Analysis of Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

The Bronte sisters have not written many novels but what have been written are excellent pieces of literary work. Emily Bronte wrote ‘Wuthering Heights’ between October 1845 and June 1846. It was published under the pseudonym Ellis Bell, the next year. She did not live long to see the book becoming popular in the literary circles. Emily Bronte died in the year 1847 at the age of thirty. Charlotte Bronte’s ‘Jane Eyre’ became an instant hit and she edited ‘Wuthering Heights’ and got it published again in 1850. This time it was received well by a larger group of people.


Wuthering Heights has inspired television, radio and film adaptations. A ballet, song, operas and a musical was also created which was inspired by this novel. The story is about love and revenge, where the revenge overshadows the feeling of love. It is a narration of a housekeeper to the tenant about the history of Thrushcross Grange, an estate and Wuthering Heights, a manor. It is about the life of two families and the role of Heathcliff to take possession of both the places and get his sweet revenge.

The narrator Nelly Dean has seen all the incidents in these two houses and her narration makes Mr.Lockwood empathize with the characters of the story so much so that when he eventually leaves Thrushcross Grange he visits the graves of Heathcliff and Catherine. Catherine was the daughter of Mr. Earnshaw . She had a brother – Hindley. The Earnshaws were very compassionate people and one day Mr. Earnshaw brought an orphan into the household. He was Heathcliff and was the same age as Catherine and Hindley. Nelly the narrator was their age as well and good friend of Catherine.

Changing Affections

Hindley hates the arrival of Heathcliff but Catherine takes to him even though he was rough and tough and was not suited for the Earnshaw household. But all in the house other than Hindley loved him and Catherine grew extremely fond of him. They began to spend a lot of time together walking in the moor and slowly fell in love with each other. During one such outing they walk near Thrushcross Grange and see Isabella and Edgar of that house. They watch from outside and are suddenly attacked by dogs.

When Edgar and Isabella’s parents know that she was from Wuthering Heights, they take good care of her and send her back after five days. During this time Catherine seems to take a liking for Edgar but she is sure that it not that kind of love she feels for Heathcliff. But as fate would have it Edgar and Catherine get married and Heathcliff goes away. He comes back after a few years and by then he has made a lot of money and has become more presentable. Catherine love is rekindled but she cannot exhibit as she is already married to Edgar.

Time For Revenge

Heathcliff has come to take revenge on Edgar and Catherine but cannot really do anything to Catherine. He marries Isabella much against the wishes of Edgar but treats her like a maid. She is tortured and when it comes to a point of no return she runs away from the house. She gives birth to a child Linton and brings him up away from Heathcliff. Catherine too becomes weak but she also conceives and gives birth to a baby girl who is given the same name. She dies soon after delivery. All through her sickness Heathcliff meets her in spite of Edgar and takes good care of her. With her death he is devastated but vows revenge with more passion.

The children grow up. Linton is brought back to Wuthering Heights after the death of Isabella. Cathy is made to marry Linton through persuasion. Heathcliff knows with that marriage he would finally own both Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange. Linton dies soon after marriage. Cathy finally falls in love with Hindley’s son Hareton and marries him. Towards the end of his life Heathcliff cannot take revenge on Hareton and Cathy because both remind him of Catherine. He dies peacefully giving up the thoughts of revenge and is buried near Catherine. He is seen talking to the ghost of Catherine before his death. Lockwood visits the graves of Catherine, Heathcliff and Edgar before leaving the place once and for all.

Characters And Theme

Each of the characters has a powerful role to play with the exception of Isabella. In the next generation only Cathy’s character alone is sketched out well while others are seen as weaklings physically or being illiterate. Catherine and Heathcliff are the real protagonists of the story. Even though Catherine dies young her name and personality still lingers all through the story. Even in the end Heathcliff sees her apparition. It is a story of unrequited love and the revenge of Heathcliff.

Nelly might be a narrator of the story but as it unfolds we realize that she has a very important part. She is responsible in the final reunion of Heathcliff and Catherine. She is very loyal to her master yet she understands the feelings of young maidens and help them fulfill their desires, be it going to the moor or meeting their loved ones. Nelly reflects the feelings of others and her narration is very impartial as is her actions. Lockwood is the silent listener who gets angry with Heathcliff’s cruel ways. Though he goes away hastily, he comes back to see what happens in the end.

