Understanding the Themes
This portion of the Wuthering Heights analysis focuses on Wuthering Heights themes.
Question: List examples that show the damaging effects of obsessive love?
- The most obvious is Heathcliff’s monomaniacal revenge he exacts on anyone that prevented him from being with Catherine. His actions, however, bring him no relief from suffering. He talks of mingling with Catherine’s ghost and being haunted by it frequently.
- Hindley’s inability to function after the death of his wife allows Heathcliff to take over the estate.
- Isabella’s blind love of Heathcliff causes her to overlook minor defects–a propensity to kill small animals, for example. Isabella also ignores warnings from her brother and Nelly.
Question: In what ways do events of the past force themselves on the living?
- The effect of the past is symbolized by the frequent appearance of Catherine’s ghost. It is Heathcliff’s obsession for Catherine that fuels his revenge on those who prevented the two from being together. Hareton’s recognition that his ancestor bearing the same name used to own Wuthering Heights leads him to believe he’s more than a common servant.
- Hareton and Catherine’s resemblance to the older Catherine reminds Heathcliff of what he had lost, and contributes to the manner in which he dies.
Understanding the Characters
This portion of the Wuthering Heights analysis focuses on characters.
Question: List the five most despicable character other than Heathcliff (answers will vary).
- Linton Heathcliff - Linton inherits the worst traits of both his parents. He is whiny, weak, and stupid like is mother. He is imperious and demanding like his father. I only widh I could have taken Heathcliff’s place in torturing him.
- Joseph - In addition to having an indecipherable accent, Joseph’s hypocrisy makes him extremely unlikeable.
- Isabella Linton - If you hate stupid people, you don’t want to be friends with this dummy The man to whom she pledges her life hangs her puppy on the day they are to elope. She still marries him.
- Hindley Earnshaw - Hindley lacks character. He becomes jealous of his father’s favoring of Heathcliff. After Mr. Earnshaw’s death, Hindley banishes Heathcliff to the servants' quarters and forbids his mingling with Catherine. After the death of his wife, Hindley becomes a drunk, derelict, and a gambler.
- Catherine Earnshaw - She marries Edgar Linton, notwithstanding her love for Heathcliff. She allows Heathcliff to disrupt her marriage and makes her self sick enough to die.
Question: Through which two characters are both families redeemed?
- Catherine Linton and Hareton Earnshaw’s impending marriage unite the best qualities of both families. Despite Heathcliff’s efforts to degrade Hareton, his nobility eventually shines forth. Catherine overcomes her immaturity and capriciousness to find goodness in others and teach Hareton who he truly is.