CliffsNotes on Brontë's Wuthering Heights

By Richard P. Wasowski | Go to book overview

Wuthering Heights at a Glance

In Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, realism and gothic symbolism combine to form a romance novel that’s full of social relevance. Follow the self-destructive journey of Heathcliff as he seeks revenge for losing his soul mate, Catherine, to Edgar Linton. Themes — such as good versus evil, chaos and order, selfishness, betrayal, and obsession — intertwine as the story unfolds. Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights is a symbolic and psychological study of the nature of love.

Written by: Emily Brontë

Type of Work: novel

Genres: gothic literature; Victorian; romance

First Published: 1847

Setting: the moors of Northern England

Main Characters: Heathcliff; Catherine Earnshaw; Edgar Linton; Cathy Linton; Hareton Earnshaw; Ellen (Nelly) Dean

Major Thematic Topics: romantic love; brotherly love; love versus hate; revenge; crime and punishment; nature and culture; class structure; good versus evil; chaos and order; selfishness; betrayal; obsession

Motifs: obsession; revenge; rebellion

Major Symbols: the houses; keys; archetypical characters

The three most important aspects of Wuthering Heights:

Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw are among the most famous fictional couples of all time. In fact, they probably are second only to Romeo and Juliet in this regard. Unlike Shakespeare’s lovers, who are kept apart by the society in which they live, Catherine and Heathcliff are themselves responsible for their failure to fulfill their love for one another. Their own passionate natures make their union impossible.

The novel contains a so-called framing device, which is a story that surrounds the primary narrative and sets it up. Lockwood’s visit to Wuthering Heights and the supernatural occurrence he witnesses there frame Nelly’s narration of the novel’s main story.

Wuthering Heights is a gothic novel. Gothic novels focus on the mysterious or supernatural, and take place in dark, sometimes exotic, settings. The double is a frequent feature of the Gothic novel, as well. In Wuthering Heights, the love of Hareton and Cathy doubles that of Heathcliff and Catherine, and Linton doubles Edgar. The novel itself consists of two entire stories, each consisting of seventeen chapters; the second half of Wuthering Heights doubles the first.

Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw are among the most famous fictional couples of all time. In fact, they probably are second only to Romeo and Juliet in this regard. Unlike Shakespeare’s lovers, who are kept apart by the society in which they live, Catherine and Heathcliff are themselves responsible for their failure to fulfill their love for one another. Their own passionate natures make their union impossible.

The novel contains a so-called framing device, which is a story that surrounds the primary narrative and sets it up. Lockwood’s visit to Wuthering Heights and the supernatural occurrence he witnesses there frame Nelly’s narration of the novel’s main story.

The novel contains a so-called framing device, which is a story that surrounds the primary narrative and sets it up. Lockwood’s visit to Wuthering Heights and the supernatural occurrence he witnesses there frame Nelly’s narration of the novel’s main story.

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CliffsNotes on Brontë's Wuthering Heights
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Table of Contents 1
  • Wuthering Heights at a Glance 2
  • Book Summary 4
  • About Wuthering Heights 5
  • Character List 7
  • Summary and Analysis 8
  • Chapter 1 9
  • Chapter 2 11
  • Chapter 3 13
  • Chapter 4 15
  • Chapter 5 17
  • Chapter 6 18
  • Chapter 7 20
  • Chapter 8 21
  • Chapter 9 22
  • Chapter 10 23
  • Chapter 11 24
  • Chapter 12 25
  • Chapter 13 26
  • Chapter 14 27
  • Chapter 15 28
  • Chapter 16 29
  • Chapter 17 30
  • Chapter 18 32
  • Chapter 19 34
  • Chapter 20 35
  • Chapter 21 36
  • Chapter 22 38
  • Chapter 23 39
  • Chapter 24 40
  • Chapter 25 41
  • Chapter 26 42
  • Chapter 27 43
  • Chapter 28 44
  • Chapter 29 45
  • Chapter 30 46
  • Chapter 31 47
  • Chapter 32 48
  • Chapter 33 49
  • Chapter 34 50
  • Character Analysis 51
  • Heathcliff 52
  • Catherine Earnshaw 53
  • Edgar Linton 54
  • Cathy Linton 55
  • Hareton Earnshaw 56
  • Ellen (Nelly) Dean 57
  • Character Genealogy 58
  • Emily Brontë Biography 59
  • Critical Essays 61
  • Major Themes 62
  • The Narrative Structure 63
  • Class Structure 64
  • Heathcliff’s Obsession 65
  • Study Help 66
  • Full Glossary 67
  • Essay Questions 75
  • Practice Project 76
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