The themes that recur in the story are romanticism, nature, spirits, class discrimination and finally revenge. There is an element of revenge in many characters. Hindley at the first instance discriminates Heathcliff and ensures that he is not educated. Heathcliff takes revenge on Hindley first and then on Edgar. He deposes Hindley from Wuthering Heights; ensures Cathy marries his weak and dying son Linton. Before that he marries Isabella, Edgar’s sister and tortures her. With Cathy and Linton marrying Thrushcross Grange also becomes Heathcliff’s property. The grandeur of the plot does not allow the play to be staged but the theatre, musical and opera adaptations have been welcomed by people.

Why is Wuthering Heights so famous?

Wuthering Heights is a novel by Emily Bronte that has become famous for its dark and intense portrayal of love, obsession, and revenge. The novel’s vivid characters, complex plot, and lyrical prose have captured the imaginations of readers for over 150 years.

One reason why Wuthering Heights is so famous is the unconventional nature of its central love story. The novel’s protagonists, Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff, are complex and often unlikable characters whose love for each other is all-consuming and destructive. The intensity of their passion, coupled with their inability to express their feelings in a healthy way, leads to a series of tragic events that reverberate throughout the novel.

Another reason why Wuthering Heights is so famous is the way in which it explores themes of class, social order, and gender roles. Set in the harsh and unforgiving landscape of the Yorkshire moors, the novel portrays a world in which social status is everything, and those who are deemed inferior or outcast are treated with cruelty and disdain. The novel also challenges traditional gender roles, presenting female characters who are strong, independent, and capable of making their own choices, even in the face of societal pressure.

Finally, Wuthering Heights is famous for its lyrical and evocative prose, which captures the stark beauty and wildness of the moors, as well as the intensity of the emotions experienced by its characters. Bronte’s vivid descriptions of the natural world, coupled with her ability to convey the innermost thoughts and feelings of her characters, make the novel a deeply moving and immersive reading experience.

Overall, Wuthering Heights is famous for its unconventional love story, its exploration of complex themes, and its powerful and evocative prose. The novel’s enduring popularity is a testament to the power of literature to capture the complexities of the human experience, and to touch the hearts and minds of readers across generations.

Is Wuthering Heights A love story?

Wuthering Heights is often categorized as a love story, but it is not a conventional one. The novel explores the complex and often destructive nature of love, particularly the kind of love that is all-consuming and obsessive.

At the heart of the novel is the love between Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff, two characters who are bound together by a powerful and intense connection that defies social conventions and expectations. Their love is passionate and all-consuming, but it is also destructive, leading to jealousy, violence, and ultimately, tragedy.

While Catherine and Heathcliff’s relationship is central to the novel, it is not the only love story that is explored. The novel also explores the relationships between other characters, including Catherine’s sister-in-law, Isabella, and Heathcliff, as well as the love between Heathcliff and the next generation of Earnshaws, particularly Catherine’s daughter, Cathy.

Overall, while Wuthering Heights can be seen as a love story, it is not a conventional one. The novel explores the complexities of love, particularly the dark and destructive side of love, and challenges traditional ideas about romantic relationships. It is a powerful and haunting work that continues to captivate readers with its exploration of the human heart and its passions.

Is Wuthering Heights hard to read?

Wuthering Heights can be challenging to read due to its complex narrative structure, multiple narrators, and use of dialect. The novel is told through a series of flashbacks and features multiple narrators, which can be confusing for some readers. Additionally, the novel’s use of Yorkshire dialect can make some passages difficult to understand.

Furthermore, the themes explored in Wuthering Heights, such as obsession, revenge, and social inequality, can be dark and challenging for some readers. The novel also features complex characters who are not always easy to like or understand.

Despite these challenges, however, many readers find Wuthering Heights to be a deeply rewarding and engaging novel. Its complex narrative structure and multiple perspectives allow readers to gain a deep understanding of the characters and their motivations, while the novel’s themes and imagery continue to resonate with readers today.

Overall, while Wuthering Heights may require some effort to read and fully appreciate, it is a powerful and enduring work that continues to captivate readers with its exploration of the human heart and its passions.