Analysis Essay on “Wuthering Heights” By Emily Bronte
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte is the story of three generations. These three generations are tied in one way or another by two estates; Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange. Wuthering Heights is a story of forbidden love lost and found.
This novel is narrated by a tenant at Thrushcross Grange. Lockwood, the tenant relates the story of Catherine and Heathcliff told by the Thrushcross Grange housekeeper, Nelly Dean. By using these two to narrate, Emily Bronte could expand on her theories about the families living in Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange, instead of just weaving a story directly.
The first generation in Wuthering Heights begins with Mr. Earnshaw, the original owner of Wuthering Heights. Mr. Earnshaw brings home an orphan from Liverpool that is dark skinned. This orphan is Heathcliff, part of the second generation. Mr. Earnshaw’s two children Catherine and Hindley despise Heathcliff at first, but later Catherine warms up to him. After Hindley is sent to college, Heathcliff and Catherine form a fast friendship.
Upon Mr. Earnshaw’s death, Hindley comes home with a wife, Frances. Hindley mercilessly works Heathcliff like a slave. Despite her brother’s feelings Catherine remains loyal to Heathcliff, who by now has fallen in love with her. Fate had a different idea when Catherine is bitten by a dog. She recovers at Thrushcross Grange, where she meets Edgar Linton. Eventually Edgar and Catherine become engaged, causing Heathcliff to leave.
When Heathcliff returns, with immense wealth, he quickly acquires Wuthering Heights. Then he marries Edgar’s sister for revenge. Catherine dies in childbirth, but the child a girl named Catherine lives. After being cruelly treated Isabelle leaves and gives birth to a son, Linton. Hindley dies leaving Wuthering Heights in Heathcliff’s complete control, along with his son Hareton. Heathcliff treated the loyal Hareton just as Hindley had treated him. Upon Isabelle and Edgar’s deaths, Heathcliff forces Linton and Catherine to marry. However when Linton dies, Catherine finds friendship and solace with Hareton.
The dark circle comes to a close when Heathcliff dies, leaving Catherine and Hareton free to be together. There are differences between the first Catherine and Heathcliff’s love and the second Catherine and Hareton’s love. The latter have the same social status, unlike the previous generation. Bronte wanted to show that even though both sets of couples basically went through the same experience, the latter handled love better. Despite the social status, Heathcliff became sullen and withdrawn, whereas Hareton did not become bitter. Bronte could also have wanted to express that the younger generation learned from the mistakes of their elders.
Wuthering Heights has been said to have symbolism, but in the end it is a love story. Actually two love stories, whereas the first couple lost love, the second found love. Love is based on personalities. No two people love a like. Catherine and Heathcliff’s love was doomed from the start, because of Heathcliff’s personality. Catherine and Hareton’s love succeeded because of his optimistic attitude. Love is unique, even in fiction.
Lockwood is basically an interested bystander. Because of an illness, he is captivated by Nelly’s story of the Earnshaw and Lintons. Lockwood writes down this story with sympathy and understanding. Nelly, on the other hand, is the narrator. She has observed the story first hand. Nelly was the sensible housekeeper at Wuthering Heights and later a nursemaid at Thrushcross Grange. Mr. Earnshaw is obviously a generous man. He adopted Heathcliff, treating him like he was his own son. Heathcliff was a troubled person due to the mistreatment of Mr. Earnshaw’s son. Hindley was a jealous person, always taunting Heathcliff. Catherine was a pretty strong-willed spirit. These personalities interact uniquely with each other. Frances is a female version of Hindley. She shows her contempt for Heathcliff due to his low birth. Edgar Linton is an aristocrat. He offers Catherine the finer things in life. Catherine married Edgar because he is her social better. Isabella Linton is naïve, but strong enduring Heathcliff’s abuse. Linton is a sickly child. Hareton is Heathcliff’s whipping boy. Heathcliff took out his frustrations on Hareton. Young Catherine is a compassionate young lady with more strength than her mother.
The comparison between the Earnshaw and Linton is social. The Linton’s belong to a slightly higher class than the Earnshaws, but it is more acceptable for Catherine to marry up than marry beneath her status to Heathcliff. Yet when Heathcliff acquires Wuthering Heights, his social status is improved. However, Heathcliff could never achieve what the Lintons were born with, a birthright. These families were different, but became forged together by several events. The first was Mr. Earnshaw’s adoption of Heathcliff. Secondly was Catherine’s marriage to Edgar. The treatment of each member of the families toward the other family also fused these two families despite their social standings and differences.