Wuthering Heights was written in the first quarter of the 19th Century by Emily Bronte. It has long been hailed as one of the first in the genre of Gothic Romance. The following interview was conducted on January 8, 2013, between historical literature enthusiasts MadaLin Peeler and Nicole Kirkman. These are opinions, not facts. Please feel free to continue discussion and ask any questions in the comment section.
Q. So now we have two love stories blooming, correct?
Well, sort of! I’m not sure I would call Heathcliff and Isobella a blooming love story, and I’m not sure that Catherine and Edgar ever were one, but for all intents and purposes I’ll say, “Yes, we do.”
Catherine (who has now been married for about two years) sees Heathcliff and Isobella embrace one day outside her parlor window, and though she attempts to convince Isobella to avoid Heathcliff, her protests fall on ears deaf with pride. This is perhaps the only selfless thing Catherine has ever done. Was she beginning to see the error in her ways? We never find out. The family tensions culminate into an explosive argument, the end result being Catherine locking herself in her room, refusing food long enough to become quite ill. A doctor is called, and upon discovering that Catherine is pregnant, demands that she stay cloistered away, avoiding all things that may possibly vex her. She never returns to full mental or physical health in the few months left in her life.
It is during which time Heathcliff and Isabella elope.
Q. So has Heathcliff transferred his affections, finally?? Is he in a healthy relationship???
No, no He is very much not in a healthy relationship. He states on several occasions that he outright hates Isobella. It would seem that he married her to anger Catherine and Edgar.
Q. It seems that the Linton siblings have some easily clouded judgement.
I agree completely. Though everyone has the ability to rationalize behaviour, they seem to have a particular weakness for that.
Isobella’s motives are virtually unknown, though the best we can assume is that she fancied her own judgement to be superior to Catherine’s. (Catherine does in fact, have a good reputation for selfishness.) But Isobella quickly learns that she was lying to herself: upon returning to Wuthering Heights, confides to Ellen Dean that Heathcliff cannot truly be a man, that no human has it in them to be so cruel to as he has been to her.
Q. So Catherine is pregnant and ill, and Heathcliff and Isobella have eloped.
Yes, though they leave without hearing of the apparent cause of Catherine’s illness.
Catherine just after the birth of their daughter, whom Edgar names after her mother. (to avoid confusion, we shall from henceforth follow suite with the book and refer to the mother as Catherine, and the daughter as Cathy.) Cruel as this may seem, I think Catherine’s death was probably for the best. Catherine was not what we might call a role model, and I can only wonder what sort of parent she might have been.
Q. Describe the circumstances of her death.
After all, Catherine’s death comes but a day after a clandestine visit from Heathcliff. “Clandestine” in that it was brought about by Heathcliff threatening Ellen Dean with her life to gain entrance to the estate, and that he did so in direct transgression to Edgar’s forbidding their contact. Catherine comes alive as she has not been in months, restored by Heathcliff’s presence. Her husband Edgar Linton storms in, furious at both of them who he aptly sees as traitors. Catherine is so upset by the thought of Heathcliff leaving her for good that she faints, and grows deathly ill. Ellen Dean later reports to Heathcliff (who has for over fifteen hours kept his promise to Catherine that he will go no further than her window than the nearby grove of trees) that she never regained consciousness enough to know one person from another, and slipped away silently (and with a small smile on her lips) after delivering a scrawny baby girl.
Q. Sounds pretty depressing.
Oh, let me make it worse for you.
Hindley’s death comes but six months after the death of his sister , Catherine. The day after Catherine’s funeral Isabella, (who has been disowned by her brother Edgar Linton), flees from Heathcliff who has usurped Wuthering Heights. Isabella is a character who is extremely stubborn and she likes to do what she wants no matter the cost. Isabella takes up residence at an undisclosed location “in the south,” and later goes on to give birth to Heathcliff’s son who is very sickly.
Q. Well, thanks for that.
It gets better, I promise!
Q. Yeah, yeah, sure. So where did Mr. Lockwood get off to, in all of this?
Nowhere! This whole saga has been narrated by Ellen Dean to Mr. Lockwood, sick in bed at Thrushcross Grange. But after the deaths of
… well, pretty much everyone Catherine and Hindley the book skips ahead approximately 12 years. So Ellen is nearly done with her story, (Mr. Lockwood has not quite recovered from his cold.) From this point on, she tells him of what happened just a few years previous, up to present day:
Q. So is the second less psycho?
Cathy (Catherine and Edgar Linton’s daughter) is twelve years old, and lives a sheltered life at Thrushcross Grange with her father. She knows nothing of the preceding drama.
Hareton Earnshaw, Hindley Earnshaw’s son has lived at Wuthering Heights, working as a servant, and being raised (not really) by Heathcliff, who has gotten all the crazier for the years gone by.
Isobella left Heathcliff only a few months after they married, and raised their son without him, living in the southern part of the country for the remainder of her life (which, as you might guess, was not long.) This leads me to the next portion of the story:
Q. Tell me there are no more deaths.
Ok. There are no more deaths.
Edgar Linton gets word that his sister has died, and he goes to retrieve her son Linton (whose was named after her maiden name, thus, “Linton Heathcliff”). His plan is to raise Linton as his own; though I’m sure that Edgar would have been sensible enough to let the lad keep the surname he was born with. I mean, “Linton Linton”? Few people are cruel enough for that.
Q. What does little Cathy think of this?
She is thrilled! She has been told that he is a young gentleman, just her age. As Cathy has lived incredibly cloistered at the Grange, and she has never had a friend her own age, it all seems like a dream come true….
Q. But Heathcliff..
But Heathcliff hears of these developments through the grapevine, and
As I mentioned, Edgar hears that his sister is dead and goes to retrieve his nephew Linton with the intentions of adopting him, while he is gone, Cathy meets her cousin Hareton on the Moors and finally learns of Wuthering heights, that Cathy is very shocked at this revelation partly due to the fact that Hareton was treated mainly as a servant and was even mistaken as a servant quite often. Edgar returns to the Grange with a weak and sickly Linton upon hearing of this Heathcliff demands that Linton be brought to Wuthering Heights, and he is taken to live with his father Heathcliff.
Q. So does little Linton survive at the hand of his boorish father?
Surprisingly, yes. It is a wonder Linton did not suffer extreme
Three years after Cathy first learns of Wuthering Heights she and Nelly (Ellen Dean), are on the Moors when they happen upon meeting Heathcliff and he incites them to Wuthering Heights and Nelly, who has even been threatened by him still goes to Wuthering Heights, Heathcliff wants Linton and Cathy to marry so he could have both Thrushcross Grange and Wuthering Heights, during this visit Linton and Cathy develop a secret friendship…
PART THREE COMING SOON