for chapters 1-9
This part of the novel can be further divided
into three parts:
Chaps 1-3: Lockwood's
first two visits to Wuthering Heights in 1801.
Chaps 4-7: Nelly's
narration: from 1771 (Heathcliff's arrival) to 1777 (Mr. Earnshaw's death)
Chap 8-9: Nelly's
narration resumed: from 1778 (the death of Frances) to 1783 (marriage of
Catherine and Edgar)
Lockwood and Heathcliff
Chaps 1-3 the Nightmare, the Ghost and
the Gothic elements
The novel has a first-person narrator named Lockwood. Describe what
you know about the narrator from the first chapters. What is he like? What
mistakes in judgment does he make--in terms of the place, his visit to
the place, Heathcliff and the others' identities (e.g. p. 3; 5; 11)?
Why is Lockwood so interested in Heathcliff? Why does he pay the
second visit if he is not welcome in the first (thinking that he himself
is "sociable" p. 7)? He said that Heathcliff "love and hate, equally
under cover. . . " and then acknowledge them as his own attributes
(p. 5). Do you find it true, considering, for instance, how he deals
with the ghost of Catherine (pp. 21-22)? (We will compare and contrast
Lockwood and Heathcliff more when we talk about the novel as a whole.)
Emily Bronte likes dogs a lot. How are the dogs presented here and
how does Lockwood deal with them?
We get to see Heathcliff first from Lockwood's perspective and then
in Catherine's diary (chap 3). How would you characterize
Heathcliff old and young? What more do we know about bout the
Earnshaw family from Catherine's diary.
The third aspect of Heathcliff: Heathcliff's call to Catherine (p.
25) gets Lockwood, and us, more curious about their past. How else
does Lockwood respond to Heathcliff's emotional outburst? And
you? (Isn't it a great contrast to the way he deals with the living
The other characters: The second generation Hareton and Catherine
will play a more important role later on.
Chaps 1-3 Settings & the Gothic
Has Lockwood's nightmare about 490 sins anything to do with his hearing
Chaps 4-7 Characters
Conflicts: Heathcliff, Catherine and Hindley
The appearance of the ghost is part of what makes Wuthering Heights
gothic novel. Look in your handbook under the terms "gothic"
and "gothic novel." What are the characteristics of gothic literature?
Which of those characteristics do you see in the first chapters of the
novel? How does the setting of the novel relate to its gothic quality?
Is the place Wuthering Heights one (p. 4-5; 27)?
Starting in chapter four, Lockwood relates
the story of his housekeeper, Nelly.
Chaps 4-7 Settings & the People:
Wuthering Heights vs. Thrushcross Grange
In chap 4, we have the first appearance of Heathcliff at
the Earnshaw household. What is he (or "it") like? What do
we learn about Heathcliff's personality? Why is he proud, being from
such a humble background? What aspect of him is shown in the horse
episode (pp 33-34) ?
The Earnshaws: How are Hindley and Catherine different?
(e.g. p. 30 the toys they want from their father; the ways they deal with
Heathcliff.) What does Mr. Earnshaw think about Catherine's
Catherine changes a lot in chaps 4-7 in her attitudes toward Heathcliff.
Can you trace and explain the changes? (Be specific about her
attitudes shown: at the first sight, before and after the father's death,
before and after her stay at the Grange.) The two's outing to the
Grange can be a major factor in her changes. It is told from Heathcliff's
perspective. Could it have been told differently if Catherine were
to tell it?
How is Thrushcross Grange (p. 40), the place,
the house and its decoration, different from Wuthering Heights
Isabel and Edgar Linton: How are they presented
in the views of first Heathcliff and then Nelly? The brother and
sister's first appearance (p. 41), from Heathcliff's perspective, is definitely
a negative one. But then Nelly is not sympathetic with Edgar either.
What about you? Why do you think that Catherine likes Edgar?
Does Lockwood's description of his portrait offers a more balanced view
In Chap 8, Nelly resumes her narration, skipping
to the summer 1778.
chaps 7-9 Character Conflicts:
Catherine in between Heathcliff and Edgar; the narrator, Nelly's viewpoint
and role; Hindley
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Are you sympathetic with Cathy in her struggle between
the two men? Nelly discounts Cathy's reasons of loving Edgar (that
he is handsome, rich and he loves her); how about you? When
Cathy then said to her, "Nelly, I am Heathcliff" (70), Nelly thinks
that Cathy is foolish, and you?
