Wuthering Heights and Gothic - Recurring themes!

Based on something from Spark Notes that I have already shared as a resource BUT I've made it into more easy to use bitesize notes and put in a few extra ideas/examples :D Hope these help! And if anyone has any ideas I could add please let me know and I will :)

Also I have pointed out by underlining what parts of the themes are particularly gothic which should be helpful if you're doing the same course as me - AQA A2 Literature B Unit 3, Elements of the Gothic :) Thanks!

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  • Created by: Stephanie
  • Created on: 06-05-12 16:10


  • Catherine and Heathcliff see themselves as identical - "I am Heathcliff"
  • Catherine has two sides; one wants Edgar, the other Heathcliff
  • Catherine and Young Catherine
  • Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange
    -opposing values/social class
  • Nelly and Lockwood as narrators; distinctly different
    -gender, class, personality (one interferring and one reserved & observational)
  • Catherine alive and then dead; Heathcliff wants them to be the same but they are not

Changes occur - e.g

  • Lintons and Earnshaws begin opposites but become more alike/interwoven
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  • Names are repeated; particularly Gothic as this causes confusion
    -cycles of names means horrors continue
    -e.g after Cathy's death there is another Cathy who will discover Heathcliff
  • Repetition of violence/revenge (Gothic!)
    -Hindley abused Heathcliff, Heathcliff then abuses Hareton
  • Nelly looks after Catherine and then the Younger Catherine
  • Heathcliff tries to open Catherine's grave twice - horror and Gothic
  • Repeated love triangles; Both Cathy's marry who it is socially acceptable to Marry not the lower class love interest (even if young Cathy sorts this out)
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Nature V. Culture

  • Earnshaws, mainly Cathy and Heathcliff, represent Nature
    -ruled by their passions, wild, shocking
    -pathetic fallacy often used to illustrate their emotions e.g. the storm when Heathcliff runs away
    -very Gothic! 
  • Lintons represent Culture - civilized behaviour and refinement (Marxist criticism could be helpful in viewing contrasts between families)
  • Nature corrupts culture - the Earnshaws rub off on the Lintons, corrupting Isabella in particular
    -Interesting; in the romantic movement most things are about culture corrupting nature and so are set in rural areas, this suggests the opposite
  • However 'culture' is still made to look bad next to nature
    -Bronte keeps out sympathies with the 'wild ones', not the weedy, silly Lintons
  • Implies a balance needs to be met, which is what Young Cathy and Hareton's partnership is - a combination  
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luke cope

so helpful thanks

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