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Isabella Sun

Period 2
Major Works Data Page: Wuthering Heights

Writer/Nationality: Emily Brontë/ British

Date/Literary Period: 1847/Gothic

● Frame Narrative
● Lockwood narrates the present events, describes occurrences he experience after moving
into the Grange
● Events in the past are first presented when Lockwood reads Catherine’s diary
● After he becomes sick, Lockwood inquires Nelly to relate the tales of the past
occurrences at Wuthering Heights
● Nelly begins narrating the past events, describing things that happen in Heathcliff’s
● The narration is sometimes interrupted when Nelly or Lockwood makes comment on the
events in Nelly’s tale
● Catherine and Heathcliff spend their childhood in Wuthering Heights
● Heathcliff runs away from Wuthering Heights for three years
● Nelly’s narration skips three years
● Setting switches to Thrushcross Grange
● Heathcliff comes back a changed man and seeks revenge on Hindley and the Lintons
● Nelly reads the content of Isabella’s letter to Lockwood, which portrays Isabella’s
experience at Wuthering Heights
● Nelly’s tale take focuses on the affairs of Catherine until Catherine’s death
● Skip in time until Catherine’s daughter Cathy is sixteen years old
● Cathy meets with the residents of Wuthering Heights once again, setting sometimes shift
to Wuthering Heights
● While Cathy is confined in Wuthering Heights, Nelly relies upon the servant Zillah to
describe the circumstances at Wuthering Heights
● Nelly’s story merges into the present
● Lockwood decides to leave Thrushcross Grange
● He returns a year later to discover a changed Wuthering Heights

AP Free Response Prompts: 2019 (ideal), 2017 (origin), 2016 (deceive), 2015 (cruelty), 2014
(sacrifice), 2013 (single moment), 2012 (surrounding), 2011 (justice), 2009 (symbol), 2008
(foil), 2007 (past), 2005 (conform), 2002 (secret), 2001 (madness), 1999 (conflicting directions),
1998 (uncivilized), 1997 (scene), 1996 (ending), 1995 (alienation), 1992 (confidant), 1991
(contrasting places), 1990 (parent), 1989 (distortions), 1988 (internal events), 1987 (traditions),
1986 (time), 1985 (pleasure and disquietude), 1984 (line), 1983 (villain), 1982 (violence),
1981(allusion), 1980 (passion and responsibility), 1979 (immoral)
Point of View: The novel begins with the point of view of Lockwood, a new tenant of
Thrushcross Grange. Lockwood is an outsider to the history of Wuthering Heights and provides
his first impressions of the setting and characters of the novel. As an unreliable narrator,
Lockwood is arrogant and egocentric, as he often disregards the feeling of others and judges
characters like Hareton purely based on his social class. Lockwood’s presumptuous nature drives
him to make many embarrassing misconceptions regarding relationships between characters. The
story of the past is only revealed when the more knowledgeable characters, such as Nelly, relates
the past events to Lockwood. Nelly is the second narrator of the story whose duty is to tell
Lockwood the tale of the past. She narrates the tale in copious details but is not an omniscient
narrator, as she does not know the events that happened when she was not present. As a servant
who grows up with the characters, Nelly is able to comprehend and discuss the inner thoughts
and motivations behind the characters’ behaviors. However, her narration is still unreliable, as
she retains her biases for and against certain characters. She profusely praises characters she
adores, such as Edgar, and is critical of the characters she dislikes, such as Catherine. When
Nelly shows Isabella’s letter to Lockwood, Isabella becomes the narrator for a single chapter.
Using a startled and uneasy tone, Isabella reveals the unsettling atmosphere of Wuthering
Heights. Like Lockwood, she is an outsider to the Heights who is frightened by the place and its
residents. The innocence and fragility that she acquired from living at Thrushcross Grange are
slowly eroded by the harshness of the Heights. In the course of her narration, Isabella displays
how a naive girl can be influenced by a grisly environment.

Brontë uses a window as a symbol of the social obstacles that a person must overcome to attain
personal freedom. As Catherine becomes delirious due to her illness, she reminisces her carefree
youth and orders Nelly to “open the window again wide” (125). The window shuts Catherine
inside the confines of her home and hinders her from achieving the same freedom she once
experienced in childhood. As a child, Catherine could ignore the rules of social classes and enjoy
the company of Heathcliff as the two play on the moors. However, Catherine now has to uphold
her responsibilities as the mistress of the Linton family even if she yearns to leave Thrushcross
Grange and pursue her love for Heathcliff. Using a symbol, Brontë shows how the window
forms a barrier that constrains Catherine to her societal burdens and prevents her from following
her inner desires.

