Wuthering Heights is a story about tragic love and social inequality. The novel was firstly published in 1847. In her book, Emily Brontë addresses many questions and criticizes the British society of that time.
The protagonists of the novel – Heathcliff and Catherine, are childhood friends. They are happy and spirit-free as children. However, as they grow older, they realize the importance of money and social status. Life draws them apart. Despite her love for Heathcliff, Catherine marries a man of higher social status. Heathcliff is left alone. Heartbroken and devastated, he starts seeking revenge.
Wuthering Heights is a Gothic novel. From beginning to end, the book is full of ghosts and spirits. Emily Brontë explores such themes as love, passion, and revenge. The book discusses the issue of social class and the position of women in society as well.
Like many other novelists of the 19th century, Emily Brontë reflects closely on the nature of love. She poses a question of what can be called love. Wuthering Heights, however, differs from other romantic stories of the 19th century. It is a dark and mysterious work. The book combines gothic romance and harsh realism. This story talks about hatred and revenge, envy and pride that derive from love.
All the emotions in the book are described very vividly. The is love is portrayed as something crazy and manic, something that borders hate. For a 19th-century novel, Wuthering Heights is too honest. Emily Brontë avoids ambiguity. The characters display their feelings openly in the novel.
Catherine Earnshaw – the protagonist of the story, becomes a victim of patriarchal society. She dreams of a happy and carefree life. The only way she can afford that is if she marries a rich man of high social status. Catherine sacrifices her desires to have a happy and stable life. She follows the rules of society and marries a noble and rich man.
The characters of the book are forced to suppress their true nature to fit into society. Real human emotions drive their behavior, and it makes the book more realistic. Brontë creates characters that, like real people, have each their weaknesses.
Wuthering Heights also explores the topics of love and revenge. The relationship between Heathcliff and Catherine is unhealthy. Their love is possessive and full of hatred. In her book, Emily Brontë shows that love is not a fairytale. At times, it can be destructive and can ruin people. Both Catherine and Heathcliff have strong characters. They are too prideful to admit their feelings. The difference in their position in society is also in the way of their happiness.
On the other hand, there’s the love between Cathy and Hareton. Their love is full of passion, yet it is not destructive. The two are able to overcome prejudice and misunderstanding. For that reason, they do not repeat the tragic fate of Heathcliff and Catherine. Cathy and Hareton do not seek revenge. They forget their pride and try to understand each other.
Emily Brontë’s book was a revelation. It touched upon many interesting topics and depicted different types of love. Brontë leaves it up to the reader to find answers to the questions discussed in the novel. Rather than giving direct answers, the author shows how characters and their lives are affected by the choices they make and society.