Summary of ‘Wuthering Heights’

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Mr. Lockwood meets Heathcliff in relation to the former status as the tenant of Trushcross Grange belonging to the latter. Heathcliff is the kind of figure that sparks curiosity in Mr. Lockwood’s mind; smart, kind but coarse. The strange facts about the family makes him even more curious.

When he reaches the residence he rents from Wuthering Heights, Heathcliff’s house, Mr. Lockwood digs deep about the history of the family from the caretaker of Trushcross Grange, Ellen or Nelly Dean. The rest of the book is stated by this faithful servant:

Mr. Earnshaw leads a joyful family life. He has two kids; Hindley and Catherine Earnshaw, and a good wife; Mrs. Earnshaw. Once he has to depart for London for business affairs and will back at home a few days later. His two children don’t mind seeing him off briefly but begs him bringing back home desired presents.

Nelly is already the servant of the family. As she is about as young as Hindley and Cathy, the three go along well. The night comes when their father comes back home. Much to their surprise, Mr. Earnshaw isn’t alone.

He carries a boy, much of the same age as Cathy, along with him. He seems neglected, messy. Mr. Earnshaw tells that he finds him on the street. Heathcliff as his name is. Both Hindley and Cathy despises him at first. They bully and make fun of him. As hard as Mr. Earnshaw tries to calm them down, the siblings keep humiliating Heathcliff.

The orphan, on the other hand, doesn’t bite back. He stands silent. As days go by, Cathy becomes calmer. She and Heathcliff sooner becomes unseparated. But not for Hindley. His fury becomes more and more unbearable that once Heathcliff can’t take it anymore especially after the passing of Mrs. Earnshaw. They fight that later pushes Hindley leaving the home.

During the absense of Hindley, Cathy and Heathcliff is like a copy-cat, one cannot stand without the other. Cathy become as rebellious as her soulmate. She becomes uncontrollled, tomboy girl, the fact that bothers much Mr. Earnshaw who grows older and more puzzled as his business starts failing.

Mr. Earnshaw’s health gets worse. He becomes more sober until he dies on his arm chairs with Cathy kneeling down while holding his hands. The words he speak are his concerns on Cathy’s manly attitude which according to the girl, isn’t as much maddening as her father should think of.

Cathy and Heathcliff don’t scream on the death but rather the two little souls hug and comfort each other. According to Nelly, that is the most touching scene she has ever seen children could have responded on the death of such a loving father as Mr. Earnshaw.

Hindley returns home after three years away from Wuthering Heights. He gets back at the home for the funeral of his father. He is not alone though. He brings along Mrs. Hindley, a nice woman whom he marries while he is away.

As Hindley takes care the entire business of his late father, the bond between Heathcliff and Cathy starts tumbling down, physically. After the incident of coming into the house of the Linton family, Hindley sends his sister back at the family for manner and ethic lessons. When she returns home, Cathy becomes a well-mannered, beautiful young girl as she should be. Meanwhile, Heathcliff is treated like a servant. He is no longer at the main house. He becomes wilder and more sensitive especially as Cathy is away at the Linton family for about one month.

Hindley also attempts to separate his sister from Heathcliff by forbidding Heathcliff approaching her. Though this successfully sets the two apart their connections remain strong. There comes one night that changes it all. Cathy tells Nelly that Edgar Linton proposes her. Despite her confession that she loves Heathcliff, Cathy decides to just go with the wedding proposal for the sake of Heathcliff future.

She has no ideas that Heathcliff happens to hear it all. He leaves Wuthering Heights, leaving Cathy so heartbroken because she wants to explain it all to him.

Cathy finally weds Edgar. She moves to Trushcross Grange and they live like joyful couples. Until one day, Heathcliff comes back. He wishes to meet Cathy. He has changed into a settled, clean man. Nelly is surprised to meet him that way plus Heathcliff is back again in Wuthering Heights.

In short, Heathcliff tries to approach Cathy despite her marriage status and of course opposition from Edgar as her husband. While things don’t work out as smoothly as he expects, Isabella has a huge crush on Heathcliff.

