Wuthering Heights; Emily Brönte

Literatura universal inglesa. Narrativa. Novela romántica. Dramática. Argumento. Personajes

  • Enviado por: Rocco García Benítez
  • Idioma: inglés
  • País: España España
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WUTHERING HEIGHTS

Wuthering Heights begins in 1801. The story is being told by Nelly Dean. Nelly is the housekeeper of Thrushcross Grange. Lockwood writes a diary with the story that Nelly tells him. This diary forms the main story of the novel, a story about his strange landlord Heathcliff.

Nelly remembers when she was a servant at Wuthering Heights for Mr. Earnshaw and his family. Suddenly Mr. Earnshaw went to Liverpool and returned with an orphan boy. This dark-skinned boy was named Heathcliff. He will live with the Earnshaw children, named Hindley and the younger Catherine. At first the children don't accept him because of his dark skin, but gradually Catherine falls in love with him. The two grow inseparable and spend their days playing on the moor. Hindley is very cruel with his new “brother” and becomes more cruel after the death of his mother because his father prefers Heathcliff to him. Then, Mr. Earnshaw decides to send Hindley to college.

After 3 years, Mr. Earnshaw dies and Hindley inherits Wuthering Heights. Hindley returns to Wuthering Heights with Frances, his new wife. Immediately, he wants revenge on Heathcliff. Hindley begins to treat Heathcliff like a servant working in the fields. But Catherine and Heathcliff still keep a close relationship. One night, Catherine is bitten by a dog in Thrushcross Grange. She had gone to Thrushcross Grange with Heathcliff to tease the two children who live there, Edgar and Isabella Linton. Mrs. Linton tales care of Catherine for five weeks. During this time, she falls in love with Edgar. When she returns to Wuthering Heights she begins to have problems with Heathcliff.

Hindley's wife dies afters giving birth to a baby named Hareton. After her death Hindley begins to drink heavily. His cruelty went from bad to worst. On the other hand, Catherine decides to marry Edgar Linton because he has a high status. Then, Heathcliff runs away from Wuthering Heights and he returns three years later after Catherine and Edgar's marriage.

Heathcliff returns and wants revenge on Hindley. He has a mysterious wealth and he lends money to Hindley. In this way Hindley's hopelessness increases. Hindley eventually dies and Heathcliff inherits Withering Heights. Heathcliff marries Isabella Linton with the purpose of inheriting Thrushcross Grange. The marriage with Isabella is a cruel marriage because Heathcliff has a thirst for revenge that changes him into a bad person. At the same time Catherine gives birth to a daughter and dies. Heathcliff enters a hopelessness and begs her spirit to remain on Earth. Shortly there after, Isabella goes to London where she gives birth to Heathcliff's son, whom she names Linton.

Young Catherine lives under the care of Nelly Dean at Thrushcross Grange for thirteen years, unknowing of Wuthering Heights. One day she meets Hareton, after discovering the manor, in the moors and begins to play with him. Isabella dies and Linton come to live in Wuthering Heights with Heathcliff. Heathcliff is more cruel to Linton than to Isabella.

At Wuthering Heights, three years later, Catherine goes to meet Linton after meeting Heathcliff on the moors. Linton and Catherine begin a secret romance through letters. Then Catherine begins sneaking out at night after Nelly destroys her collection of Linton's letters. But Linton is only pursuing Catherine because Heathcliff force him to. Heathcliff wants to complete his revenge on Edgar Linton by having Catherine and Linton marry and thereby inheriting Thrushcross Grange. Suddenly, Edgar Linton begins to die. Heathcliff gets Linton and Catherine to come to Wuthering Heights where he holds them prisoners until they marry. Edgar dies afterwards and Linton dies shortly after from illness. Heathcliff now controls both Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange. Then Heathcliff makes Catherine a servant and rents Thrushcross Grange to Lockwood.

This is the end of Nelly's story and the reader is back in the present with Lockwood renting the manor. Lockwood is shocked by the story and returns to London. He returns six months later and visits Nelly. He learns that Catherine and Hareton have fallen in love while living in Wuthering Heights together. Heathcliff is obsessed with the elder Catherine and begins to speak to her ghost. Then Heathcliff dies after spending a night walking on the moors and Hareton inherits Withering Heights and Thrushcross Grange with Catherine. They decide to marry on the next New Year's Day. Lockwood visits the graves of Catherine and Heathcliff after hearing the end of the story.

One important theme in Wuthering Heights is the concept of change. The story deals with two lovers that do not wants to accepts the changes of time and cause problems because of this refusal. Their passion for one another is the source of the drama for the story and Nelly says their love is immoral because of its effects. In comparison, the love between the younger Catherine and Hareton is built on change. Hareton learns to read after the cruel treatment from Heathcliff and becomes a loyal friend to Catherine. Although they lack the passion of their elders, their story is not tragic. This idea of change is a very important theme in this story.

Another important theme in Wuthering Heights is the idea of social class. The Earnshaw's and Linton's are part of a social class named the gentry, similar to the upper-middle class. Theirs social positions are not poor, but they try to improve their status. There are many examples of social movements in Wuthering Heights. One example is the marriage of Catherine and Edgar, Catherine marries Edgar in order to advance her social position. Another example is Heathcliff story. He begins as an orphan but moves up in status when he is adopted by Mr. Earnshaw. This contrast happens again when Hindley returns to Wuthering Heights and forces Heathcliff to work in the fields. The differences between classes is also seen in the comments of Lockwood as Nelly tells him the story. Social status is very important to Lockwood.

Another theme in Wuthering Heights is closely tied with the symbol of nature. Nature is used as a symbol in the use of the moors where the two families live. The changes and wickedness of the moors is a symbol of the danger and wickedness of the love between Heathcliff and Catherine. Their love is dangerous because it goes against their “civilized” ways. When Catherine is bitten, the dog seems to sense the danger that Heathcliff and Catherine's love will bring the Linton family. The Linton family has a better social status than the Earnshaws in comparison. This destructive power of nature against culture plays a large role in the story.

Another theme in Wuthering Heights is closely tied with the symbol of nature. Nature is used as a symbol in the use of the moors where the two families live. The changes and wickedness of the moors is a symbol of the danger and wickedness of the love between Heathcliff and Catherine. Their love is dangerous because it goes against their “civilized” ways. When Catherine is bitten, the dog seems to sense the danger that Heathcliff and Catherine's love will bring the Linton family. The Linton family has a better social status than the Earnshaws in comparison. This destructive power of nature against culture plays a large role in the story.

The circular nature of the story's events is a technique that Brontë uses in Wuthering Heights. For example, the names of the children seem to be repetitions of their elders. This repetition is also shown in the treatment of Hareton by Heathcliff. His cruelty is only a repetition of the cruelty he was shown by Hindley.

My personal opinion is that Wuthering Heights deals with the important topic of change. One major characteristic of nature is change. Nature is a symbol of the passion between Heathcliff and Catherine. However, its destructive power results from its unnatural refusal of change. I believe Brontë is asking for a balance of passion and change. When a person can change with time and maintain his emotions, he will avoid the troubles that the two families in Wuthering Heights experienced.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Goodridge, J.F. Emily Brontë: Wuthering Heights. London, Edward Arnold, 1964.

Hewish, John. Emily Brontë. A critical and biographical study. New York, St. Martin's Press, 1969.

Vogle, Thomas A. Twentieth century interpretations of Wuthering Heights: A collection of critical essays. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, Prentire-Hall, 1968.

Willis, Irene Cooper. The authorship of Wuthering Heights. London, Dawson of Pall Mall, 1967.