Brontë utilizes the symbol of a dog to indicate the abusive and despairing relationship between
Heathcliff and Isabella. After Isabella agrees to marry Heathcliff and depart for Wuthering
Heights with him, “the first thing she saw [him] do.. was to hang up her little dog” (150). The
innocent pet dog of Isabella represents her naive infatuation with Heathcliff. By letting
Heathcliff ruthlessly murders the puppy, Brontë demonstrates how Heathcliff is unafraid to harm
creatures that are innocent and benign. She signifies how Heathcliff exploits Isabella’s gullible
adoration towards him and is willing to hurt her as brutally as he hurt her pet dog. Through the
symbol of dog, Brontë indicates the trauma and struggle Isabella will endure in her marriage with

Letters are employed by Brontë to symbolize the emotional connection between Cathy and
Linton. When Nelly throws all of Linton’s letters that Cathy receives into the hearth, Cathy
becomes furious as she darts “her hand into the fire, and drawing forth some half-consumed
fragments, at the expense of her fingers” (222). Since the young couple is unable to convey their
mutual affection in person, letters become the sole indication of their love for one another. Cathy
would rather behold the pain of burning her hand than to lose the only means she has of feeling
Linton’s love. The letters serve to connect the two lovers emotionally and allow them to maintain
their youthful relationship even when they are physically apart. Brontë uses the letters as a
symbol of the loving bond between Cathy feels towards Linton.

Irony: Brontë uses dramatic irony to demonstrate Heathcliff’s cruel and merciless nature as he
seeks revenge upon a gullible child. After Heathcliff implies to Nelly that he plans to raise
Hareton as a servant, Hareton “was pleased at this speech: he played with Heathcliff’s whiskers
and stroked his cheek” (183). Dramatic irony is created when Hareton unknowingly displays
affection towards Heathcliff even as Heathcliff just indicated his malevolent scheme. Due to
Hareton’s childhood innocence, he fails to perceive the malicious intent behind Heathcliff’s
statement. Heathcliff is thus able to exploit Hareton’s gullible trust towards him and ruin the
future of the innocent child. Using dramatic irony, Brontë signifies Heathcliff’s despicable
behavior towards a credulous child.

As people become overwhelmed by their loneliness after losing a loved one, they will yearn
arduously for the company for their deceased lover and fall into irrational delusions. Heathcliff is
consumed by his abject sorrow after Catherine’s death and cannot handle the loneliness of living
in a world without her. Thus, he digs into Catherine’s grave with the conviction to hold her once
again as if she were still alive.

When people become too fixated upon their desire for vengeance, they will lose their sense of
morality and become willing to commit inhumane behaviors in order to exact their revenge upon
their abuser. In order to seek vengeance upon Edgar Linton and take over the Linton fortunes,
Heathcliff locks Edgar’s daughter Cathy in his house until she agrees to marry Linton; thus,
when Edgar dies, his assets would securely go to Linton.

People thoughtlessly disregard the potentials of those in a lower social class because they view
the lower class individuals as innately less capable beings. Cathy perceives Hareton as an
ignorant servant. Thus, she ridicules Hareton and calls him idiotic when he tries to learn to read
his name that is inscribed on the door of Wuthering Heights.

Style: Brontë’s style of writing is elegant and lyrical. She provides a vivid and ornate description
of the settings as well as the mental state of the characters throughout the novel. Being
influenced by the Gothic writing style, Brontë frequently employs the imageries of deaths and
desolate environments to emphasize the despondent circumstances of her characters. She also
uses an abundance of imagery of nature and sometimes uses personification to portray nature as
its own character. Since her writing is centered around the motif of nature, she often uses
metaphors and similes to compare her characters to certain aspects of nature, such as flowers and
hills. When she writes in the point of view of a certain character, her writing would reflect the
personality of the character. Her narration style is more elevated and formal when she writes as
Lockwood, whereas her style becomes more emotional and sympathetic when she writes as
Nelly. She uses dialogues between characters to signify their social class and writes the language
spoken by Joseph, Zillah, and the servants of the lower class in the vernacular. The dialogue
spoken by characters of a higher class such as Catherine and Edgar is elegant and sophisticated,
as their speech is ornate and mannerly even when they are insulting one another.

