Thursday, April 21, 2011
In Emily Bronte's only novel, Wuthering Heights, the theme of true love versus marrying for wealth and status is observed. The story begins with a man named Lockwood wishing to visit his landlord, Heathcliff. Lockwood lives at Thrushcross Grange and Heathcliff at Wuthering Heights, which are quite a ways away from each other. Upon finally reaching Wuthering Heights, Lockwood is extremely tired and very ill received, as his landlord was not expecting him. Eventually, Lockwood is able to stay the night, but has an odd supernatural experience which makes him want to leave, despite the crazy storm raging outside. Against his better judgment, he leaves anyway, and, while recuperating at Thrushcross Grange, asks the housekeeper, Nelly, to recount her version of Heathcliff’s life story, as she has been there throughout his entire existence.
Mr. and Mrs. Earnshaw and their two children, Hindley and Catherine live at Wuthering Heights. One day, Mr. Earnshaw must take a trip and he is gone for about a week. Instead of bringing home the gifts that his children and Nelly asked for, he brings home an orphan, who they christen Heathcliff. Catherine absolutely loves Heathcliff, because both are passionate young children; however Hindley hates Heathcliff due to insane jealously at losing his father’s attention to this orphan boy.
One day, while playing in the moors, Catherine and Heathcliff come across Thrushcross Grange and the people who live there. Mr. and Mrs. Linton (and their children, Edgar and Isabella) take Catherine in, but turn Heathcliff away, prompting thoughts of revenge. The Linton’s keep Catherine for a little over a month, attempting to turn her into a proper young woman, and, because of this, she spends an increasing amount of time with Edgar, making Heathcliff very jealous. When he overhears Catherine telling Nelly that she cannot marry Heathcliff because he is below her, he leaves Wuthering Heights and does not return for three years.
While Heathcliff is gone, Catherine marries Edgar, but they do not stay happy for long and when Heathcliff comes back, the tension in their relationship builds even more. Heathcliff must stay at Wuthering Heights (with Hindley and Hindley’s son, Hareton) which, at this point, has been passed on to Hindley after the death of Mr. and Mrs. Earnshaw. Tensions run high because Heathcliff and Hindley are enemies. Eventually Edgar’s sister, Isabella, becomes stupidly infatuated with Heathcliff and the two get married. Soon after the idiotic marriage, Catherine has a daughter, Cathy, and Catherine dies.
Heathcliff, at this point, is deranged by vengeance against anyone who kept Catherine away from him. In order to execute his revenge, he does not care who he hurts. He wants to gain control of Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange and anything Edgar cares about. Also, he wants to make Hindley hurt for all the horrible things that were done to Heathcliff in his childhood. He has a son with Isabella, named Linton, simply to use as a pawn in his scheme. After waiting 17 years to put his major plan into motion, he kidnaps Cathy and forces her and Linton to marry. Hindley has passed so he now owns Wuthering Heights, and with this marriage and Edgar’s death, he owns the Grange. Heathcliff’s son, Linton, is a very frail and feminine boy, who can hardly do anything Cathy wants. In her time at Wuthering Heights, she begins to fall for Hareton, Hindley’s son. After Linton’s death, the two are able to be together. In Heathcliff’s death he is able to get what he wanted; he was united with Catherine in the afterlife.
1.In this story, true love conquered everything, even life itself. Do you believe in that? Why or why not?
2.Revenge dominated Heathcliff’s entire life. He only married Isabella to be in line to receive the Grange. He forced Hareton to be a slave and punished him for his father’s wrong-doings. Is this right? Should anyone waste time on revenge? Is a little bit of vengeance healthy?
3.Cathy and Hareton break the cycle of social status having influence on marriage. How important is that? Should status have any effect on a marriage?