ESSAY ON WUTHERING HEIGHTS
PLOT & STORY
The plot is designed in three parts: Chapters 1-3, Introduction; Chapters 4 (Volume 1) to chapter16 (Volume 2), Nelly’s report of the story; last four chapters, Hareton and Cathy’s relationship. In general, The plot is dense and fast moving. The first three chapters take place in 1801, when Mr. Lockwood meet Heathcliff (his landlord) in Wuthering Heights. There, he also meets Hareton Earnshaw, Cathy Linton, Joseph and Zillah. The strange behaviour of the inhabitants and his nightmare, make him feel curiosity about them. Back in Thrushcross Grange, he asks his servant, Nelly, to tell the story of Heathcliff’s life. From chapter 4 (Vol.1) to chapter 17 (Vol.2), Nelly narrates the story of the first generation – Catherine Earnshaw, her brother Hindley and her sister-in-law Isabella – This story ends in chapter 3 (Vol.2), when Heathcliff becomes the owner of Wuthering Heights. Then, Nelly continues the story talking about the second generation – Cathy Linton, Linton Heathcliff and Hareton Earnshaw – Heathcliff, Edgar Linton, Nelly and Joseph are present in both generations. Afterwards, Mr. Lockwood leaves the place after a visit to Wuthering Heights where he observes the growing love between Cathy and Hareton (chapter17, Vol.2). Lockwood comes back some months later and Nelly tells him the end of the story, which is also the end of Heathcliff, and the future wedding of Hareton and Cathy.
Mr. Earnshaw found him in Liverpool and he took him to Wuthering Heights. His origins are unknown and this gives him an air of mystery. As a child, the first impressions we get of him are through Nelly’s words; for her, he is “a dirty, ragged, black-haired child”, “as dark almost as if it came from the devil” (chapter 4,vol.1). But, as an adult, Mr. Lockwood describes him as “a dark-skinned gypsy in aspect, in dress and manners a gentleman”(chapter1, vol.1) and he also tell us that “he had an erect and handsome figure” (chapter 1,vol.1). Those descriptions are contradictory but it is due to the author ambiguous treatment of Heathcliff; we are sympathetic to him and horrified by him. This also makes the character complex and lifelike. As a complex character, it is difficult to describe him completely but we can say he is a man of action, closely related to nature (to the moors and the atmosphere of Wuthering Heights), and with very powerful feelings. He would represent passion beyond the social, the ordinary.
She is passionate and tough as Heathcliff, to whom she shares his “wild” life till she has to stay with the Lintons. After that, she shows two sides; one related to nature, rebel... and the other attached to social conventions, arrogant, sometimes cruel... Her decision to follow the social conventions and get married with Edgar Linton will bring unhappiness to everybody, especially Heathcliff. She’s trapped by her own decision and this will continue after here death, She will not have peace. (She becomes a ghost).
He is a displeasing character. Jealous, cruel... He is Heathcliff’s first enemy. His personal weakness takes him to sink into depravity; he becomes alcoholic, loses all his properties gambling and leaves his son in Heathcliff’s hands. Like Joseph, this character contributes to the atmosphere of the novel.
He is an educated and pleasant man, but at the same time coward and weak. He is one of the main objects of Heathcliff’s revenge. Through Nelly’s eyes, we usually see his positive qualities but through Heathcliff and sometimes Catherine, he looks insipid and paltry. He is a victim and must suffer because Catherine chooses him rather than her true love. The dislike we feel toward him at the beginning turns into pity when he marries Catherine. He...
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