Tone: Brontë utilizes a gruesome and morbid tone to signify how anguish often lead people to
commit cruel behaviors. When Lockwood tries to escape the grasp of Catherine’s ghost, he
“pulled its wrist on to the broken pane, and rubbed it to and fro till the blood ran down and
soaked the bedclothes” (26). Using forceful words such as “pull” and “rub… to and fro,” Brontë
demonstrates how Lockwood brutally wounds the ghost in order to shake off the ghost’s gripe.
The repeated torture that Lockwood perpetrates upon the ghost, as shown when he rubs the
ghost’s hand “to and fro” on the sharp “broken pane,” evokes a painful sensation that emphasizes
the cruelty of Lockwood’s action. The horrid yet detailed image of how “blood ran down” and
drenching “bedclothes” also indicates the extent of injury that Lockwood inflicts upon the ghost.
In his desperate goal to be rid of Catherine’s spectre, Lockwood ruthlessly hurts her and causes
her immense pain. Through the frightful and grim tone, Brontë demonstrates how people react
in vicious ways when they face distressed circumstances.

Brief Plot:
Exposition: Lockwood, the new tenant of Thrushcross Grange, requests his servant Nelly to tell
him the tale of his landlord Heathcliff, who lives in the secluded mansion named Wuthering
Heights. Nelly explains that Heathcliff is an orphan adopted by Mr. Earnshaw. As a child, he
builds an intimate bond with Mr. Earnshaw’s daughter Catherine. However, Mr. Earnshaw’s son
Hindley is jealous of his father’s affection towards Heathcliff and frequently fights with
Heathcliff as a result.
Rising Action: After Mr. Earnshaw’s death, Hindley becomes the new master of the house and
begins treating Heathcliff like a servant. One night, Heathcliff and Catherine escape from their
home and visits Thrushcross Grange, where they encounter the Linton family. Catherine stays
with the Lintons for a few weeks and becomes especially intimate with Edgar Linton, the son of
the master of the Grange. As Heathcliff learns that Catherine accepted Edgar’s proposal for
marriage, he runs away from Wuthering Heights. Catherine moves into the Grange after she
marries into the Linton household.
Climax: Heathcliff returns to Catherine three years later as a changed man who has refined his
appearance and his manners. He exacts revenge on Hindley by winning Hindley’s fortune
through gambling and seeks from the Lintons by tricking Isabella Linton, the sister of Edgar, into
eloping with him. Catherine becomes ill and dies after giving birth to a baby girl later named
Cathy. After she dies, Heathcliff urges her to haunt him forever on earth.
Falling Action: Cathy grows up without the knowledge of Heathcliff until she is invited by him
to visit Wuthering Heights and meet her cousin Linton. Heathcliff gains control of his son Linton
after Isabella’s death and plans to make Linton marry Cathy. This way, Heathcliff can acquire all
of Edgar’s assets. Regardless of Edgar and Nelly’s disapproval, Cathy engages in a romantic
relationship with Linton, who is so fragile and sickly that he is fated to die in a short time. To
ensure the two cousins marry before Linton’s death, Heathcliff locks Cathy in Wuthering
Heights until she agrees to marry Linton.
Resolution: Linton dies, and Cathy becomes confined in Wuthering Heights. Lockwood, upon
hearing the tragic tale of the inhabitants at his new home, decides to leave the place and embark
for London. He returns to Wuthering Heights once more in summer and is surprised to find that
Heathcliff is dead. Cathy is to marry Hareton, the son of Hindley whom Heathcliff raised as a
servant. He hears from Nelly rumors about those who see spirits of Heathcliff and Catherine
wandering the earth.

