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Here are the 6 topics that I include on my essay test:
1. Investigate the character of Nelly (Or Ellen Dean). Why does Bronte choose Nelly for the main narrator? She is painfully silent at times, but at other times she appears the only sane and redeemable character in the entire novel. Affirm a position on her character and support it.
2. Analyze Heathcliff and Catherine's love. Is it evenly-matched or is it one-sided? Why does Catherine marry Edgar Linton if she does not love him?
3. Is Heathcliff at all heroic (a Byronic Hero perhaps), or is he villainous? Pick a position and support it, identifying Heathcliff's redeemable/heroic qualities and explaining his villainous qualities, or vice-versa.
4. According the novel, what is more powerful: hate/vengeance, or love? Are they one and the same? Opposites? What is their relationship?
5. What elements of Realism, Romanticism, and Naturalism are found in the novel?
6. The novel is full of dualities: it is two novels in one; two plots; two settings; two generations. Pick a set of two (characters, settings, themes, points-of-view) and compare and contrast them from beginning to end.
Here are the 4 topics for sample papers that Enotes suggests:
Wuthering Heights can be viewed as the struggle between civilized, conventional human behavior and its wild, anarchistic side. Put simply, the novel contrasts the good and evil in human nature.
Brontë is unusual as an author in her refusal to make value judgements about her characters. The reader is not entirely certain if Heathcliff is meant to be viewed as demonic or sympathetic. Decide which view the text best supports.
From an early age, Heathcliff has experienced injustices. First, he was an orphan, living on the streets of Liverpool, when Mr. Earnshaw found him. The rest of the Earnshaw family is appalled of the idea of Heathcliff joining their family. Hindley is cruel to Heathcliff as a child, and Edgar refuses to allow Heathcliff and Catherine to be friends. Heathcliff’s revenge later in life on the Earnshaw family may be justified.
In Wuthering Heights, Brontë employs stylisitc devices such as symbolism and recurring motifs.
Here are the other critical essays offered by Enotes:
Wuthering Heights | Essays and Criticism
- Wuthering Heights: A Critical Analysis
Roger Moore explores the central themes and elements of Wuthering Heights, focusing on the relationship between Cathy and Heathcliff, the seminal setting of the work, and the supernatural.
- Wuthering Heights and the Unforgivable Sin
In the following essay, Vereen M. Bell comments on moral themes in Wuthering Heights, focusing in particular on the Biblical allusions in narrator Lockwood's first dream.
- The Waif at the Window: Emily Bronte's Feminine "Bildungsroman"
In the following essay, Annette R. Federico maintains that Wuthering Heights is a bildungsroman—a novel which outlines the initiation of a young character into adulthood—focusing on the development of young Cathy Linton rather than that of her mother.
- Repeating Cycles and Recurring Patterns in Wuthering Heights
In the following essay, Donna C. Woodford explores how an examination of the patterns that recur throughout Wuthering Heights provide a useful way of reading and interpreting the novel.
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