Suggested Essay Topics
1. Compare and contrast the characters Heathcliff and Lockwood. Does Lockwood’s impression of Heathcliff change by the time he leaves Wuthering Heights?
2. Discuss the meaning of the name of Heathcliff’s home, Wuthering Heights. Does the name reflect on Heathcliff’s personality or the home itself?
1. Discuss Lockwood’s use of flowery Victorian language in assuming Heathcliff and Cathy are husband and wife. Why do you feel he would choose such language?
2. Discuss Lockwood’s plan to woo Cathy away from Hareton. Argue whether or not Lockwood has genuine feelings for Cathy.
1. Although Lockwood is a minor character, Brontë provides sufficient information for us to develop a clear picture of him. Write a brief character sketch describing Lockwood, focusing on his perceived similarities to Heathcliff.
2. In many novels, the setting functions like a character; without its unique qualities, the story wouldn’t be the same. Describe the Yorkshire countryside, giving reasons why its characteristics are essential to the novel.
1. Discuss the difference between the way Mr. Earnshaw treats Hindley and Heathcliff. Based on your reading of the novel, argue whether or not Mr. Earnshaw has any legitimate reason(s) why he treats Heathcliff better than Hindley.
2. Discuss the relationship between Catherine and Heathcliff.
1. There is enormous hatred between Hindley and Heathcliff. Both boys feel cheated of something the other has. Which one do you feel has the more legitimate complaint? Defend Heathcliff or Hindley based on whom you believe has the most justification.
2. Social class issues begin to surface in Chapters Six and Seven. Much of Heathcliff’s social inferiority is due to his swarthy appearance and lack of family background. Discuss his treatment by the Lintons compared to their behavior toward Catherine in this context.
1. Discuss Catherine’s “double character.” How does this affect her relationship with Heathcliff?
2. Discuss the theme of the divided self: Man’s natural instincts in conflict with society’s adopted values. Using Edgar and Catherine as examples, discuss how these two aspects of human nature can or cannot be reconciled.
1. Write a character sketch of Edgar Linton, delineating his growth from a prissy, indulged child of privilege into a gentleman of honor and respect.
2. Discuss Catherine’s decision to marry Edgar. Why does she choose to marry Edgar when she is in love with Heathcliff? Discuss Nelly’s reaction to her decision.
1. Discuss Heathcliff’s plan for revenge. How does his plan affect Edgar, Catherine, Hindley and Isabella?
2. Discuss Isabella’s attraction to Heathcliff. How do Edgar and Catherine react to Isabella’s feelings for Heathcliff?
1. Describe Hareton. How has Heathcliff influenced Hareton’s behavior?
2. Based on your reading of the novel, argue whether Catherine has truly gone insane, or is she acting insane for purely manipulative reasons?
1. Both Isabella and Catherine are literally “fish out of water” in the residences they married into. Discuss how each woman responds to an environment which is unnatural to her.
2. Heathcliff is certain that Catherine loves only him. Based on your reading of the novel, argue whether or not Catherine has legitimate feelings for her husband.
1. Describe Catherine’s feelings towards her impending death.
2. Why does Heathcliff want Catherine’s soul to know no rest until he is dead? Do you feel he is selfish?
1. Are Hindley and Isabella equally victims of Heathcliff’s scheming, or did they in some manner “deserve” what happened to them at his hands? Using what you know about both of their backgrounds, discuss to what extent Brontë intends us to pity them.
2. Both Isabella and Catherine are pregnant in these chapters, yet neither one even mentions it. What significance is there to their combined...
(The entire section is 1,015 words.)