Brontë uses the character of Heathcliff to represent the people of the lower class who strive to
rise up in social status in order to overturn their misfortunate fate. He is the protagonist of the
novel, and the narrative centers around his past and present. As a child, he becomes adopted by
Mr. Earnshaw when Earnshaw finds him “starving, and houseless, and good as dumb, in the
streets of Liverpool” (37). Unlike the rest of his aristocratic family, Heathcliff is born in the
lower class. However, Heathcliff is unable to fit in completely with his new family, as the origin
of his birth is a constant reminder of the difference between him and his siblings. Due to this
difference, he is despised by his brother Hindley, who actively abuses him after Mr. Earnshaw’s
death. As Hindley becomes the master of the house, he “drove [Heathcliff] from their company
to the servants, deprived him of the instructions of the curate”(45). By ordering Heathcliff to act
as a servant, Hindley thus degrades Heathcliff back into a child of the lower social class and robs
Heathcliff of ways he can educate himself into becoming a gentleman. The relentless abuse
Heathcliff receives invigorates an idea within him that the only way to overcome his present
struggles is to improve his social standing. He thus spends three years away from Wuthering
Heights and returns as a changed man whose “countenance was… intelligent, and retained no
marks of former degradation… and his manner was even dignified” (123). The change in
Heathcliff represents that he has established himself as a gentleman of the noble class and a man
who is supposedly worthy of Catherine’s affection. Heathcliff’s infatuation with Catherine and
his yearning for revenge against his past abusers are two central motivations that influence all of
his actions in the story. He cruelly punishes Isabella, a girl who is not a target for his revenge, for
the mistreatment that he presumes Edgar has dealt upon Catherine and believes that Isabella
“should be Edgar’s proxy in suffering, till he could get hold of him” (144). Heathcliff becomes
so immersed in this desire for vengeance that he loses his morality, signifying how vengeance
can consume one’s sense of righteousness. After Catherine’s death, Heathcliff is consumed by
his grief over his lost lover. He yearns vehemently for Catherine to “haunt [him], then… only do
not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you… I cannot live without my soul!" (164) Due
to his obsessive love of Catherine, Heathcliff lives miserably after her death. He claims that is
left without his “soul” after her death, indicating his arduous obsession with Catherine and how
he sees her as an essential aspect of himself. This unchanging love between Heathcliff and her is
thus the source of his misery, as he believes that he cannot experience joy in a world without her.

Brontë uses Catherine Earnshaw Linton to represent the people who suffer from their
obligation to conform to the ideological norms of their society. Catherine is the adopted sister of
Heathcliff, as well as the only person he loves in his life. Although she grew up as a wild and
naughty girl who cares not for manners and rules, she eventually begins accepting the social
customs of the aristocratic class as she encounters the respectable Linton family. When she stays
at Thrushcross Grange to heal her wound, Mrs. Linton “Commenced to raise her self-respect
with fine clothes and flattery, which she took readily” (52). Her exposure to the luxurious and
elegant lifestyle of the Lintons evokes within her a sense of superiority that allows her to see a
vast difference between herself and the dirty, ignorant servant class. This sense of superiority
eventually leads her to accept Edgar Linton’s proposal due to the fact that he is from a rich and
noble family. She claims to Nelly that her “love for Linton is like the foliage in the woods: time
will change it” (82). The comparison indicates how her affection for Edgar is shallow, as she
only loves Edgar for the superficial qualities he possesses, such as family status and wealth. In
contrast, her affection for Heathcliff is intimate and profound, as she also expresses to Nelly
passionately that “I am Heathcliff! He’s always on my mind… as my own being” (82). To her,
Heathcliff represents what she wishes to be but cannot become due to her responsibilities to
adhere to societal standards. She sees Heathcliff’s wicked and wild mannerism as an aspect of
herself that she cannot display to the world. Her choice of marrying Edgar eventually leads her to
abject misery, as she cannot choose between a man who provides her the worldly comfort and a
man representing the qualities she truly desires. Before her imminent death, Catherine swears
that she “shall not be at peace” in the afterlife, signifying how she wishes to punish Heathcliff by
haunting him (158). Catherine’s decision to become a ghost who haunts her lover forever
signifies the horror that can arise from fanatical love, as the passionate obsession between
Heathcliff and her is also the source of their misery. Heathcliff is unable to move on from the
sorrow of Catherine’s passing and becomes haunted, both by the ghost of Catherine and his
arduous affection of her, until his demise.

Brontë uses the character Lockwood represent an outsider who is unfamiliar with the story of
Wuthering Heights. Lockwood is the new tenant at Thrushcross Grange. The novel begins when
he visits Wuthering Heights for the first time, and even as Heathcliff “wished no repetition of
[his] intrusion” to his house, Lockward indicates that he “shall go [back], notwithstanding” (8).
Lockwood is an egocentric and thoughtless man who has little regard for the concerns of others.
His insensitive nature makes him incapable of perceiving the hostile relationship between the
inhabitants of Wuthering Heights and assume that Heathcliff enjoys a blissful life “surrounded
by [his] family, and with [his] amiable lady” (13). Heathcliff then has to explain to him that
“Mrs. Heathcliff is [his] daughter-in-law” (14). Due to Lockwood’s ignorant mistakes, characters
often need to reveal to him aspects of the plot that is previously unclear. Nelly begins her
narrative and describes the incidents that lead to the current state of Wuthering Heights in order
to explain the history of the Heights to Lockwood. Thus, as Lockwood learns more of Wuthering
Heights, more key information in the novel is disclosed. Besides being a narrator, Lockwood
also serves as a potential love interest of Cathy, who is confined in the despairing environment of
Wuthering Heights. He is attracted to Cathy because of her beauty and believes that if he and
Cathy have “struck up an attachment,” it would be “something more romantic than a fairy tale”
for her (293). Lockwood thinks of himself as a noble hero who can save Cathy from her dreadful
circumstances. He views Cathy as a charming object he can possess and fails to see that Cathy is
a person with a strong agency of her own. His shallow affection for Cathy is not what she
requires, as she eventually finds her true love in Hareton, a man who loves her for reasons
beyond her beauty alone.