The two gets married although this is against Edgar’s wishes. Isabella elopes with Heathcliff and she is now at the Wuthering Heights. She gets immediately frustrated with Heathcliff’s coarse behaviours. She has no companies, she has to do all on her own. She can get along with Hindley, at least, who turns a heavy drunkard. He cares so little about his son, Hareton, who is slowly more into Heathcliff not his own father.

On the other hand, Cathy’s health starts deterioting. She becomes easily irritated, making Edgar furious. She starts hallucinating too after the wedding of Isabella and Heathcliff. Just when she gets a little better, Heathcliff comes along, again and again. This time around he is able to get into the house after threatening Nelly.

So after a few years, the two eventually declares their love for one another. In such limited time, Cathy says what she feels for so many years while Heathcliff can only feel sorry why she acts such way. She destroys their love, according to Heathcliff. In such very emotional moment, they reconcile. So brief yet so relieving. While their super short sweet reunion is almost over, Edgar comes back home.

He finds Cathy falls ill so bad. Not long after that she passes away peacefully. There is a daughter coming out from her womb. Heathcliff who stays outside the residence of Truscross Grange turns like a maniac upon hearing the death of his eternal lover. He attempts to torment himself yet he decides he still want to be alive.

Cathy is buried without her brother or Isabella attending the funeral. Such is the close of the first generation of the Earnshaw and the Linton families.

After hard struggles, Isabella can leave Wuthering Heights. She escapes then gives birth to Linton, a smart yet physically weak boy. After Isabella passes away, Edgar takes Linton back to Truscross Grange but for very short moment for his father takes him to Wuthering Heights.

Linton grows poorly physically and emotionally. He wants people to pity him, particularly little Cathy. Although yes, he loves her and the other way around, Linton becomes so dependable. He and Cathy get married she falls into his ‘trap.’ Right after their wedding, Edgar dies. Truscross Grange falls to the hands of Heathcliff.

Cathy becomes a prisoner of her home in Wuthering Heights as Heathcliff doesn’t want any servants to help her while Linton remains indecisive. He grows more and more ill. Heathcliff doesn’t care about his own son at all until Linton dies young.

Slowly but surely, Hareton becomes more educated. He now can read and speak politely. While things get better for both of them, Heathcliff starts acting weird, becoming more and more distant. He starts hallucinating about Catherine, wearing white gown showing up in all of the rooms in Wuthering Heights.

Heathcliff declines eating. He becomes restless. He passes away all alone after he locks himself in a room. It is Nelly who finds him lying lifeless in his bed. Hareton becomes the only person who completely mourns Heathcliff’s death.

After the death, the main part of Wuthering Heights is left vacant while servants occupy minor space of the residence. Cathy and Hareton gets married then live in Truscross Grange.

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Diving into the depth of Gothic literature in ‘Wuthering Heights’

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After Catherine Linton dies, Emily Bronte inserts abundant scenes that combine fantasy and horror. Heathcliff imagines seeing Cathy in white gowns. The late is seen everywhere. The deceased follows him.

When Heathcliff is dying, his servant, Nelly Dean, tells the readers that her master once smiles while looking at empty space. It seems Heathcliff hallucinates. The atmosphere surrounding the days before his death is queer. Heathcliff shuts himself down, alienates from the family. He spends most of his days alone. He lives inside his mind.

While that fantasy already produces goosebumps because I strongly sense horror since then, Emily makes it even more frightening. According to Nelly, Heathcliff’s face looks strange as he approaches the day of his passing.

One of the scenes that shocks me is when on the part she finds his eyes black when he looks at her. Nelly even says Heathcliff becomes more like a goblin. The scene when he dies, too, is ghastly. Nelly finds his eyes staring at her as she opens the door where the deceased closes him off.

At first I think Heathcliff is still alive but, as Nelly proceeds, his hands are cold, he dies. My heart jumps as I try visualizing this. Scary.

The finale of the book puts the ghosts of Cathy and Heathcliff roaming around Wuthering Heights. The house they once live in is now left vacant.

The illusion world of Emily Bronte leaves me puzzled for they are hard to grasp. I know the scenes where Heathcliff seeing Cathy is definitely out of his imagination but Emily Bronte’s excellent writing skills make it as though they were real. The description is very smooth. Reading these parts confuse me as a non-native English speaker. At the same time, I can’t help feeling so astonished with Emily Bronte. The book, not thick enough compared to Jane Austen or Thomas Hardy’s, yet it is so wealthy, you can’t find it enough to use it as an object of study.

