Describe the novel Wuthering Heights.

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booboosmoosh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte, is a sad, haunting tale of Heathcliff, his love for Catherine, and his inability to find true happiness.

The story takes place in Yorkshire, and is a completely different style of literature than previously seen in Victorian England, stressing the individual on his own rather than a part of his/her society, and holding up the class structure (aristocracy vs the landed gentry) to public view, especially as she saw it practiced in her backyard of Yorkshire. Add to it a dash of the Gothic horror genre, and Bronte's introduced a novel the likes of which had yet to be experienced. It was not well-received at first.

[Wuthering Heights] stands outside the social conventions of its time.

The reader follows several generations of people whose lives are forever entwined between the estates of Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange (a neighboring estate).

The story is told by Nelly, a servant and Mr. Lockwood, a visitor to the area who learns the sad tale of the lives destroyed throughout the years.

Heathcliff is at the center of this tale, brought into Wuthering Heights as an orphan by old Mr. Earnshaw. He is treated unkindly by Earnshaw's son (Linton), and through misadventures, loses the love of Catherine, Earnshaw's other child, something that will twist and change him forever.

Heathcliff spends the rest of the story manipulating those around him, including the children of the next generation, to secure the properties of Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange.

When Catherine (the older) dies, Heathcliff asks her ghost to haunt him, and at the end of the story, Heathcliff dies from starvation after days of being haunted by Catherine's ghost. As per his wishes, he is buried next to Catherine, with the side of both coffins open so that their ashes may be joined in death.

Prevalent themes in the story include: love and passion, revenge, violence and cruelty, class conflict, nature, and the supernatural. Those which seem to stand out more than others are love and passion, revenge, and violence and cruelty—these appear to drive the plot forward more forcefully than the others.

There is a great deal more detail to this story. You might want to make use of eNotes summaries, etc., to supplement your reading of the novel. You can find this information at:

http://www.enotes.com/wuthering-heights/

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