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Love And Revenge In Bronte's "Wuthering Heights"

3354 words - 14 pages

OverviewThe novel, which features an unusually intricate plot, traces the effects that unbridled hate and love have on two families through three generations. Ellen Dean, who serves both families, tells Mr. Lockwood, the new tenant at Thrush cross Grange, the bizarre stories of the house's family, the Linton's, and of the Earns haws of Wuthering Heights. Her narrative weaves the four parts of the novel, all dealing with the fate of the two families, into the core story of Catherine and Heathcliff. The two lovers manipulate various members of both families simply to inspire and torment each other in life and death.Heathcliff dominates the novel. Ruthless and tyrannical, he represents a new ...view middle of the document...

During his visit, snow began to fall. It covered the moor paths and made travel impossible for a stranger in that bleak countryside. Heathcliff refused to let one of the servants go with him as a guide but said that if he stayed the night he could share Hareton's bed or that of Joseph, a sour, canting old servant. When Mr. Lockwood tried to borrow Joseph's lantern for the homeward journey, the old fellow set the dogs on him, to the amusement of Hareton and Heathcliff. The visitor was finally rescued by Zillah, the cook, who hid him in an unused chamber of the house.In 1801, Mr. Lockwood became a tenant at Thrushcross Grange, an old farm owned by a Mr. Heathcliff of Wuthering Heights. In the early days of his tenancy, he made two calls on his landlord. On his first visit, he met Heathcliff, an abrupt, unsocial man who was surrounded by a pack of snarling, barking dogs. When he went to Wuthering Heights a second time, he met the other members of the strange household: a rude, unkempt but handsome young man named Hareton Earnshaw and a pretty young woman who was the widow of Heathcliff's son.During his visit, snow began to fall. It covered the moor paths and made travel impossible for a stranger in that bleak countryside. Heathcliff refused to let one of the servants go with him as a guide but said that if he stayed the night he could share Hareton's bed or that of Joseph, a sour, canting old servant. When Mr. Lockwood tried to borrow Joseph's lantern for the homeward journey, the old fellow set the dogs on him, to the amusement of Hareton and Heathcliff. The visitor was finally rescued by Zillah, the cook, who hid him in an unused chamber of the house.Form and ContentWuthering Heights is a story of passionate love that encompasses two generations of two families, the Earnshaws and the Lintons. It is a framed tale narrated by two different characters, one with intimate knowledge of the families (Nelly Dean) and one unacquainted with their history. The first narrator is the stranger, Mr. Lockwood. A wealthy, educated man, Lockwood has chosen to rent a house in the isolated moors, saying that he has wearied of society. Yet his actions belie his words: He pursues a friendship with Heathcliff despite the latter's objections and seeks information about all the citizens of the neighborhood. Lockwood is steeped in the conventions of his class, and he consistently misjudges the people he meets at Wuthering Heights. He assumes that Hareton Earnshaw, the rightful owner of Wuthering Heights, is a servant and that Catherine Linton is a demure wife to Heathcliff. His statements, even about himself, are untrustworthy, requiring the corrective of Nelly Dean's narrative.Lockwood cultivates Nelly Dean's friendship when a long illness, brought on by his foolish attempt to visit Heathcliff during a snowstorm, keeps him bedridden for weeks. Nelly has been reared with the Earnshaws and has been a servant in both households. She has observed much of the central drama...

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