Wuthering Heights Study Guide

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1. Women of the 1800s did not have the same independence that women have today. A woman was meant to constantly be under the care of a man. As a child, women were ruled by their fathers. As they got older, their husbands would take on responsibility for them. If a woman remained unmarried, her father would maintain responsibility for her until he passed away and then the nearest male blood relative would take over. In Wuthering Heights, Catherine is opressed by these rules of the 1800s. As a child, Catherine is precocious and active which would be admirred in a boy, but she is described as being a "wild, wicked slip" (Bronte 11). Women were meant to remain quiet and subservient. Neither of which Catherine embodied.

2. Revenge is the most dominant theme in Wuthering Heights. Because a love cannot exist between Heathcliff and Catherine, both descend into sadness and live their lives causing each other pain. After Heathcliff sees that Catherine has married Edgar and betrayed their relationship for wealth and social status, he decides to marry Isabella Linton, Edgar's sister, to take revenge. After Catherine's death, Heathcliff feels that he still has not taken full revenge for the pain that the Earnshaws have caused him. Her death was a final blow to Heathcliff as she believed he was responsible for her death. Death is always considered the highest form of revenge, but ironically, in this case, the death only makes Heathcliff desire Catherine more. He calls out, Be with me always--take any form--drive me mad only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you (Bronte 102) Since Heathcliff could no longer harm Catherine, he continued his revenge plot by involving Catherine's brother, Hindley, her nephew, Hareton, and her daughter. He explains that it is the precise time to revenge [himself] on [his enemies] representatives. (Bronte 125)Spending the remainder of his life taking revenge leaves Heathcliff miserable and empty. The point Bronte makes...
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