Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

Wuthering Heights book cover
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Ideas for Group Discussions

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

Wuthering Heights is a book that can be approached from several discussion avenues. A brief introduction to Bronte's life will orient the group to the times and sensibilities of the era which informs the story. The film versions apply their own interpretations to the love story, and comparing one of the films to the novel will generate opinions about the meaning of the story. Placing the story in its own time period (called "contextualizing") and looking at nineteenth-century life, such as the lives and roles of different classes and gender, will reflect on Bronte's themes and social concerns. The "reader response approach," in which each group member discusses what the book meant to him/her, will illustrate how people respond to different aspects of the story.

1. In what ways is Wuthering Heights part of the tradition of Gothic stories?

2. How would you describe Heathcliff? What do you really know about his background? What can you make up about him?

3. Is Heathcliff the illegitimate son of Earnshaw?

4. Why does Bronte use the ghost stories to open and conclude her novel?

5. What evidence of class struggle can you point to in Wuthering Heights?

6. If Cathy and Heathcliff would have married, how would you describe their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary? What would they be like?

7. Why did Heathcliff want revenge so desperately?

8. Why did Cathy wait until Heathcliff returned to become pregnant?

9. How does the weather on the moors reflect the climate in the two houses? Why was it essential for Bronte to choose this setting?

10. Why is it important for both Cathy and Heathcliff to die and to be buried close to one another? Why do their ghosts walk the moors?