Brontë presents Nelly Dean as an insider to the inhabitants of Wuthering Heights and their past
affairs. Nelly is the servant at Thrushcross Grange and the second narrator of the story. When she
was still a child, she “got used to playing with the children” of the Earnshaw family and
personally witnessed the tragic incidents that occurred in that house (36). As a servant who is
able to frequently observe the behaviors of her masters, Nelly retains a deep insight towards the
characters she observes. She is especially knowledgeable of Catherine’s character but actively
loathes Catherine for her arrogant and fickle temper. When Catherine is on the verge of death,
Nelly even thinks to herself that “far better that she should be dead than lingering a burden and a
miser-maker to all about her” (161). Her dislike of Catherine thus makes her an unreliable
narrator, as she shows bias against Catherine and blames Catherine for inducing the misery that
falls upon the inhabitants of Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange. Nelly also acts as the
protagonist Heathcliff’s confidant and remains one of the last people who are willing to help him
as he loses his sense of morality. As she observes Heathcliff growing sick from his desire to see
Catherine again, she urges him to “send for.. some minister… to show [him] how unfit you will
be for its heaven, unless a change takes place before [he dies]” (322). Nelly retains a tenderness
towards Heathcliff despite the cruelty that violence that he has beget in his lifetime. She firmly
believes that death is a state of repose and wishes for Heathcliff to find peace in the afterlife. Her
ideology of death differs with Heathcliff’s belief that souls remain restless after death and
wander the mortal world. The contrast between the two’s perceptions signify that Nelly is
content with her life and embraces death as a peaceful destination that she will eventually reach.
Heathcliff, however, still cannot accept the passing of his Catherine and yearns to remain in the
living world with his lover even after his demise.

Brontë uses Edgar Linton to serve as a foil to the protagonist Heathcliff. Unlike Heathcliff, who
is born in the lower class and receives abuse from his own family, Edgar grows up as an
educated gentleman in the affluent Linton household. His wealth and charming appearance
catches the eyes of Catherine, who observes that “The contrast [between him and Heathcliff]
resembled what you see in exchanging a bleak, hilly, coal county for a beautiful fertile valley”
(69). Edgar symbolizes the comfortable and sheltered upper class. During the period of time
when Heathcliff struggles as a filthy servant at Wuthering Heights, Edgar is thriving in the
luxurious Thrushcross Grange, where he is protected from the challenges of the real world. His
pleasant and respectful demeanor, as well as his elegant looks, contrasts directly with
Heathcliff’s disagreeable temper and disheveled appearance. Edgar’s noble manners and attitude
derives from his aristocratic upbringing, as he does not need to toughen his demeanors in order
to cope with threats from the outside world. Edgar also displays a different form of love towards
Catherine than Heathcliff does. After Catherine’s death, Edgar “didn’t pray for Catherine’s soul
to haunt him… he recalled her memory with ardent, tender love, and hopeful aspiring to the
better world; where he doubted not she was gone” (180). Heathcliff selfishly desires for
Catherine to remain on earth and accompany him forever, whereas Edgar is able to let go of his
lover and only wishes for her to find joy in a “better world.” His love for Catherine is tender and
compassionate, as he only wants what he perceives to be the most bliss end for Catherine. He is
saddened by Catherine’s demise, but unlike Heathcliff, he can embrace the loss and move on
with his life.

