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Wuthering Heights Study Guide

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1. Women of the 1800s did not have the same independence that women have today. A woman was meant to constantly be under the care of a man. As a child, women were ruled by their fathers. As they got older, their husbands would take on responsibility for them. If a woman remained unmarried, her father would maintain responsibility for her until he passed away and then the nearest male blood relative would take over. In Wuthering Heights, Catherine is opressed by these rules of the 1800s. As a child, Catherine is precocious and active which would be admirred in a boy, but she is described as being a "wild, wicked slip" (Bronte 11). Women were meant to remain quiet and subservient. Neither of which Catherine embodied.

2. Revenge is the most dominant theme in Wuthering Heights. Because a love cannot exist between Heathcliff and Catherine, both descend into sadness and live their lives causing each other pain. After Heathcliff sees that Catherine has married Edgar and betrayed their relationship for wealth and social status, he decides to marry Isabella Linton, Edgar's sister, to take revenge. After Catherine's death, Heathcliff feels that he still has not taken full revenge for the pain that the Earnshaws have caused him. Her death was a final blow to Heathcliff as she believed he was responsible for her death. Death is always considered the highest form of revenge, but ironically, in this case, the death only makes Heathcliff desire Catherine more. He calls out, Be with me always--take any form--drive me mad only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you (Bronte 102) Since Heathcliff could no longer harm Catherine, he continued his revenge plot by involving Catherine's brother, Hindley, her nephew, Hareton, and her daughter. He explains that it is the precise time to revenge [himself] on [his enemies] representatives. (Bronte 125)Spending the remainder of his life taking revenge leaves Heathcliff miserable and empty. The point Bronte makes through her character's sorrows is Treachery and violence are spears pointed at both ends; they wound those who resort to them worse than their enemies (Bronte 177).

4. Bronte uses ghosts in Wuthering Heights to emphasize that the events in the book are supernatural. The first evidence of ghosts is Lockwood's encounter with Catherine's ghost. Lockwood is left with a surreal feeling, wondering whether he dreamt a woman was reaching through the window or if it really happened. To his surprise, as he ran out of the room Heathcliff exclaimed Cathy, do come (Bronte 20) when he realized Lockwood encountered her in the room. At one point in the story, Heathcliff admits to Nelly that Catherine has haunted him for some time. This makes the reader realize that it is fate for them to be together and nothing they do can alter that fate.

5. As a child, Heathcliff was badly abused by the family who took him in. This jades his view on the world as an adult. The Earnshaw's real son, Hindley, is the cruelest to Heathcliff. He reminds him of his lower position consistently and keeps Catherine from being with him. To take revenge for this treatment, Heathcliff drives Hindley to alcoholism in his adult years and he eventually dies from this problem. After his death, Heathcliff gains custody of Hareton, Hindlely's son and the heir to Wuthering Heights. He recreates his childhood for Hareton to torment him for his father's cruelty, Heathcliff explains, [He] got him faster than his scoundrel of a father secured me and lower... (Bronte 121)

8. It seems that Heathcliff rebels against society due to his experiences rather than his nature. It would be absurd to expect a boy to grow into a successful part of society when the family that took him in as a child spurned him and consistently reminded him that he was not as good as their status. The entire reason Heathcliff began his malicious plot of revenge was because he loved Cathy and she rejected him. Hindley ruled over Heathcliff after the death of his father and made sure to keep Catherine from him. Hindley embarasses Heathcliff infront of Catherine by saying, "You may come and wish Miss Catherine welcome, like the other servants." Had this not been the case, he would have been in the typical romantic hero category that Bronte avoided placing Heathcliff in.

10. At first glance, Heathcliff has many of the qualities of the typical romantic hero. He appears a mysteriously deep character who's heart might be unlocked by the wild and passionate Catherine. He can also be seen as romantic in the sense of his tedious strategy to win Cathy's affections. Despite his anger over a childhood filled with abuse, he decides to spend three years making himself into a successful gentlemen that Catherine could involve herself with. His romantic qualities are heightened by Catherine's own view of him. She believes that, . . . he's more [her] than [she is]. Whatever [their] souls are made of, his and [hers] are the same. (Bronte 56) The one true aspect of a romantic hero that Heathcliff lacks is a will to always fight for the one he loves. Instead, Heathcliff fights against the one



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