She was the daughter of Patrick, an Anglican clergyman, and Maria Bronte. Emily livedwith her parents, sisters Charlotte and Anne, and brother Patrick Branwell. Two othersisters, Elizabeth and Maria, died while Emily was very young. Mrs. Bronte also diedMr.
Bronte and an aunt, Elizabeth Branwell, raised the surviving children. Theywere educated at home and spent much of their time reading and writing. Charlotte andEmily spent a year at the Clergy Daughters’ School in Lancashire. Charlotte received ajob teaching at Miss Wooler’s school in Roe Head in 1835 and Emily went with her as astudent.
However, Emily became homesick and returned to the moors of her hometown,Haworth, after only three months of schooling. In 1838 Emily taught in a school nearHalifax but became exhausted after six months and resigned. Emily and Charlotte plannedto open a girl’s school in Haworth and went to Brussels to learn foreign language andschool management in 1842. Emily’s reserved personality seemed to fit into the style ofcity life but she yearned to return to the moors.
Her quiet but passionate nature was moreeasily understood by the people of Brussels than her sister’s somewhat restrainedtemperament. She finally returned to England when her aunt died. In 1845 Charlotte,Emily, and Anne jointly published a volume of poetry, Poems by Currer, Ellis, and ActonBell. The poems by Emily, “Ellis,” received the best reviews.
Emily had finished her only novel, Wuthering Heights, by the summer of 1847. Itwas published in December, after the release of Charlotte’s hugely popular Jane Eyre. Emily’s novel never received the attention that Jane Eyre received. It was consideredhostile, savage, animal like, and poorly developed. Now Wuthering Heights is consideredone of the greatest novels in the English language.
Soon after the publication of the novel Emily became ill, and her health failedrapidly. She complained of difficulty of breathing. Emily Bronte died of tuberculosis inWuthering Heights is a powerful tale of passion, hatred, and revenge. It deals withtwo families, the Earnshaws and Lintons, living in the moorlands of England.
Mr. andMrs. Earnshaw have a son, Hindley, and a daughter, Catherine. One day while inLiverpool Mr. Earnshaw picks up a homeless boy and brings him home with him, toWuthering Heights. The abandoned boy is named Heathcliff.
Heathcliff becomes a closefriend of Catherine’s but as he becomes Mr. Earnshaw’s favorite Hindley becomes jealousHindley eventually goes to college, leaving Catherine and Heathcliff at WutheringHeights. Heathcliff falls deeply in love with Catherine, and she develops feelings towardshim as well. However, one day while the two were visiting the nearby ThrushcrossGrange Catherine was bitten by a dog. Her ankle is injured so badly that she is forced tospend the next five weeks at the Grange with the Lintons. She spends most of her timewith the Linton’s children, Edgar and Isabella, and becomes more dignified and refined,much like the Lintons.
She returns to Wuthering Heights shortly before Mr. Earnshaw’sdeath. Hindley returns with a wife, Frances, and being the closest male relative, inheritsthe land. The other possessions are split between Hindley and Catherine.
As Edgar becomes more a part of Catherine’s life she forgets about the unrefined,uneducated Heathcliff. When Edgar proposes to her Heathcliff is heartbroken. He runsaway and is not seen again for several years. Hindley and Frances have a son, Hareton, but she dies shortly after his birth. Edgar and Catherine are married and she moves in with the Lintons. Heathcliffunexpectedly returns and is surprisingly educated and refined.
Isabella falls in love withthe improved Heathcliff and they elope, later returning to live at Wuthering Heights. Hemarries her in a scheme to control the property of both the Lintons and the Earnshaws. Catherine dies giving birth to a daughter, also named Catherine. Her death affects bothEdgar and Heathcliff, who both love her. Both of the men are haunted by thoughts andIsabella can no longer stand Heathcliff’s mourning and runs off to London, whereshe gives birth to their son, Linton Heathcliff. Hindley dies and all of his property ismortgaged to Heathcliff, instead of being passed down to Hareton.
Heathcliff nowcontrols the Earnshaw estate. When Isabella dies Edgar goes to London to bring backLinton. Upon his return Heathcliff demands that his son live with him at WutheringHeights. Edgar reluctantly agrees and sends the boy away. The young Catherine andLinton had only been in contact for four hours but they immediately developed a curiousCatherine and Linton meet as frequently as possible over the next few years. Theyfall in love and wish to be married, but Edgar and Heathcliff forbid it, out of sheer hatredfor each other.
However, Heathcliff realizes that Linton is a weak child and will die soon. This realization further develops his plot for revenge. In fact, almost every event in thestory is influenced by or is the result of his plans for revenge, the action is “always underHeathcliff’s malevolent spell. ” He knows that when Linton’s Uncle Edgar dies thenephew will inherit the property. When Linton dies Heathcliff will inherit his property, asthe closest male relative.
Edgar’s many late night walks to his wife’s grave in cold, dampweather begin to take their toll on him, and he becomes ill. One day Catherine and hernurse, Ellen, are visiting Wuthering Heights. Heathcliff imprisons them, forcing her tomarry Linton or she will never see her dying father again. She agrees and rushes back toher father at Thrushcross Grange. When he realizes what Heathcliff is planning he sendsfor a lawyer so he can alter his will, putting Linton’s inheritance into trusts so Heathcliffcannot ever control it.
However, the lawyer never comes and Edgar dies. Linton diessoon after marrying Catherine, and Heathcliff’s plan of revenge is complete; he nowcontrols the old Earnshaw and Linton estates. The aloof Hareton tries to comfort Catherine after the losses of her father andhusband but she will not have it. She instead takes out her sorrows on him.
