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Wuthering Heights By Emily Bronte – Detailed Summary & Analysis

A romantic story with a strong social message is created in Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights through the fusion of realism with gothic symbolism. Follow Heathcliff's self-destructive path as he seeks retribution for losing Catherine, his soul mate, to Edgar Linton. As the plot develops, various themes intersect, including the struggle between good and evil, chaos and order, egotism, betrayal, and obsession. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte is a metaphorical and psychological examination of the essence of love.

Wuthering Heights Summary

Lockwood, Heathcliff's renter, enters his landlord's house in the opening scene of Wuthering Heights. After returning to Wuthering Heights, Lockwood experiences an accident and an intriguing otherworldly encounter that piques his interest. While recovering from his illness at Thrushcross Grange, Lockwood asks Nelly Dean, a servant who was brought up at Wuthering Heights and now looks after Thrushcross Grange, to share with him the story of Heathcliff. The primary narrative in Wuthering Heights is narrated by Nelly.

Mr. Earnshaw is the landlord of Wuthering Heights and a Yorkshire farmer. He brought an orphan home from Liverpool. Heathcliff, the boy's full name, is raised alongside Hindley and Catherine Earnshaw. Given that Heathcliff has taken Mr. Earnshaw's adoration away from Hindley, Hindley despises Heathcliff despite Catherine's love for him. After Mr. Earnshaw's passing, Hindley tries his best to ruin Heathcliff.

However, having grown up on the moors playing wildly, Catherine and Heathcliff were ignorant of everything and everyone until they came across the Lintons.

Edgar and Isabella Linton, who live at Thrushcross Grange, are diametrically opposed to Heathcliff and Catherine. The Lintons warmly welcome Catherine but avoid Heathcliff. Heathcliff, once again treated as an outsider, begins to consider vengeance. At first, Heathcliff and Edgar share Catherine's time, but eventually, she employs a greater quantity of time with Edgar, making Heathcliff envious. Heathcliff departs Wuthering Heights and disappears for three years after overhearing. Catherine shares with Nelly that she will never marry him (Heathcliff).

While he is away, Catherine keeps courting and eventually marries Edgar. Their joy is fleeting because they come from different worlds, and when Heathcliff returns, their relationship becomes much more strained. Relationships get much more challenging when Heathcliff marries Isabella, the sister of Edgar, and moves in with Hindley, his nemesis, and Hindley's son, Hareton, at Wuthering Heights. Soon after Heathcliff and Catherine are married, Catherine becomes mother to Cathy, Edgar's daughter, and then passes away.

Heathcliff swears to exact retribution and doesn't care who he harms in the process. He wants to seize control of Thrushcross Grange and Wuthering Heights and destroy everything that Edgar Linton values. Heathcliff had to wait 17 years before getting his comeuppance. Finally, he pressures Cathy into wedlock with Linton, his son. Since Edgar passed away, he now has power over the Grange as well as the Heights.

Heathcliff, though, is plagued by Catherine's spirit throughout everything. Being with his soul mate once more is what he honestly wants more than anything. By the book's conclusion, Hareton and Cathy will be married, and Heathcliff and Catherine will be united in death.

Wuthering Heights – Themes

The nature of love—romantic and brotherly but, weirdly enough, not erotic—is one of Wuthering Heights' central themes and affects both the main characters and the supporting cast. At some point in the narrative, tension arises in every relationship. The easiest method to explain Bronte's investigation of love is in the perspective of love versus hatred (or good versus evil). Although the contrasts between the two extremes are obvious, it might be difficult to apply those distinctions to individuals and their acts.

The relationship between Heathcliff and Catherine is the most significant one. Their relationship appears to be more profound than what most people are accustomed to. In fact, it appears as though their love is spiritual in nature and exists on a higher plane than anything else on Earth. Instead of only being a sexual urge, their love appears to have its roots in their disobedience. They both, however, fail to completely grasp the essence of their love because they deceive one another by getting married to someone they know they will not love the same as they do one another. It’s nothing less than dreadful.

The ability to hate contrasts with the capacity for love. And Heathcliff harbors a ferocious hatred. Heathcliff initially targets Hindley with his rage before moving on to target Edgar and, to a lesser extent, Catherine. Due to his hatred, Heathcliff turns to revenge, which is another important subject in Wuthering Heights. The competing emotions that cause people to act in ways that are neither really polite nor sensible are shown when hate, revenge, and selfishness mix. While some decisions are regretted, others are cherished.

The majority of Wuthering Heights' characters are well-rounded and more complex than simple caricatures, thanks to these feelings. Characters represent real individuals with real, frequently not-so-nice feelings rather than symbolizing a certain emotion. Each character possesses at least one admirable quality or defiant deed that allows the reader to identify with them. Because of the character's complexity, we can empathize with them, which paints a picture of life during the Victorian era, when people behaved quite similarly to how they do today.