Brontë illustrates Isabella Linton as a foil to Catherine Linton, whom Heathcliff adores
regardless of her appearance and wealth. In contrast, Isabella is the wife of Heathcliff whom
Heathcliff despises but marries solely for her fortune. While Catherine is able to discern
Heathcliff’s malevolent nature and love him despite his wicked demeanors, Isabella’s naivete
forbids her from realizing the real nature of Heathcliff. When she agrees to elope with Heathcliff,
she does so “under a delusion… picturing in [Heathcliff] a hero of romance, and expecting
unlimited indulgences from [his] chivalrous devotion” (145). Being a youthful girl, Isabella
possesses a yearning for romance and imagines Heathcliff to be the charming hero from her
childish fantasy. Yet, she soon loses her innocence and realizes Heathcliff’s abusive character
when she moves into Wuthering Heights with him. Isabella represents those who become cruel
after enduring violence and cruelties themselves. As she runs away from Wuthering Heights after
being physically and mentally abused daily by Heathcliff, she relates to Nelly that she has
“recovered from my first desire to be killed by [Heathcliff]: [she’d] rather he’d kill himself!”
(170) Isabella is no longer the innocent girl who willingly submit to the oppression she receives
from a man she loves. Unlike Catherine, she begins developing immense hatred for Heathcliff
upon realizing his diabolical nature. Her infatuation for Heathcliff has turned into loathing, and
she yearns that her abuser would die to compensate for his past misdeeds.

Brontë employs the character Hindley Earnshaw to act as a cruel abuser to the protagonist
Heathcliff. Hindley is the brother of Catherine Linton and the eldest child of the Earnshaw
family. He views his adopted brother Heathcliff as an outsider to his family and holds an intense
aversion towards him. Upon experiencing the death of his beloved wife Frances, Hindley
“neither wrote nor prayed; he cursed and defied” (65). After losing Frances, Hindley falls into a
state of despondency, demonstrating how intense love can drive one to self-destruction. He uses
anger and violence as a means to distract himself from his immense grief. His hatred for
Heathcliff is only strengthened by France’s death, as Nelly remarks that “his treatment of the
latter was enough to make a fiend of a saint” (65). Hindley is the one who begins the cycle of
violence and vengeance at Wuthering Heights. His cruel abuse of Heathcliff is what first induces
Heathcliff’s desire for revenge and elicits his vindictive nature. Hindley will eventually suffer the
consequences of his own cruelty through the hands of a vengeful Heathcliff, signifying how
those who are cruel to others often have to suffer from the same vicious treatment as punishment
for their cruelty.

Brontë creates the character of Hareton Earnshaw to make him serve as a double for Heathcliff.
He experiences the same abuses and trauma that Heathcliff experienced as a child. He grows up
under the influence of Heathcliff, who raises him to see “if one tree won’t grow as crooked as
another, with the same wind to twist it” (183). In order to seek revenge on Hindley, Heathcliff
decides to raise Hareton in the same way that Hindley raised Heathcliff, which is by degrading
Hareton into a brutish, uneducated servant. Hareton secretly admires the beautiful and elegant
Cathy and learns to read letters for her; yet, Cathy only “laughs heartily at his failure” to read
figures (241). He is ridiculed by Cathy for learning to read in a similar fashion that Heathcliff is
ridiculed by Catherine for Heathcliff’s disheveled appearance. Both Cathy and Catherine look
down upon Hareton and Heathcliff for the aspects of them associated with the lower class,
whether it is the lack of education or a dirty appearance. Yet, unlike Heathcliff, Hareton breaks
free from the cycle of vengeance at Wuthering Heights. He desires no revenge upon his abuser
Heathcliff, seeing Heathcliff as a father figure whom he loves and respects immensely. He even
stops Cathy from insulting Heathcliff, telling her that “he would stand by [Heathcliff]” even if
“he were the devil” (310). His gratitude for Heathcliff trumps any resentment he holds of
Heathcliff’s abuses. He kind nature contributes to his forgiving attitude, as he is able to overlook
the implications of Heathcliff’s mistreatment of him and value Heathcliff as a family member.

Brontë uses Catherine Linton Heathcliff as both a foil and a double to her mother Catherine
Linton. Unlike her selfish and arrogant mother, who is frequently under the care of others,
Cathy’s altruistic character leads her to frequently take on the role of a caretaker. When Edgar
and Nelly are both suffering from illnesses, Cathy’s “day was divided between [them]... she
neglected her meals, her studies, and her play” (236). Cathy displays endless devotion to her
father and her nurse, even sacrificing her own personal comfort to attend to them. In direct
contrast to Catherine, who cares mostly for her own interests, Cathy is more devoted to her loved
ones than she is to herself. Yet, Cathy also inherits a fragment of her mother’s vanity, as she
mocks Hareton for his literacy and his simple mindset. Instead of encouraging Hareton to learn
to read, Cathy simply dismisses his attempt at educating himself by exclaming “Oh, you dunce”
to him (183). However, she is able to relinquish her prejudice towards the lower class and treat
Hareton as an equal. She abandons her vanity and pride as a lady from the noble class and urges
for Hareton to forgive her past actions, stating how she “thank [him], and beg [him] to forgive
[her]” (303). The marriage of the two symbolizes how one can overcome both the divide of
social class and the desire for vengeance. Cathy is able to look past Hareton’s lower class
upbringing and fall in love with him for the genuine kindness he holds, whereas Hareton is able
to disregard Cathy’s previous mistreatment of him and offer her forgiveness. Their union is the
indication that compassion and understanding can triumph over cruelty and abuse.

