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Is Wuthering Heights a Gothic Novel?

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Wuthering Heights is a Victorian novel written by Emily Brontë and first published in 1847. There are many Gothic elements in the story. Some of them include the violent masculine and helpless feminine characters, mystic elements, and scary settings.

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Wuthering Heights was first published in 1847 and made a strong impression on the public. Readers were used to romantic works. The characters of such books showed positive qualities, such as courage, faith, sincere love, and loyalty. Due to this, the readers were shocked by the inner world of Gothic characters. Heathcliff, the protagonist of Wuthering Heights, horrified them. The abundance of deaths and tangled love stories caused an ambiguous reaction from critics.

Lockwood, the new tenant of Thrushcross Grange, comes to visit Heathcliff. The latter lives in a remote farmhouse in the swampy area of Wuthering Heights. He meets with the inhabitants of the house and wonders why they are all so gloomy and unfriendly. Lockwood’s housekeeper, Nelly, who previously served at the Earnshaw household, tells the house’s story. The basis of this story is the tragic romance between Heathcliff and Catherine. Catherine’s father adopted Heathcliff and raised him as a son. But Mr. Earnshaw dies, and the tensions between his son Hindley and Heathcliff become apparent. Hindley leaves the house to study and returns as the legitimate heir of Thrushcross Grange. He wants to kick Heathcliff out but then allows him to stay as a servant.

After Hindley leaves, Catherine and Heathcliff become close and spend a lot of time together. One day they decide to track down Edgar Linton and his sister Isabella. Their dog attacks Catherine, and they discover themselves. Two years later, Catherine becomes engaged to Edgar. She loves Heathcliff but cannot marry him, as he is poor. Heathcliff hears this conversation and leaves. He returns as a rich young man. Isabella takes an interest in him. To get revenge on Catherine, Heathcliff escapes with Isabella. Soon, she gives birth to a child and dies.

Catherine is terminally ill, and Heathcliff visits her. She dies after giving birth to her daughter Cathy. Heathcliff is heartbroken. Years later, he dreams that his son Linton and Katherine’s daughter will get married. Heathcliff suffers from the loss of Catherine and often sees her ghost. He pleads with the spirit not to leave him and dreams of death. When Heathcliff dies, he is found wet in Catherine’s room. It symbolizes his union with the cold and moist nature and with his beloved one.

The most striking Gothic elements are Lockwoods nightmares. In them, he sees the scary ghost, the bloody hand, and the broken window with the pale Catherine’s face. She begs to let her in. Another Gothic element is Catherine’s spirit, who appears to Heathcliff. The setting, in general, is also uncanny. Their house is dark and open to all northern winds. There are dangerous swampy paths where one can easily get lost. The novel features many deaths. Women die almost immediately after giving birth, leaving the children to be raised by cruel and insane men.

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