Catherinemocks his illiteracy and pronunciation of words. He tries to learn to read, in order toimpress her but when he tries to read to her she just laughs and calls him stupid. He isembarrassed and storms off, avoiding her as much as possible. In a strange huntingaccident he is injured and forced to spend most of his time recovering in the kitchen atWuthering Heights, the room that people spend most of their time in because of itswarmth and comfort.
Catherine tries to pass time in her room, in order to avoid him, butit is too cold. When she realizes that she will be forced to spend her time in the kitchenwith Hareton she decides that it might as well be pleasant. She gives him her favoritebook and offers to teach him how to read it. Hareton accepts her offer, and the twoHeathcliff meanwhile, is still mourning the loss of his original love, Catherine. Hebribes the local gravedigger to move Edgar’s body and bury his own next to hers when hedies. He persuades his faithful servant Joseph to make sure that these arrangements arefulfilled.
Heathcliff also professes his belief that the dead are never settled and that theirsouls wander the earth. He claims to have been visited by Catherine’s ghost many times. He says that he sees her image in everything, from travelers on the road to the surroundinglandscape. Heathcliff is eager to join her and goes on a hunger strike.
Heathcliff becomeshappier the sicker and weaker he gets. He dies and his wish is granted, he is buriedbetween Catherine and Edgar. Heathcliff’s property is passed on to its rightful owner,Hareton. He and Catherine are married and live happily together until they die.
Most of the story, up to Linton’s death, is a narrative told by Catherine’s nurse,Ellen Dean. It is told to a traveler named Mr. Lockwood. Lockwood has moved from abig city to the rural moorlands and is renting Thrushcross Grange from Heathcliff.
Thevery beginning and end of the story are told by Lockwood. He was disappointed with therude way he was treated by Heathcliff upon his arrival at Wuthering Heights and wastempted to leave a few days later but became ill, and was forced to stay in bed atThrushcross Grange. He persuaded Ellen to tell him the history of his landlord and hismysterious family while he was recovering. She then tells him the story of love and hatredbetween the Earnshaws and Lintons. Lockwood observes firsthand everything thathappens after Linton’s death.
A very small portion of the novel is also told by a letter fromIsabella to Ellen, describing the tense relationship between Hindley and Heathcliff. Love sets the stage for conflict in the novel. Catherine’s love for Edgar concernswith superficial things. It is a love for a young, handsome, wealthy personality.
It is alove formed in a society “where income and status also have a place in the quality oflife. “2 His social and financial position make it easy for her to fall in love with him. Herlove for Heathcliff was not based on material things, at the time she felt love for him hehad nothing to give to her. It looks as much like hate as love.
They are violent to eachother. She even pulls out some of Heathcliff’s hair. Ellen remarks that they seem to bemore like animals than humans. It is a relationship that is “concerned with a breakingthrough beyond the self.
“3 I feel that their love was about discovering themselves andeach other. Heathcliff becomes angry when she chooses Edgar’s love over his own andruns away, trying to make himself a person that can offer the same qualities as Edgar. Thetwo men quarrel upon his return, adding to the hatred that they feel for each other. The men try to pass this hatred down to their children, Catherine and Linton. Thetwo young cousins do not understand why they were expected to feel this hatred. Theywere instead very much interested in each other.
As the children grew up they fell in love. Heathcliff and Edgar would not accept this. They both forbade their children form seeingeach other. This is where the conflict between parents and children develop. Linton, theweak child, can do nothing to protest Heathcliff’s refusal to let him see Catherine becausehe lives in fear of his father.
He does not agree with him but lacks courage and strength tolet Heathcliff know how he truly feels. Catherine is much more passionate. She tries toappeal to her father and begs him to let her visit Linton. When he refuses she sneaks outof the house to visit her cousin and she also sends him letters, which are secretly deliveredby the dairy boy.
When Edgar realizes that he is being deceived he completely cuts off allcontact between the cousins. The two men forbid their children from seeing each otherbecause of a hatred that developed between them over a woman that they both loved. Thewoman died giving birth to Catherine and before Linton was even born so the two younglovers never even met the person who their fathers were quarreling over. I do not feel that this conflict would arise in the same fashion today. I feel thatparents today would not keep their children from being friends because of a conflict thathappened between them before their children were born. Parents should discuss in detailhow they feel about other people’s children with their own kids.
These parents should notbe able to simply prohibit their children from associating with other people. Children today have so much more power to reason with their parents than theydid in the 18th and 19th centuries. Now we are expected to voice our opinions andconcerns about a particular subject. In those times children were expected to acceptwhatever their parents told them, no questions asked. Today even if parents tried to keep their children away from someone there are somany things kids can do to bypass their parents’ wishes.
We have so many methods ofcommunication today that the children of Wuthering Heights never had the luxury ofusing. Catherine could not call Wuthering Heights from Thrushcross Grange on thetelephone and speak to Linton. She could not send him a private e-mail over the Internet. We take the privacy of these forms of communicating for granted. Children interact atschool and extracurricular activities everyday.
I feel that children would be able to settle aconflict like this today very easily. It does not take much effort to communicate anymore,even over long distances. Children would take the matter into their own hands, likeCatherine did, and if they think and act carefully there is not much parents can do to stopThe conflicts that arose between parents and children in Wuthering Heights wouldnot arise today, mainly because of how different and accepting society is today than it wasduring 18th and 19th century England. Bibliography:?Allott, Miriam, Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights, London, Macmillan, 1970.
Bloom, Harold (ed. ), Modern Critical Views: The Brontes, New York, Chelsea House,1987. Bronte, Emily, Wuthering Heights, New York, the Penguin Group, 1995. Gregor, Ian (ed.
), The Brontes, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, Prentice Hall, 1970. Kanigel, Robert, Vintage Reading, Baltimore, Bancroft Press, 1998.