Also Read: Great Expectations Summary

Wuthering Heights – Characters

Here are the most important characters of the novel ‘Wuthering Heights.’ Let’s have a look –

  • Catherine Earnshaw

Hindley's sister and the child of Mr Earnshaw. In addition, she is the love interest and foster sister of Heathcliff. Catherine, her daughter, is born after she marries Edgar Linton. Although Catherine has a lovely personality and looks, she never acts as politely as she claims to. She will always be, in her heart, the untamed child Heathcliff played with on the moors. She has an explosive temper and feels that everyone should love her. Cathy is the name Edgar and Heathcliff most frequently use for her.

  • Heathcliff

Mr. Earnshaw adopted and nurtured a foundling along with his kids. His ancestry is unclear, and he stands for the unruly, uncontrollable elements of nature that frequently appear immoral and perilous to society. The driving force of his existence is his nearly superhuman passion for Catherine, followed by his vengeful loathing of everyone who stands in the way of his beloved. The reader will always remember that at the core of the adult person is the hungry, abandoned youngster from Liverpool's slums, despite how harsh and consistent he is.

  • Edgar Linton

The older brother of Isabella, who bears Catherine Earnshaw and Catherine Linton. He is a gentler-bred, more refined man than Heathcliff, a patient spouse, and a devoted father. His shortcomings include a modicum of effeminacy and a propensity to become icy and implacable when his honor is threatened.

  • Cathy Linton

the young Catherine Linton's child with Edgar Linton. She lacks the wildness of her mother but nevertheless exudes all of her charms, despite the fact that she is far from passive and spiritless. Edgar addresses her as Cathy. Her first marriage is to Linton Heathcliff, making her Catherine Heathcliff, and her second marriage is to Hareton, making her Catherine Earnshaw.

  • Mr Earnshaw

A straightforward, somewhat wealthy farmer with minimal pretenses but a good heart. He is Catherine's strict father. Despite the objections of Heathcliff's family, he accepts him.

  • Hareton Earnshaw

The younger Catherine is his bride. He is Hindley and Frances' son. He is gruff, rural, and uncultured for the majority of the book as a result of Heathcliff's meticulous exclusion of any civilizing influences. He develops into a man who resembles Heathcliff on the surface but who is actually far more forgiving and patient. He never holds Heathcliff responsible for kicking him out, for instance, and still stands as the oppressor's staunchest ally.

  • Hindley Earnshaw

He is Catherine's older brother and the sole child of Mr. and Mrs. Earnshaw. He is a bullying, unhappy young man who, with the passing of his devoted wife, Frances, develops into a violent drunken adult. Because he believes the other child has displaced him in his father's affections, he despises Heathcliff, who in turn despises him even more.

  • Isabella Linton

Younger sister of Edgar who weds Heathcliff and becomes Isabella Heathcliff. Linton Heathcliff is the name of her son. She is a pretty, intelligent, but somewhat dumb young lady before she marries Heathcliff. Her choice of spouses demonstrates this. A nasty streak emerges from her character as a result of her terrible marriage; as a result of her husband's abusive treatment of her, she develops a deep-seated hatred for him.

Also Read: Heart Of Darkness By Joseph Conrad – An Overview

Important Aspects of 'Wuthering Heights

There are three most crucial aspects of ‘Wuthering Heights.’ Let’s have a look at them –

  • One of the most well-known fictional couples of all time is Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw. In this regard, they are arguably only second to Romeo and Juliet. In contrast to Shakespeare's lover characters, who are forced apart by the society they live in, Catherine and Heathcliff bear some of the blame for their inability to realize their love for one another. They cannot be together because of their intense personalities.
  • A story that frames and introduces the main narrative is present in the book. Nelly's retelling of the novel's main plot is framed by Lockwood's trip to Wuthering Heights and an esoteric event he experiences there.
  • A Gothic book is Wuthering Heights. Gothic books are centered on the enigmatic or supernatural and are set in gloomy, occasionally foreign, environments. In Gothic literature, the double also appears frequently. In Wuthering Heights, Hareton and Cathy's love is equal to two times the love of Heathcliff and Catherine, while Linton's is equal to two times that of Edgar. The book itself is divided into two distinct stories, each with seventeen chapters; Wuthering Heights' second half doubles the first.

Writing Style of 'Wuthering Heights

Wuthering Heights' basic yet remarkable writing style demonstrates Emily Bronte's approach to writing. In a culture where social class and prestige determine one's course in life, she fictionalizes the corrupted guy. The expert application of gothic fiction's tropes and a variety of narrative devices demonstrates how Emily gave her writing a special touch and a personable feel. Emily has demonstrated how class distinction damages the social structure of society by using straightforward language, a somber tone, and sardonic remarks about the Victorian social system.

