Brief Summary of theNovel (*The adjective wuthering is in Yorkshire dialect for weathering = ÃÂ¬ÃÂ¡ÃÂ±ÃÂ¡ÃÂ¬ÃÂÃÂÃÂ¡. ) Mr.Earnshaw a farmer and owner of "Wuthering Heights" on the Yorkshire moors, brings home an orphan presumably a gipsy boy from Liverpool. They name him Heathcliff.
Catherine his daughter is immediately attracted to the boy while his son Hindley hates him and is jealous of him. When Mr.and Mrs.Earnshaw die and Hindley takes over the estate he subjects Heathcliff to every indignity possible thus transforming him into a brutal, violent vengeful being.
Wuthering Heights is built on rock and moor standing there against the incessant winds (the name is suggestive).By contrast another house Thrushcross Grange is nestled in a sheltered valley. Likewise the people living there are gentle and calm.Catherine finally marries Edgar Linton a gentleman from Thrushcross Grange despite her emotions for Heathcliff.
Heathcliff departs from Wuthering Heights and returns rich and looking like a gentleman.
Catherine and Heathcliff are more in love than ever. Catherine gives birth to Cathy. Struck by illness and mental turmoil Catherine dies. Heathcliff decides to avenge on Hindley and Edgar. He marries Edgars's sister Isabella and turns Hindley into a drunkard and a gambler winning all his property. Hindley has married Francies and has a son Hareton who is now left with nothing. Heathcliff and Isabella have a weakling son Linton. Isabella dies and Heathcliff marries his son Linton off to Cathy.
His final plan fails as his son dies. He himself is haunted by Catherine's ghost and longs to be united to her .Oddly enough he has feelings for Hareton who falls in love and marries Cathy. Love prevails. Justice and calm is restored.Heathcliff finds his peace in death.
THEME ÃÂ· W.H is a strange, agonizing, powerful novel.
The main theme of the book is revenge.
ÃÂ· It certainly is not a love story .The brutality and violence of the characters make it so different from the Victorian romantic novels of Emily Bronte's day.Also, Heathcliff is an anti-heroe , more like a villain and Catherine too is not a classical heroine but a stubborn, passionate woman.
The love between them is spiritual rather than physical and they are finally united only after they are both dead.
ÃÂ· There are many theories as to what the novel represents : 1. The story can be seen as one of crime and punishment .All characters sin in some way and are punished (except for Cathy and Hareton) 2. On the other hand the story also represents a conflict between storm and calm.Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange and their occupants represent storm and calm respectively. When these two elements clash there is hate and violence and harmony is restored only when Heathcliff gives up his desire for revenge and is united after death with Catherine.
3. Another theory is the conflict between good and evil (love and hate).As soon as Catherine despite her natural instincts marries Edgar chaos results.The good in Heathcliff is turned to evil. Finally, after 17 years, Heathcliff's revenge is drained away.He finds himself loving Hareton, the son of his enemy, and finds his peace only while waiting for his death to be united to Catherine.
Everything withers away -hate and ambition-love conquers all even Heathcliff in the end.
STYLE W.H is considered a great lyric poem.While the style is clear and simple it has tremendous vitality. It is a novel painted in powerful colours and vivid contrasts between the wild and brutal and the comfortable and gentlemanly (both for houses,settings and people).
STRUCTURE 1. The structure of W.H is as unconventional as its theme. Emily Bronte did not write the typical Victorian novel of normal people living normal everyday lives..He story is timeless.It deals with universal passions -love,hate and revenge.
2. Mr.Lockwood records what was told to him by Nelly Dean.The withholding of information in the beginning creates suspense 3. Later on we have the eyewitness account by Nelly Dean which gives dramatic intensity , freshness and vigour.
4. The entire action is confined to W,H.and T,Grange and the moors between.
5. The tone is somber.Only in the end when love has conquered all the gate is open and flowers fill the yard.The sun is setting and the moon rising, symbols of a new life.
CHARACTER ANALYSIS Heathcliff is the hero of the story.We may even say he is the story.
His love for Catherine around which the story evolves is fierce and inhuman.
Ironically enough he betrays human feelings only for Hareton - his enemy's son while his own son is a weakling.
On the one hand Heathcliff is victorious in his goal : he has gained money , power and both estates.He has destroyed his enemies and has fulfilled his revengeful feelings .
On the other hand, the death of his beloved Catherine has affected him immensely. He is haunted by her presence day and night.He is a pitiful sight and we can only feel sympathy for him in his anguish.
Catherine is a beautiful, wild, arrogant and passionate woman. As soon as she meets Heathcliff she feels he is a fellow conspirator and an affinity between them is established in their childhood. It is very important that she says she loves him because he" is more herself than she is". She suits Heathcliff.
Her love for Heathcliff and the moors is the ruling passion of her life.
Her visit to the Grange is a turning point in the story.She is very affected by the luxury and comfort and is carried away by the superficiality and worldliness of the people.She also feels the social gulf between herself and Heathcliff.
It is these feelings that make her turn away from her natural instincts and love of Heathcliff and eventually marry Edgar Linton.
Here we get a glimpse of Catherine' s dual personality.
The scene of Catherine's delirium is remarkable.We get the idea that only by giving and receiving pain can Catherine and Heathcliff express their love.They are one of a kind.Fierce, passionate wild human beings.