Brontë creates the character Linton Heathcliff to demonstrate how people who are frequently
abused often become flawed in character and submit to the will of their abuser. When Cathy and
Linton meet on the moors, Linton begs Cathy to speak highly of his conduct during the meeting
and “don’t provoke [Heathcliff] against [him]... for he is very hard” (253). Linton is coerced by
his father to meet with Cathy in order to marry Cathy and inherit Thrushcross Grange. After
enduring the harsh abuses from Heathcliff, Linton becomes terribly frightened of his father and
adheres to all of his father’s orders. He is so horrified of his father’s cruelty that he willingly
becomes a tool that his father uses to exact revenge upon the Lintons. After Cathy threatens to
leave Linton, he begs Cathy to stay by stating that “Papa talks enough of my defects… I doubt
whether I am not altogether as worthless as he calls me… and then I feel so cross and bitter”
(245). Heathcliff’s frequent verbal abuse of his son makes Linton feel as if he is incapable of
bettering himself. He does not try to fix change his fickle temper and his arrogance, as he is told
frequently that those unpleasant traits are unchangeable aspects of his nature. He does not
believe that he is worthy of love and thus has no motivation to transform into a person as selfless
and admirable as Cathy.

Brontë uses Joseph and Zillah to represent the common, uneducated servant class. She
differentiates Joseph and Zillah from an educated servant like Nelly by making them speak in the
Yorkshire accent. Among the two, Joseph’s accent is much thicker, as he is an old religious
zealot who devotes his life to studying nothing except the Bible. He does not treat his masters
with respect and even condemns Cathy’s idleness by stating “yah’ll niver mend o’yer ill ways,
but goa raight to t’divil, like yer mother afore ye!” (15). Due to his ardor for religion, Joseph
feels responsible to call out Cathy for what he views as a blasphemous crime that she commits.
He symbolizes the people who become too immersed in religious practices that they act as if they
can pass judgment upon those who they perceive to be sinful. Zillah represents a typical servant
who remains as an outsider to the private affairs of their masters. Unlike Nelly, who frequently
meddles with the affairs of the Lintons and Earnshaws, Zillah does not interfere with the actions
of her master. When Cathy comes searching for help to attend to the sick Linton, Zillah refuses
to assist due to her fear of Heathcliff, stating how “it was no concern of [hers] to either advice or
complain, and [she] always refused to meddle” (282). Zillah adheres to her status as a lower class
servant and only does what is socially acceptable for servants to do. Being merely servant, Zillah
believes that her only duty is to heed to the orders of her master. Thus, she refuses to help cure
Linton even if he is on the verge of death.

Brontë uses the setting of Wuthering Heights to reflect upon the cruelty and isolation
perpetrated by its inhabitants. When Lockwood first visits Wuthering Heights, he immediately
notices “a quantity of grotesque carving” on the threshold and “a wilderness of crumbling
griffins and shameless little boys” above the doors (4). The frightening statues situated at the
house’s entrance evokes a sense of fear that warns of the potential danger that visitors may
encounter as they enter the dwelling. The unnerving atmosphere also reflects upon the tragedies
that occured within the dwelling as well as the miserable state of its inhabitants. The house also
has the ability to elicit the inner viciousness within its inhabitants. When Isablla first arrives at
Wuthering Heights, she becomes drawn to a gun owned by Hindley and thinks to herself, “How
powerful I should be possessing such an instrument” (139). Hindley’s gun is a symbol of the
violence and brutality that occurs frequently at Wuthering Heights. Isabella is a naive girl who
spent her entire life in the beautiful, comfortable Thrushcross Grange. As she becomes unnerved
by her despairing new home, she immediately becomes drawn to the factors of violence
prevalent within the house and wishes to use violence as a method of protecting herself.
Heathcliff is one of the major forces of cruelty that inhabits the house. After his death, his
dwelling loses its dreadful atmosphere and becomes a place of bliss and tranquility. When
Lockwood returns to the house by the end of the novel, he notices “a fragrance of stocks and
wallflowers wafted on the air from amongst the homely fruit trees” (296). The aroma of flowers
and fruits create a welcoming atmosphere, signifying how the house has completely changed
from the desolate, isolated dwelling it previously was. No longer under the influence of the cruel
master Heathcliff, the inhabitants of the house can live joyously and freely under its roof. The
house thus reflects their glee and transforms into a pleasant, elegant home for them to reside.

