Wuthering Heights Emilie Bronte Essay, Research Paper
Wuthering Heights is the only book Emily Bronte ever wrote. It is a very powerful story about love and hate and sorrow and death. It spans thirty years and is all narrated by, first Mr. Lockwood, and more importantly, Ellen Dean, the faithful housekeeper.
At the beginning of the book, Mr. Lockwood had just arrived at Thrushcross Grange as a tenant. He went to see Mr. Heathcliff, the man he was renting the house from. When he arrives at Wuthering Heights, he meets a young lady the he assumes to be Heathcliff’s wife. However, Heathcliff tells him that she is not his wife, but his daughter-in-law. When he then meets a young man, he naturally assumes it to be Heathcliff’s son, but again Heathcliff tells him that he is wrong. Heathcliff makes it very clear that Mr. Lockwood is not welcome. However, Mr. Lockwood vows to visit Wuthering Heights a second time. The next day he does visit Wuthering Heights again and is snowed in over there. He spent the night in a room with three diaries in it – one labeled Catherine Earnshaw, one, Catherine Heathcliff and the last, Catherine Linton. That night he dreams he hears Catherine’s spirit at the window, and after hearing that, Heathcliff throws open the window and implores her to come in. Mr. Lockwood leaves early the next morning and catches cold. He is bedridden for the next few weeks and asks Ellen Dean to tell him what she knows about the people residing at Wuthering Heights. She agrees.
The story really began with Mr. Earnshaw and his son, Hindley and daughter, Catherine. Mr. Earnshaw left town on business and brought back with him an orphan they named Heathcliff. Heathcliff soon turned out to be Mr. Earnshaw’s favorite and he and Catherine became great friends. Hindley despised him for that. When Mr. Earnshaw died, Hindley returned from school married and took over as the master and treated Heathcliff awfully. His quick mind was dulled and he and Catherine became very rebellious. One day, they were over at Thrushcross Grange and saw Edgar and Isabella Linton. They saw Heathcliff and Catherine and thought they are burglars. Edgar sicced his dog on them and Catherine was injured. She stayed at the Grange for a few weeks and returned to Wuthering Heights a sophisticated lady with a furious temper and attitude. Hindley’s wife, Frances gave birth to a child named Hareton and then died shortly after. Catherine and Edgar continued correspondence and when he asked Catherine to marry him, she accepted even though she still loved Heathcliff. She told Ellen that she couldn’t marry Heathcliff because he was a ruffian. Heathcliff overheard, left, and was gone for three years.
When Heathcliff returned, he was an educated gentleman with money. He stayed with Hindley and became the mortgaged to Wuthering Heights. Catherine and Heathcliff picked up their friendship and Isabella developed a crush on Heathcliff. Edgar developed a deep hatred of Heathcliff. Catherine became upset because she felt that she couldn’t be friends with Heathcliff and be married to Edgar. She also admitted that she would always love Heathcliff. Heathcliff eloped with Isabella after having a fight with Catherine. Edgar was furious and disowned Isabella. Catherine was furious at Edgar for driving Heathcliff away and at Heathcliff for marrying Isabella. She fasted for three days and was taken sick with a brain fever. Heathcliff went to see her and they had a very passionate meeting. Catherine died that night after giving birth to a little girl named Cathy. Isabella left Heathcliff and had a son she named Linton. Hindley died leaving Heathcliff as the master of Wuthering Heights.
Ellen Dean skipped ahead twelve years in her narrative. Isabella died and Linton was coming to live with Edgar and Cathy. On an expedition to Penistone Crags, Cathy had her first encounter with Hareton and Heathcliff. She was distressed to learn that Hareton was her cousin because he had been brought up as a brute by Heathcliff. Hareton was without education or knowledge. He couldn’t even read or write. Cathy said something about Linton coming home and Heathcliff heard about it. Heathcliff sent for Linton immediately. Cathy didn’t see Linton for another three years after that. When she did see him, they started a correspondence. Soon after, Heathcliff forced them to marry. Edgar died subsequently. Linton died soon after that. Hareton and Cathy fought a lot, but soon they decided to become friends. She started to teach him how to read. Heathcliff began to look forward to dying. Heathcliff dies and Cathy and Hareton are married.
Heathcliff and Catherine are two very intriguing characters and are both pivotal players in the plot. In some ways they are two of a kind. Heathcliff ends up being a very cruel, hard man, but he didn’t begin that way.
Being Mr. Earnshaw’s favorite instilled in Heathcliff a sense of self-worth. He felt that he deserved the best and was willing to do what it took to get him to that point. For example, Mr. Earnshaw brought home two horses: one for Hindley and one for Heathcliff. He let Heathcliff have first pick, and of course, he picked the bigger, handsomer one and Hindley was left with the other. However, when Heathcliff’s horse went lame, he told Hindley to switch with him. When Hindley refused, Heathcliff tried to beat him up, but Hindley pushed him away. Heathcliff fell, and it left an ugly bruise. Heathcliff then used the bruise to blackmail Hindley, by saying that if Hindley didn’t give him the horse, he would tell Mr. Earnshaw that Hindley was beating on him. But, eventually Mr. Earnshaw died and Hindley took over the residence. Hindley treated Heathcliff no better than a servant, and slowly his sense of self-worth was eroded. He became bitter and hateful. Heathcliff didn’t want to learn anymore. He didn’t want to do anything but be rebellious and cause pain to Hindley, which he succeeded in doing with the help of Catherine.
Catherine also despised her brother, mostly for what he was doing to Heathcliff. She had an extreme loyalty to Heathcliff, which later would blossom into love. Catherine was not brought up as normal girls of that time were. She liked to be out exercising and playing on the moors. She found stitchery and embroidery dull and tedious. She was also very intelligent and loved to learn. Catherine had a very vibrant character, but she was also very rude and disobedient.
I think that if Mr. Earnshaw had lived longer, this whole story would have been different. Heathcliff’s sense of self-worth would have been more ingrained in him and he would have never degenerated into a “little savage”. He would have realized he deserved just as much consideration as the rest of the family. Also, if Heathcliff hadn’t been treated like a servant, Catherine would never have rebelled with him. They would have both grown up very dignified people, and probably led a happy and fulfilling life. However, it didn’t happen like that.
When Catherine came home from Thrushcross Grange after her five weeks there, she and Heathcliff were both very different from the way they had been. Heathcliff had sunk into more savagery, and with no one to look after him; he rarely washed or studied. He became a dumb ruffian, entirely unschooled and a total brute. All of his hatred was focused on Hindley, and he had become violent and bent on revenge. Catherine however, had become much more ladylike. She had learned manners and politeness and how to be a cordial host. However, when the Lintons weren’t around, she was an ungrateful child. She was very haughty and scornful to the servants. She was also very arrogant and never practiced politeness for people who knew her as she was. Catherine had a double identity. The one Edgar and Isabella Linton saw was kind and polite and sweet and caring. The Catherine they saw was always ready to please. The Catherine her family saw was always ready to hurt. If something didn’t go her way, she wanted to properly punish that person. However, The Lintons never saw this rougher side to her, except for one occasion, when Ellen Dean didn’t leave the room as fast and Catherine wanted her to.
wuthering heights by emilie bronte