English Literature- Wuthering Heights

Themes in Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

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Catherine and Heathcliff- Eternal passion, 'I am Heathcliff', 'I cannot live with my                                                                                                                                  soul'

'If all else remained and he were annihilated, the universe would turn a mighty stranger'

The theme of love is also represented in other lesser characters:

Edgar and Catherine/Cathy and Linton- Both couples seprerated through death

Cathy and Hareton- Only two who seem set to have a happy and successful marriage

Prehaps the main theme is not love but the frustration of love

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Hindley on Heathcliff- HC has usurped Hindleys position in his fathers love

Heathcliff on Hindley- 'I don't care how long i wait, if i can only do it, at last'. He wants to 'pay Hindley back' 

Heathcliff on The Lintons- Catherine marriage to Edgar is a catalyst for his revenge on them ( marries Isabella to hurt Edgar and Catherine)

Heathcliff on Hareton- Hareton is degraded to pay for HC's degredation by Hindley (Hareton's father)

Yet, in the end:

  • Heathcliff if redeemed through love and suffering and in death is reunited with Catherine
  • Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange return to the rightful heirs- Earshaw and Linton
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The Supernatural

The novel is concerned not only with physical life but also that which goes beyond the physical. The Supernatural is a gothic trate.

Introduced right from the start: 'magically', 'fiend', 'little witch', 'ghost'

The Supernatural is always dealt with at WH- sign on the unorthodox?

Lockwood sees Catherine's ghost- Is it real or a figment of his imagination? It is left                                                        ambigious so the world of the novel can still be                                                          realisitc

The ghosts symobolise the manifestation of the past within the present and the way memories can stay will people and 'haunt' them. 

Heathcliff about Catherine-  'You said i killed you-haunt me. then!'

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Social Class

The Lintons and Earnshaws have a precarious social standing- They are not lower class but do not posses a title (therefore their status was subject to change)

Class status informs many of the motivations/choices in WH.

  • 'It would degrade me to marry Heathcliff'

The Lintons have a much firmer social standing than the Earnshaws- Lockwood remarks that Heathcliff is only a gentleman in 'dress and manners'- A veneer.

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