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Cathy & Heathcliff, a passionately destructive love story

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The special tie that binds Catherine ‘Cathy’ Earnshaw and Heathcliff is the sort of tale that mesmerizes yet destroys my emotions.

Cathy and Heathcliff are one soul in two bodies. Cathy herself says Heathcliff is her other half. The deep love they both feel has been tested ever since they are very young. Although initially Cathy underestimates him, making fun of him, Heathcliff and Cathy gradually become closer.

Cathy and Heathcliff are both wild, rebellious. They both find perfect companion in each other arms. Up to this point, prior to the introduction of Edgar Linton, Cathy’s future husband, I have been wowed due to the development of their relationship. Watching how love grows from such a pure friendship is what makes their romance feels so profound. Cathy and Heathcliff forms a solid foundation for their love.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t last for long.  What follows after their entrance to the house of the Linton’s family changes the course of the hope. Strong love isn’t enough. Feeling comfortable on each other presence can’t shield the bond from all challenges and rejections they have to face. The key doesn’t much rely on wealth or material status, though. Instead, it lies on Cathy and Heathcliff’s shaky commitments on each other’s heart, something which is probably too unknown for the young couple to understand.

Sometimes, I wish they are both honest with their feelings. Sometimes, I wish Cathy wants to take all the risks if she decides to be with Heathcliff. And I wish Heathcliff won’t just flee without any information after he overhears Cathy’s confession to Nelly. (At that night, Cathy tells Nelly that Edgar proposes her and she will accept it for the sake of Heathcliff’s future).

I hope they both will sit down but misunderstanding comes unexpectedly. Cathy denies her own feeling. She underestimates the meaning of matrimony. On the other hand, Heathcliff is too sensitive. He doesn’t allow for any room for dialogue. But you can’t blame them, though. Not because if things turn the other way around the novel won’t be as remarkable as it is, but you can’t deny maturity does affect the fate of the love.

Imagining the scene on the night when Cathy confesses her love for Heathcliff yet decides to give it all up while he is listening it all is so heartbreaking. Visualizing Cathy’s fruitless search for Heathcliff’s whereabouts in the middle of the heavy rain and thunder makes it far, far devastating.

Cathy marries to Edgar. According to Edgar’s sister, Isabella, they fond of each other but I as a reader believe their love is flat. It actually is a one-sided love for Edgar. What I perceive is their marriage is based on solely comfort, flatness. The kind of relationship that comforts Cathy for she has a man who will do anything for her.

This is so unfair. Edgar deserves more than this but he remains loving Cathy, even when Heathcliff comes back, tries to win the heart of Cathy, Edgar stands the same. And for Cathy, I hate her unprincipled trait, as what Nelly once says.

On one hand, she is madly in love with Heathcliff but on another side, she wants Edgar not leaving her, too. Heathcliff makes his return way too far. He wishes making Cathy her own again despite her marriage. He forces Nelly helping him to meet Cathy despite strong oppositions from her husband.

Cathy’s wishy-washy traits, Edgar’s indecisiveness and Heathcliff’s forcefulness makes the novel is like killing my emotion. There are moments that drives me crazy, makes me feel so impatient with all of them, especially Heathcliff.

The events are when Heathcliff tries to find ways to meet Cathy. The conversation between him and Cathy also leads me furious because Heathcliff is very persistent while Cathy plays hard to get.

I respect Cathy should she defend her stance for Edgar, he is her husband after all. But Cathy can’t stand anymore, especially when she knows Isabella falls so hard for Heathcliff. I thought Cathy is relieved if Isabela is for Heathcliff but reading some parts before her death, I feel angry yet sorry for her.

She can no longer hide her feeling. She falls so sick. She can’t stop hallucinating. She is very unhappy. The state of her being, that of Heathcliff and Edgar makes it very sense that Emily only puts very brief scene on the reunion of Heathcliff and Cathy after a series of misunderstandings and pretensions.