Narrator’s Point of View

A variety of viewpoints are used to illustrate Wuthering Heights. John Lockwood, who provides a first-person narrative, is the primary narrator. The only option available to readers is to discover facts with Lockwood as he experiences events and individuals from his point of view. Because of his haughty and self-centered outlook, Lockwood is unreliable. For instance, he muses that he "must beware how I cause her to regret her choice," supposing Cathy Linton will find him attractive. Nelly Dean narrates lengthy portions of the book in the first person as she looks back on her recollections of the past.

But Lockwood still gathers and writes down what he hears from Nelly, and he concedes to doing so "in her own words, only a little condensed," implying that he leaves out some of what Nelly says. Nelly's strong opinions and emotional ties to the persons she discusses make her an unreliable narrator as well.

Why is Wuthering Heights compared to "Chinese Boxes" in Terms of Construction?

This is a literary word that is also referred to as Matroska (Russian) Dolls or Mise en abyme. These are dolls or boxes that are kept inside the other. It alludes to the novel Wuthering Heights' numerous narrators in this instance.

Mr. Lockwood, who is narrating the story for us—the reader—in writing, is the main character. The third narrator appears in chapter 13 when Isabella writes Ellen a letter letting her know she has arrived at Wuthering Heights, but Ellen Dean tells the story to him for the majority of the chapter. Isabella is telling Ellen a story, who is telling Lockwood, who is telling us, and so on. Although it can be challenging for readers to understand, doing so gives first-person stories the benefit of allowing for multiple points of view. Lockwood offers us multiple perspectives on the scenario based on his views and beliefs, which differ significantly from Ellen's.

Wrapping up,

Wuthering Heights is an intricate and emotional literary work that examines a variety of issues, such as love, retaliation, class, and power. The book has a distinctive structure, and the employment of numerous narrators makes the plot more intricate. Additionally, it enables a deeper examination of the characters' motivations and thinking.


Q.1. Why does the Author Name the Novel Wuthering Heights?

The fictional name of a haunting home in an open moorland setting is referenced in the heading of Emily Bronte's classic book Wuthering Heights. According to Bronte, the local adverb "wuthering" refers to the turbulence of the atmosphere that its station is subjected to during severe weather.

Q.2. What is Interesting About ‘Wuthering Heights’?

In addition to being a study of women's roles, Wuthering Heights is a sociological novel that discusses the function of a class in society. Bronte shows that class mobility does not necessarily go in one direction. When Catherine, who represents a lower class, makes the decision to get married, social class is a big factor.

Q.3. What are the Moral Values of ‘Wuthering Heights’?

Everyone has a nasty side, as Wuthering Heights shows. Bronte didn't write any morally upright characters; all of her creations are nasty and conflicted, just like real people. One of the most profoundly influential reading experiences you can have is learning a moral lesson.

Q.4. What is the Allegory in ‘Wuthering Heights’?

The plot of Emily Bronte's book Wuthering Heights contains numerous allegorical themes. Emily Bronte intended the book to be a Christian allegory, with Heathcliff serving as a representation of man's fallen nature, according to Charlotte Bronte, who later edited Emily's sister's book after her death.

Q.5. What Mood Can You Experience in 'Wuthering Heights'?

Wuthering Heights frequently has a melancholy, menacing, and spiteful tone. The huge, sparsely populated, storm-tossed moor, which dominates the first few chapters of the book, establishes a desolate, remote mood that compels readers to concentrate on the minute particulars of the people's lives and suffering.

Q.6. How does romanticism relate to ‘Wuthering Heights’?

Reading Wuthering Heights demonstrates the main traits of Romanticism: the imagination is freed to investigate extreme events and states of being. Nature’s love can be seen in both its peaceful and joyful aspects as well as its ferocious and turbulent ones.

Q.7. What is the Importance of the Novel Wuthering Heights?

The title of the book is also the name of the moor-based Yorkshire family estate, but Emily Bronte seems to have chosen it specifically to convey a sense of gloom and doom. She meticulously crafted the book's atmosphere and set her characters in the untamed moors.

Q.8. Why is ‘Wuthering Heights a Tragedy?

The story of Wuthering Heights is a tragedy in its purest meaning, a tale of self-betrayal and transgression; self-destruction is an element of tragedy rather than romance. Only via one another can the lovers encounter the vital. Divide them, and nothing else matters, as Cathy so poignantly puts it.

Q.9. Is ‘Weathering Heights’ a Realist Novel?

The novel's realistic approach to the place and characters aligns with the ideals of Victorian realist writers. Wuthering Heights is a realism book that also has folklore, ghosts, and other classic components of a ghost story.

Q.10. Is ‘Wuthering Heights a Feminist Novel?

In the society where this narrative is set, it is common knowledge that a woman must depend on a man in order to survive. Each of the women in the book is portrayed with a level of fortitude that reflects Emily Bronte's feminist beliefs despite the obstacles they confront. So, yes. It is a feminist novel.

Read Also: Homer’s The Odyssey: Brief Summary & Character Analysis

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