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Wuthering Heights


Wuthering Heights English IV, AP/DC The Form of the Novel A tale of revenge, romance, and tragedy It exhibits many characteristics of the Gothic novel which focuses ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Wuthering Heights

Wuthering Heights
  • English IV, AP/DC

The Form of the Novel
  • A tale of revenge, romance, and tragedy
  • It exhibits many characteristics of the Gothic
    novel which focuses on mysterious events
  • Castles, supernatural events, Gothic architecture
    (spires and gargoyles)
  • The weather in Gothic literature is often foul or
    fierce (note the word wuthering means violent

  • The novel was first published anonymously in
    December of 1847
  • Right away it offended Victorian sensibilities
    with its frank treatment of desire.
  • Emily Bronte dies a year later in December of
    1848, and the following year her sister,
    Charlotte (author of Jane Eyre), publishes the
    second edition under Emilys name.
  • Today, the book is given the praise it so
    rightfully deserves

So, who was Emily Bronte?
  • There are many legends, biographies, and
    speculations surrounding the Bronte sisters.
  • Their upbringing on the Yorkshire moors was one
    marked by isolation and eccentricity.
  • There was an enormous curiosity regarding three
    sisters who published works almost
    simultaneously, suggesting an extraordinary
    concentration of talent in one family.
  • Wuthering Heights initially shocked readers in
    1847, but the twentieth century has enjoyed a
    renewed interest and passion for Brontes novel
    as, like Frankenstein, the novel transcends its
    literary origin to enjoy an important place in
    the literary canon.

  • Though Charlotte enjoyed far more notoriety,
    Emily is quite often considered the better
  • Born in 1818, Emily was and English poet and
    novelist well remembered for her only
    novel--Wuthering Heights.

Early Life
  • After a horrible boarding school experience
    during which she and her sisters suffered abuse
    and an outbreak of typhus (which kills the eldest
    sister), Emily and her sisters and brother are
    educated at home by their father and aunt,
    Elizabeth Branwell. (These experiences are
    reflected in Charlottes novel Jane Eyre)
  • Their love for knowledge and the arts flourished
    in an atmosphere that whole-heartedly encouraged
    such pursuits.
  • Unfortunately, this close-knit environment also
    cultivated certain aspects of Emilys character
    that would always plague her homesickness.
  • She worked as a school teacher for a time, but
    the 17 hour workdays were overwhelming and she
    eventually returned home to recover from the

Currer, Ellis, and Acton
  • In 1846, the sisters published a book of poetry
    together under the title Poems of Currer, Ellis,
    and Acton Bell. (Charlotte, Emily, and Anne
  • Charlotte wrote in the "Biographical Notice of
    Ellis and Acton Bell" that their "ambiguous
    choice" was "dictated by a sort of conscientious
    scruple at assuming Christian names positively
    masculine, while we did not like to declare
    ourselves women, because... we had a vague
    impression that authoresses are liable to be
    looked on with prejudice."

Untimely death
  • Emily's health, like her sisters', had been
    weakened by unsanitary conditions at home, the
    source of water being contaminated by runoff from
    the church's graveyard.
  • She became sick during her brother's funeral in
    September of 1848. Though her condition worsened
    steadily, she rejected medical help, saying that
    she would have "no poisoning doctor" near her.
  • She eventually died of tuberculosis on December
    19, 1848

The Appeal of the Novel
  • The central relationship of Cathy and
    Heathclifflove stories are always attractive!
  • One of the most celebrated love stories of all
    time, though Cathy and Heathcliff never marry and
    rarely show physical affection toward one
  • The novel seems to celebrate a transcendent love
    that surpasses the bounds of authority,
    mundanity, even death.
  • The novel both recognizes and explicitly appeals
    to a universal desire for the perfect Other
    (Lacanian theory).

My great miseries have been Heathcliffs
miseries, and I watched and felt each from the
beginning my great thought in living is
himself. He is more myself than I
amCatherine Earnshaw
The Structure
  • 34 relatively short chapters
  • Lockwood serves as primary narrator, with Nelly
    Dean offering some perspective
  • At times, Lockwood is speaking with the present
    day Heathcliff, at other times he is being told
    stories by the housekeeper
  • Framed story
  • Review the family tree to help keep
    characters/families straight
  • While there is more than one Catherine,
    (Catherine Earnshaw, Catherine Heathcliff,
    Catherine Linton are the same person).

  • Bronte dives into the tumultuous nature of human
  • Her characterization is effective, in part,
    because we never truly understand the motivations
    of the charactersthey remain enigmas
  • Themes
  • Unrequited/Romantic/ill-fated love
  • Social class
  • Nature v. civilization (man)
  • Family history/relationships
  • Revenge

Literary Approaches
  • Psychoanalytic reading (Freud and Lacan)
  • Historical reading (Victorian Age, social issues
    pertaining to class, etc.)
  • Feminist approach
  • Formalist approach
  • We will attempt to cover as many of these
    approaches as possible!

The problem of Catherine
  • Catherine breaks the mold for what many would see
    as the stereotypical 19th century woman she is
    independent, strong-willed, and makes her desires
    known to all those around her.
  • Later in the novel, her actions strongly reflect
    those that are expected of women in England of
    the time period.
  • She comes off as fickle. She wants Heathcliff,
    but her pursuit of the perfect suitor continually
    poses problems for them both. She eventually
    claims that marrying a more appropriate suitor
    will only help Heathcliff (well talk about her
  • She attempts to balance personal desire with
    social expectation. (Gothic heroine?)

  • Reclusive narrator, claims to be misanthropic.
  • The novel consists of his diary entries during a
    period as Heathcliffs tenant.
  • Has come to Thrushcross Grange to be alone (theme
    of isolation/alienation).
  • Enamored with Heathcliff with whom he shares
    certain tendencies, Lockwood wants to know more
    about his misanthropic landlord and the
    beautiful, widowed daughter-in-law.
  • Similar in nature to Walton and VictorLockwood
    is given the opportunity to learn a lesson.

Heathcliff THE Byronic hero
  • Passionate, vengeful
  • His mysterious origins makes him a social outcast
    among the landed gentry
  • He is Cathys physical and spiritual equal, but
    he deserts the Heights when she chooses Edgar
    over him
  • He returns mysteriously rich, educated,
    destroying Cathys marriage
  • Eloping with Isabella to further distress Edgar
    (her brother), he goes on to lure Hindley
    Earnshaw (Cathys older brother) into gambling
    away his rights to Wuthering Heights
  • His desire for revenge is only checked when he
    senses the imminence of his own death and his
    hopes of a final reunion with his ghostly

Famous Quotes from the novel
  • "It would degrade me to marry Heathcliff now so
    he shall never know how I love him and that, not
    because he's handsome, Nelly, but because he's
    more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are
    made of, his and mine are the same and Linton's
    is as different as a moonbeam from lightning, or
    frost from fire."
  • Nelly, I am Heathcliff! He's always, always in
    my mind not as a pleasure, any more than I am
    always a pleasure to myself, but as my own
  • "You have left me so long to struggle against
    death, alone, that I feel and see only death! I
    feel like death!"
  • "He wanted all to lie in an ecstasy of peace I
    wanted all to sparkle and dance in a glorious
    jubilee. I said his heaven would be only half
    alive and he said mine would be drunk I said I
    should fall asleep in his and he said he could
    not breathe in mine..."
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