The setting of Thrushcross Grange is employed by Brontë to symbolize the high social
standing and extravagant living style of the aristocratic class. When Heathcliff and Catherine
first sneaks out of their home to peak at the house, they see that it is “a splendid place carpeted
with crimson, and crimson-covered chairs and tables, and a pure white ceiling bordered by gold”
(48). The color “crimson” and “gold” are often associated with nobility and wealth. By
describing that the house is covered by those two colors, Brontë signifies the lavish lifestyle of
the Lintons, who reside within the house. After Catherine returns from her stay at Thrushcross
Grange, she transforms from “a wild, hatless little savage” into “a very dignified person, with
brown ringlets falling from the cover of a feathered beaver” (52). Influenced by the high-born
living style of the Linton household, Catherine learns how to behave as a lady of her class. She is
now led to believe that she must conform to and live in the same sophisticated manner as the
Lintons. Thrushcross Grange thus acts as a place defined by the social expectations of the higher
class that she must adhere to. When Catherine becomes deluded by brain fever, she reminisces
over her past, believing that she “ should be [herself] were [she] once among the heather on those
hills” and orders Nely to “open the window” of her house (125). Catherine is constrained by the
aristocratic living style that she must obey as long as she remains within Thrushcross Grange.
She feels that she cannot be her true self while she is living in the Grange. By opening the
window, she wishes to escape from the constraining atmosphere of the house and feel the sense
of freedom that she once experienced in nature.
Significance of Opening/Closing Scenes:
Opening: The novel opens with Lockwood accounting that it is the year 1801, providing a clear
indication of time that helps clarify the story as the narrative switches between the present and
the past later on in the novel. Lockwood, the new tenant of Thrushcross Grange, decides to pay a
visit to his landlord Heathcliff at Wuthering Heights. Once Lockwood sees his new landlord, he
is immediately intrigued by Heathcliff’s aloof and cold attitude towards visitors. His interest in
Heathcliff will eventually lead him to inquire Nelly of the tale of Wuthering Heights in order to
determine the cause of Heathcliff’s misanthropic behaviors. As he enters the house, he is
confounded by the name “Hareton Earnshaw” engraved on the door as he only knows that the
mansion belongs to Heathcliff. He establishes the grim and gloomy atmosphere of the house by
describing its desolate location on top of a hill and how it got its name due to the stormy weather
of its environment. While he is in the house, Lockwood is attacked by a pack of aggressive dogs.
The dogs become a motif in the novel that represents the cruelty that the inhabitants of
Wuthering Heights inflict upon one another. Thus, even from the beginning, Lockwood is
confronted by how brutality thrives in Wuthering Heights. At the end of his visit, Heathcliff
clearly indicates to Lockwood that he wants no visitors. Yet, Lockwood still plans on returning
to the house, demonstrating his inconsiderate and egocentric nature.

Ending: Lockwood returns to Wuthering Heights in 1802, a year after his first visit to the house.
In contrast to his dark and dismal description of the house during his first visit, Lockwood now
describes the beautiful natural scenery that surrounds the house, indicating how Wuthering
Heights has become a place of joy. After hearing Nelly’s story on the death of Heathcliff,
Lockwood learns the reason for the drastic transformation of the mansion: Heathcliff has died.
The houses now belong to their rightful owners, as Hareton now owns Wuthering Heights, and
the engraving of his name on the door is no longer a perplexing sight for visitors. Catherine and
Hareton’s marriage unites the two houses and finally resolves the bitter and lengthy conflict
between Thrushcross Grange and Wuthering Heights. Nelly accounts to Lockwood how
Heathcliff is so consumed by his desire to see Catherine again that he starves himself to death.
Thus, Heathcliff decides to stop perpetuating cruelty upon others but instead commits his last act
of brutality against himself. With his demise, the harshness and brutality that once pervaded the
house also ceases to exist. Nelly relates to Lockwood sightings of Heathcliff and Catherine’s
ghost wandering about the two houses, which signifies that the two lovers have finally reunited
in the afterlife. The novel ends with Lockwood overlooking the graves of Edgar, Catherine, and
Heathcliff on the peaceful and beautiful moors. As he observes the headstones of the three
people whose lives are filled with turmoil and dread, he again displays his thoughtlessness and
ignorance by assuming that the three are enjoying an eternal repose under the earth.