1847. The novel appears as a great combination of Gothic and Realistic fiction. This tale of tragic romance will keep you mesmerized as you turn pages. The story takes place around two neighboring Yorkshire moors- Wuthering heights and Thrushcross Grange.
About the Author
Emily Brontë was born on July 30, 1818, in Yorkshire, England. She had immense love for reading and writing poetry and novels. During that era, people would not take a woman’s perspective very seriously. Therefore, Emily published her novel under the pseudonym “Ellis Bell”. She had published only one novel, that is, The Wuthering Heights, along with a couple of poetry compilations.
Just like other artists, Emily’s surroundings shaped her life and inspired her writing. Her mother had died when she was just three years old. Thus she built the characters of her book who also grew up without a mother. Also she loved hanging around the moors, enjoying her solitude by reading and writing with her siblings. Hence, she built the whole storyline around two neighboring moors.
“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.”
The Wuthering Heights illustrates the tragic romance between the male and female protagonist of the novel. That is- Heathcliff Earnshaw and Catherine Earnshaw, respectively. The story begins as Mr. Earnshaw, owner of Wuthering heights and Father of Catherine and Hindley brings home an orphan boy from Liverpool. Catherine grows instant liking for Heathcliff whereas her brother loathed him. Heathcliff and Catherine grow up playing wildly on the moors, until Mr. Earnshaw dies and Hindley takes over his farm and banishes Heathcliff to the stables.
The story takes a turn when Catherine and Heathcliff meet the Linton siblings. Edgar and Isabelle Linton live in Thrushcross Grange, near wuthering heights. They welcome Catherine but not Heathcliff. Once again, Heathcliff was treated as an outsider. As Catherine spends more time with Edgar Linton, making Heathcliff more and more jealous. Once Heathcliff overhears Catherine telling their house keeper Nelly that she would never marry Heathcliff. This made him furious and he left Wuthering heights for three years.
In the absence of Heathcliff, Catherine ends up marrying Edgar Linton. After he comes back he plans a revenge so that Catherine would come crawling back to him. Meanwhile, Catherine gives birth to a baby girl and in the process she dies. And from there begins a series of incidents on how he destroys everyone including Hindley, Isabelle, his own son Linton, Cathy and Edgar Linton.
Heathcliff Earnshaw: The male protagonist of the novel, whose strength of character and love for Catherine empowered him to raise himself to the status of a wealthy gentleman. But, it was Hindley’s constant abuse and betrayal that turned him into a monster. A person full of hatred and cruelty towards everyone.
Catherine Earnshaw: A proud woman who is torn between the love for Heathcliff and desire to live as a gentlewoman. Her decision to marry Edgar Linton drove Heathcliff away and to become vengeful.
Hindley Earnshaw: Catherine’s brother, whose constant abuse and hatred made Heathcliff such a bitter man from childhood. His revenge and jealousy from Heathcliff lost him everything he once held dear.
Edgar Linton: A well-mannered and a well-to-do gentleman of Thrushcross Grange. He becomes Heathcliff’s rival by falling in love and marrying Catherine, despite knowing the fact that Heathcliff loved her.
Isabelle Linton: Edgar Linton’s sister, whose crazy infatuation over Heathcliff destroyed Edgar and herself.
Nelly Dean: She is the narrator of this whole story. She worked as a housekeeper in the Wuthering heights.
Cathy Linton: She is the daughter of Catherine and Edgar Linton, who portrays the strengths and weakness of her mother.
Linton Heathcliff: The son of Heathcliff and Isabelle, who is weak and whiny. He became the the main puppet of Heathcliff in his revenge. He ended up marrying Cathy Linton.
Hareton Earnshaw: Son of Hindley Earnshaw, uneducated and unrefined but he still had a sense of pride in him. He was attracted towards Cathy but never showed. After Heathcliff dies, he is the sole mourner upon his death.
Impression of the Literature
On the surface, The Wuthering Heights seems like a love story. But as you dig deeper you will find it it more of a symbolic and psychological novel. You will find poetic proses as well as supernatural elements to it. It beautifully portrays the destruction power, that love posses. In order to conquer the love of his life the male protagonist went to every extent. The story of two people whose pride and societal norms became more important than love.
Set in the early seventeenth century, where women had very little rights to do something freely. In the era where women’s perspective was not taken seriously, Emily Brontë wrote this magnificent piece of literature, defying all the societal norms. Although initially, her work did not gain any critical acclaim nor any local popularity, but in the mid seventeen century, the opinions seemed to change. Subsequently, the readers became more diversified and took to the novel. They understood and accepted the harsh realities of Wuthering Heights just as it was.
Even though many critics are focused on explaining this book as abusive and semi-incest. You cannot start reading Wuthering Heights and stop it in-between. At last, the book has a supernatural happy ending where Heathcliff and Catherine finally became one after their death. And also, Cathy and Hareton get engaged to end this vicious cycle of revenge and agony.
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