December 12, 2012
Original Publishing Date: 1847
Current Publishing Date: 2004
1. THE AUTHOR AND HER/HIS TIMES: Emily Brontë, one of six children, conceived by Patrick Brontë and Maria Branwell Brontë, was born at Thornton in Yorkshire on July 30, 1818. (Merkin) Maria Branwell Brontë died of cancer when Emily was three, leaving the Brontë siblings in the hands of their father and aunt, Elizabeth Branwell. Emily’s sisters, Maria and Elizabeth died, of what they called it at the time, consumption which was pulmonary disease (Merkin), when she was seven. Growing up, Emily and her sisters quite extensively wrote and performed works inspired by toy soldiers that their father Patrick Brontë gave to their brother Patrick Branwell. Patrick Brontë was the curate of Haworth, a remote Yorkshire village, where Emily was happiest in the moors, inspiring the setting in her novel Wuthering Heights. Emily’s sister, Charlotte Brontë, was a major factor to Emily’s writing because she convinced her that her writing needed to be seen by the public. In 1845, Emily began writing Wuthering Heights. Wuthering Heights was first published in 1847, but when trying to publish the novel, it was delayed because at the time writing was “very much a male domain” (Merkin).
2. FORM/STRUCTURE, PLOT: Emily Brontë integrated a series of tales that come full circle, literally creating a story within a story. Lockwood, a perspective renter for a manor called Thrushcross Grange, introduces the frame. Curious of his stern landlord, Heathcliff, Lockwood seeks information from his housekeeper, Nelly Dean about the history of the moors. Nelly presents the content in a way that strays away from the normal sequence of events by using flashbacks to accentuate numerous significant events that make up the plot. Her story begins with the arrival of Heathcliff a “dirty, ragged, black-haired child… gipsy rat” taken in as charity from the late Mr. Earnshaw, and his children. An innocent friendship develops between Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff, which soon grows into a passionate and complicated romance. Simultaneously, Catherine’s brother, Hindley Earnshaw, torments Heathcliff incessantly. The desire to advance in the social class, pressures Catherine to marry Edgar Linton, leaving Heathcliff at a state of betrayal, sparking his need for vengeance towards Catherine. Repetition occurs, first the relationship between Catherine, Heathcliff, and Edgar, and the second presented in the next generation, involving Catherine and Edgar’s daughter, Cathy, Heathcliff’s son Linton Heathcliff, and Hindley’s son Hareton Earnshaw. (Dawson) The second generation must overcome obstacles of what the first generation left behind.
3. POINT OF VIEW/ PERSPECTIVE: The primary narrator of Wuthering Heights is Lockwood, who convinces Nelly Dean to tell stories about Wuthering Heights by stating, “Well, Mrs. Dean, it will be a charitable deed to tell me something of my neighbours: I feel I shall not rest if I go to bed; so be good enough to sit and chat an hour” (Brontë 34). The perspective of the novel is told in first person; Nelly is the most influential narrator of the novel henceforth. Though she is informative of her information, Nelly “lack[s] [of] sympathy with the people who are supposed to be in her charge” (Shapiro 35:152). Readers are able to interpret emotions the narrator is saying and keep a biased idea of what they think the story really is portraying. Nelly tells the story in a way that Lockwood describes as something that “would prove a regular gossip” (Brontë 32). Lockwood presents himself at various times in the novel when situations are referred back to the present. Wuthering Heights is completely hypnotizing because it questions the reader constantly on the different points of views each narrator presents. The novel is fascinating in way that I became aware of the different perspectives that are...
Bibliography: Brontë, Emily. Wuthering Heights. New York: Signet Classics, 2011. Print.
Dawson, Terrence. “A Structuralist Approach to the Narrative Structure of Wuthering Heights”. The Victorian Web. National University of Singapore. 24 Nov. 2004. Web. 23 Nov. 2012. < http://www.victorianweb.org/authors/bronte/ebronte/dawson3.html>.
“Emily Brontë (1818-48): Sitemap.” The Victorian Web. 25 Feb. 2008. Web. 27 Nov. 2012. .
Hoffman, Alice. “Introduction”. Wuthering Heights. New York: Signet Classics, 2011. Print.
Holway, Tatiana M. “Notes”. Wuthering Heights. New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 2004. Print.
Merkin, Daphne. “Emily Brontë”. Wuthering Heights. New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 2004. Print.
Merkin, Daphne. “Introduction”. Wuthering Heights. New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 2004. Print.
Shapiro, Arnold. “ ‘Wuthering Heights’ as a Victorian Novel.” Studies in the Novel, 1969: 284-96. Reprinted in Nineteenth-Century Literature Criticism. Ed. Joann Cerrito and Paula Kepos. Vol. 35. Detroit: Gale, 1992. 150-55. Print.
Shmoop Editorial Team. "Wuthering Heights" Shmoop.com. Shmoop University, Inc., 11 Nov. 2008. Web. 27 Nov. 2012. .
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