Study notes on Wuthering Heights

Essay by sophia_lispectator June 2005

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Wuthering Heights is Emily Bronte's first and last novel. It is an extraordinary book, related in no way to the fiction of the time, which is not surprising having in mind the life that its author led. Emily was one of Rev. Patrick Bronte's six children, all of which, together with their mother died of consumption. They were a tightly knit family, they kept mostly to themselves, however, records show that all of them except for Emily were sociable. Emily was a shy and eccentric virile, who led a retiring humdrum life, and knew little of the people and the world. Therefore, many have thought it impossible for her to have written such a passionate and powerful book. However, these doubts are groundless since Wuthering Heights depict no actual experience of the world. It is a product of the workings of a wildly romantic mind. Its flights of imaginations, its indulgence in the uncanny, passion and violence are typical offshoot of repressed emotions experienced by a young woman leading a solitary life.

What is atypical is its construction. The book is clumsily constructed, which is not surprising since Emily hadn't written a novel before. The story begins at the end, goes back to the beginning and develops therewith, which makes it more compact. However, the author opted for a complicated story to tell with two sets of characters and events, and in doing so she had to be careful not to allow one set to outshine the other. For example, the younger Catherine is an unsatisfactory character in comparison with her mother. She is silly, willful, ill-mannered, and one cannot greatly pity her sufferings. Young Hareton is a shadowy figure and we don't know much about him apart from the fact that he's sullen and handsome.

On the other...