Wuthering Heights Questions and Answers

Emily Brontë

Read real teacher answers to our most interesting Wuthering Heights questions.

Is Wuthering Heights a love story?

The darkness of the characters in Wuthering Heights, especially of Cathy and Heathcliff, is drawn out by their professed love for each other. Although the novel has been traditionally seen as emblematic of tragic and passionate love, another reading of it frames the actions of Cathy and Heathcliff as that of sadists. Their sadism and masochism is evident in their torture of themselves and each other. For instance, they both marry other people to hurt each other. In fact, they marry based on a calculation of the maximum amount of pain they can inflict. They are self-destructive and it kills them, especially Cathy. Even at the end, their passion for each other seems to be a perverse love-hate storm. 

Why do all the characters have similar names?

The fact that the mixed-up names of the first generation of characters and the second generation of characters are all so similar and confusing is a deliberate literary trick of Bronte's. The various Lintons and Earnshaws, as well as the confusing "H" names (Heathcliff, Hindley, and Hareton), are meant to show the exact parallels between the older generation and the younger. Will Cathy Linton make the same mistakes as her mother, Cathy Earnshaw? Will the marriage of Linton Heathcliff and Cathy Linton be as abusive as the marriage of Heathcliff and Isabella Linton? Will Hareton pay for the mistakes of his father Hindley? Will love or pain win out this time around? The questions are all emphasized through the parallel naming.