They both declare their own feelings, that they can’t live without each other when Cathy is dying. The moment is all so worth it although it is too short. Heathcliff enters Cathy’s room when she is half alive. They both admit their mistakes, too. The scene is very powerful. Painful, relieved, maddening.. It is also beautiful for I am satisfied they both reconcile. Cathy dies shortly after Heathcliff releases her from his arms.

She is rested in peace.

Heathcliff mourns so bad that he even wants to kill himself. What Heathcliff and Cathy experience is too deep to feel. Their love is so pure and powerful that even though their bodies belong to someone else, their hearts are locked in each other. On the surface, you can say they hurt the feelings of each other partner but if you put your feet on the shoes of Heathcliff and Cathy’s shoes, you know they make mistakes that are very humane.

I will carry this romance for the rest of my life, Emily, for I learn so much from Heathcliff and Cathy. Thank you, again..

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Mad about ‘Wuthering Heights’

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Although ‘Wuthering Heights’ is not my most favorite novel, it, by far, is THE BEST book I have ever read. I put it as the best fiction that has ever been written because this book makes me crazy, I don’t think 10,000 words will be sufficient to portray how I adore Emily Bronte for this masterpiece.

I find it very surprising that I still completely enjoy reading this book despite the fact I already read its synopsis in Wikipedia. It feels as if I don’t know what the book is all about given the sensations going through it all. Fast-paced, shocking, maddening, furious, depressed, frightening, but most of all it hypnotizes me.

Emily Bronte is like making music writing the novel. She knows how to play the melody. Sometimes it is soothing, peaceful but oftentimes it hits high notes. As an audience, I can’t bear the sorrowful the major traits feel when they are at the bottoms of their lives or are infuriated. I want to cover my ears, nay, close the book but should I do that, I will regret it because the novel is so beautiful.

It is such a beauty that one can’t miss reading it despite the emotional breakdowns it convey.  So, what makes me gluing at it? The simplest one is the plot. It is fast-paced even when things seem tranquil, such as when little Catherine is joyful with her life, you won’t find the book boring because Emily Bronte entertains you with her language, lovely and harmonious.

The best and the hardest one is definitely the extreme explorations of each and every big character of the book. Long before I read the novel, I at first underestimate the statements from BBC that states how Heathcliff is such an unbelievable character. At that moment BBC is too much, I say to myself so. But after I stumble upon him and watch him growing till he dies, I can’t agree more with what BBC says.

As an introduction to some posts that I am going to write about the novel, I will briefly say that the pricey lesson I can draw from it is how costly one can suffer if he or she is dishonest with his or her feelings.  Catherine Linton wishes she will make Heathcliff, her other half, and those around her happy, by marrying Edgar Earnshaw. But her good intention as well as her stupid, dishonest one proves her to be the source of all miseries her family and her second generation has to face. Heathcliff’s sensitiveness despite his harsh personality makes everything turns much bitter. No one in the book ever feels happy for long time. They get hurt. They are frustrated.

On and on they live their lives. As days go by, all they find is anger, hatred and disappointment. They don’t know how to make peace with themselves. If you read the book and come to the part when Heathcliff dies you will come to the conclusion that it is such a pity that the strongest (physically), the richest (materially) and the wicked person in this book ends up being the loneliest, unloved person ever. I despise Heathcliff throughout the book but as I witness how he dies, I can’t bear feeling so sorry to him.

I’ll keep the part talking about him later on. What I’d like to emphasize is the mixed feelings that encircling my heart at the moment, two days after completing the book, is quite overwhelming. I still can’t deal with it although the novel ends as the way it is. The book is.. I don’t know. It leaves a hole in my heart. It is going to be a kind of book that will always hold a very special part in my heart for the rest of my life.

Till then, bunch of thanks for Emily Bronte for this. The only novel she writes during her life, the sole novel that is cherished by so many literature fans, including I. The book that sets a very high benchmark for what makes a good novel is. The work that has been and will always be studied by students of literature across nations and regions and languages given its ultra richness, as a work of art and as a rigid examination of human emotions.

Take my hat off for you Emily Bronte. Thank you for writing this book. A million thank you to you..

Sincerely,

 

Eny Wulandari

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