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Emily Bronte (1818-48)Though she wrote less than Charlotte, she is some ways the greatest of the three

sisters. Her one novel Wuthering Heights (1847) is unique in English literature. It breathes the very spirit of the wild, desolate moors. Its chief characters are conceived in gigantic proportions, and their passions have an elemental force, which carries them to the realm of poetry. In a series of climaxes, the sustained intensity of the novel is carried to almost unbelievable peaks of passion, described with a stark, unflinching realism. //Wuthering Heights /It will be helpful in our study of Wuthering Heights to know the vital statistics of the characters. Emily Bronte gives us this information throughout a work which deals with the lives of people in three generations. It is summarized by Mark Schorer in his Introduction to the Rinehart edition of Wuthering Heights (1950)./The story at Wuthering Heights begins with Mr. And Mrs. Earnshaw. They have two children, Hindley and Catherine. Mr. Earnshaw adopts a waif, Heathcliff, whom he picked up on a visit to Liverpool. Mrs. Earnshaw dies in the spring of 1773 and Mr. Earnshaw dies in October 1777, leaving Heathcliff to the tender mercies of Hindley, who hates him and mistreats him. At this time Hindley, who was born in the summer of 1757, is twenty years old. Heathcliff is thirteen, and Catherine, with whom Heathcliff is inseparable, is twelve. In 1777 Hindley marries Frances, and a Year later they have a son, Hareton. Frances dies the following year./Catherine, believing she is in love with Edgar Linton of Thrushcross Grange and thinking through this marriage to be able to help Heathcliff, marries Edgar in April, 1783. Heathcliff had left, and she did not know whether he would return. At this time Edgar is twenty-one and Catherine is eighteen./Heathcliff, who left Wuthering Heights when he overheard Catherine tell Nelly Dean that she was planning to marry Edgar, returns three years later to find Catherine ill. In January of 1784 Heathcliff, bent on revenge, marries Isabella Linton, who is nineteen. Unable to bear Heathcliffs cruelty, Isabella leaves him soon after his marriage and goes off to London, where, in September, her son, Linton, is born. Meanwhile, in March 1784, Catherine has died after giving birth to a girl, also named Catherine./Hindley, weakened by drink, dies in September 1784, six months after the death of his sister Catherine and the same month in which his nephew, Linton Heathcliff, is born. Hindleys son, Hareton, is now in the care of Heathcliff, who treats him as a servant. Isabella dies in June 1797 at the age of thirty-two, at which time her son is thirteen./To further his revenge, Heathcliff plans to own Thrushcross Grange by arranging a marriage between his son Linton, a sickly boy, and his niece Catherine. He manages this by forcing Linton to come home to Wuthering Heights, by arranging meetings between Catherine and her cousin, and finally by locking up Catherine, away from her ailing father. The two young people are married in August 1801. Both are seventeen years old. In September of that year Edgar dies at the age of 39, and the following month young Linton dies. Heathcliff is now the owner of Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange. Young Cathy is forced to live with him./Life at Wuthering Heights is a dismal existence. Cathy and Hareton quarrel, but a feeling of concern for one another begins to grow in them. Heathcliffs fury is spent. He realizes that in death he can rejoin his beloved Catherine. He neglects his health and dies in May 1802, at the age of thirty-eight. Love between Cathy and Hareton grows, and they are married in January 1803. Hareton is twenty-five and Catherine is nineteen. Calm is restored to Wuthering Heights./This summary is useful for two reasons. First, it shows that Wuthering Heights is a carefully planned novel, not a wild, amorphous work. Second, it helps to visualize the characters and to see the story more clearly. This is a story about young people who live tortured and violent lives and who, except for young Catherine and Hareton, and except for Nelly Dean and Lockwood, who tell the story, die at a young age. The ones who die are subject either to the cruelties of the climate, the raging passions that burn within them and destroy them, or the fierce cruelty of the satanic Heathcliff. /The story has two settings - Thrushcross Grange and Wuthering Heights. Thrushcross Grange reflects the character of Edgar Linton. It is a quiet, civilized place were the amenities are observed and where the passions of its inhabitants have been disciplined to make possible a genteel existence. Wuthering Heights, on the other hand, reflects the characters of Hindley and Heathcliff. It is a wild, desolate place surrounded by howling nature that constantly threatens the people that dwell there and imbues them with some of its fierceness. Within Wuthering Heights there is an undisciplined energy and a stark malignity that infects its inhabitants and leads to violent and destructive actions. In a drunken stupor, Hindley Earnshaw drops his son Hareton over the bannister, and had Heathcliff not caught the child, Hareton would have been killed. It is a place of twilight and night and of a brooding and submerged anger that frequently bursts into fury./When Catherine moves into Thrushcross Grange, she brings much of the unrest of Wuthering Heights into its peaceful interiors. When Isabella, as Heathcliffs wife, moves into Wuthering Heights, she is unnerved by the cruelty and ferocity of its atmosphere and must escape./The novel and its centers reflect metaphorically the world of nature as Emily Bronte experienced it on

the moors. There seems in nature a constant struggle between the forces of turbulence and the forces of serenity, the forces of destructiveness and the forces of regeneration. One does not react in revulsion against storm and tempest. One is fascinated by it. At the same time one yearns for the calmness and peace of natures quiet moments. Wuthering Heights metaphorically transfers into its characters and laces the conflict between the satanic forces of violence and the beneficent forces of temperateness which one finds in nature. With a deranged Hindley and a demonic Heathcliff in control of Wuthering Heights, the world there is frenzied and insecure. When the people of this world invade Thrushcross Grange, the gentle, civilized life of the Linton is upset. There is a wild and passionate loyalty in the love of Heathcliff and Catherine, a subsurface turbulence in the marriage of Catherine and Edgar, a volcano of demonic tension when Heathcliff returns and upbraids the sick Catherine for betraying him, and fury, passion, and savage grief when Catherine dies./There follow quiet years while the younger Catherine and young Linton grow up. Again the fury begins when Heathcliff schemes to take over Thrushcross Grange, and Cathy and Linton, like Hareton, are trapped by his malevolence. But Heathcliffs fury is spent. He at last joins his Catherine in death, and calm is finally restored in the marriage of Cathy and Hareton./The reader finds fascinating the intense love between Catherine and Heathcliff, and feels deep sympathy for the mistreated Heathcliff, especially when he feels rejected by his beloved. The reader is repelled by Heathcliffs cruelties but is again won over by a Heathcliff exhausted by his furies of revenge and aching for the death that will enable him to rejoin Catherine. If Heathcliff and Catherine represent the demonic forces of nature, and Edgar, Isabella, and young Cathy the beneficent forces, then we can understand the skill of Emily Bronte in being able to involve the reader in the anguish of the lovers. The reader is frightened and fascinated by the power of their passion, as he/she would be frightened and fascinated by the power of tempestuous nature. The resolution is a peace that follows the tension of conflict.