The most important themes in literature are sometimes formed when a death takes place. In the book Wuthering Heights, do you think this statement is true? Provide 3 reasons supporting your argument...

The most important themes in literature are sometimes formed when a death takes place. In the book Wuthering Heights, do you think this statement is true? Provide 3 reasons supporting your argument and provide a theme that comes from the death.

Expert Answers
munarriz eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Death is certainly an important thematic element in Wuthering Heights. The first death to play an important role is the death of Mr. Earnshaw. Once Earnshaw is no longer present to protect Heathcliff, Heathcliff becomes the target of Hindley's abuse. This physical and emotional abuse hardens Heathcliff and leads to the eventual revenge plot that carries the weight of the second half of the novel.

A second death that plays an important part of the story is Catherine's. Heathcliff's confrontation with her before her passing leads to further distress on his part. He demands that she haunt him, and she seemingly does. He wanders the moors and becomes even more entrenched in his plans for revenge against Hindley and the Lintons.

While other deaths continue to move the plot forward in different ways, it is Heathcliff's death at the end of the novel that finally completes the cycle of revenge that starts many years before. Having completed his revenge and become the sole possessor of the Grange and the Heights, Heathcliff dies after suffering from melancholy and anorexia. He is buried next to Catherine and finally finds a semblance of peace.

teachersage eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Death absolutely provides thematic material in Wuthering Heights. First, the father's death early in the story leads to the theme of abuse and how abuse and neglect draw Cathy and Heathcliff into a very close bond. Second, Cathy's death has a shattering effect on Heathcliff, and third, even if he does not love as deeply, Linton mourns Cathy's demise and never remarries, showing that death changes lives.

An important theme arises from Cathy's death. The novel is metaphysical, meaning it posits, or argues for, another world beyond the material. Cathy believes that after she dies she will be flung on the moors because she doesn't belong in heaven: nature is her true home and where she longs to be. In the novel, Cathy and Heathcliff might be separated in life by her dying, but the intimation in the novel is that their love is so deep and their souls so tightly intertwined that they will be together after death: a love like theirs cannot be killed. 

Read the study guide:
Wuthering Heights

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question