Nelly stays sympathetic with Heathcliff when Catherine
feel torn between Heathcliff and Edgar. We can see how she sides
with Heathcliff in the series of episodes in chap 7 (e.g. the from
how she cleans Heathcliff to the dinner scene) and the pinching episode
in chap 8. What role does she take when Catherine confides
to her in chap 9? Is Nelly really unaware
of Heathcliff's presence?
Hindley is the one to never change in his hatred of Heathcliff.
But why? Who doe he love? If the death of his wife is the major
turning point in his life (pp. 54-55), how does he treat Hareton afterwards?
What does it show about his personality?
for chapters 10-14
After a 4-week interval while Lockwood is in bed
with "torture, tossing and sickness," Lockwood asks Nelly to resume her
narration, which is about Catherine's marriage life, Heathcliff's return
and an intensification of their conflicts.
Characters Conflicts: Catherine &
Characters Conflicts Intensified: Heathcliff
vs. Hindley & Edgar; Catherine vs. Isabella, Heathcliff & Edgar;
Heathcliff vs. Isabella
Different (Narrative) perspectives, again, lead to different interpretations
of the characters' conflicts. Describe the great difference between
Nelly's views of Catherine's marriage to Edgar (pp. 77-8) and Catherine's
(pp 83-4). How does Catherine describe her marriage during
her madness (p. 106)? How do you think Edgar views their marriage?
Another of Catherine's famous speech happens in chap 10 (pp.
84-85). What do you think is her motivation when saying
that she is not going to seek revenge against Hindley, and that she is
an angel? Is she aware of Heathcliff's intention of seeking
revenge? Here for your reference is a
detailed analysis of this passage which is sensitive to Nelly's multiple
role and her lack of understanding. You don't need to completely
agree with the analysis.
How does Catherine initially respond when she learns about Isabella's interest
in Heathcliff? Does Catherine later change her response? Why? Why does
Catherine reveal to Heathcliff Isabella’s infatuation? When is Catherine
aware of Heathcliff's intention to seek revenge?
Why does Catherine lock both men in the kitchen? Is she being fair in her
treatment of Edgar? Of Heathcliff? How does she propose to solve the tension
between the two men? Nelly feels that it is only natural that the two men
do not like hearing the other praised, but Catherine disagrees. What does
Why does Catherine imprison and starve herself when confronted by her husband's
ultimatum to chose between himself and Heathcliff?
Describe Catherine's madness.”?Why does she regress to childhood
episodes with Heathcliff? Why does her own face in the mirror frighten
her? Why does she think that Nelly has become a witch?
Does the novel explain where Heathcliff had been for three years?
Why does he return? Why does he stay at Wuthering Heights? What is his
relationship with Hindley Earnshaw like? What is his relationship with
Edgar Linton like?
Describe the relationship between Isabella and Heathcliff.
How does Isabella view Heathcliff? How does he view her (e.g. pp. 126-27)?
Why does he kill her dog? What motivates both of them to get married? What
is their married life like? Describe the relationships at Wuthering Height
when Heathcliff and Isabella return there. How does their marriage
change the relationship between Isabella and Edgar?
The Narrators: Nelly's role
In these chapters, we see the characters either locked in bitter, even
murderous hatred against one another (Heathcliff, Isabella, Hindley
Hareton) or indifference (Edgar towards Isabella and Nelly towards Catherine).
Have you ever had these two kinds of sentiments, or anything close to them?
Can you explain why you do, do not?
Theme: Heathcliff as a Satanic Hero or
Which side does Nelly take now in between Cathy and Edgar? Who is
her "master"? (Clue: p. 91)
Nelly's role as an informant and messenger, or her failure to do
so, plays a crucial role here in the intensification of conflicts.
Why, first of all, does Nelly tell Edgar about Isabella and Heathcliff?
Why does she say to Catherine that Edgar is "tolerably well" (102) when
Catherine asks how "that pathetic being" is? Why does she NOT tell
Edgar right away about Catherine's madness and sickness (which she sees
as "wicked waywardness" p108)? What motivates her? Would things
have been different if Nelly told Edgar about Isabella's elopement earlier?
What do you think about her agreeing to send message for Heathcliff to
Do you agree with Nelly when she says that after the big fight in chap
11, she is "the only sensible soul" in the household (101)?
Image, Settings & the Characters
Images of Hell and Satan: In Isabella's letter to Nelly, she asks,
"Is Heathcliff a man?"(115) What do you think? When Heathcliff
reveals his intention on Isabella on pp. 94-95, he is described as a "black
villain" by Nelly (94), and called Satan by Catherine, and then he said
he himself is treated "infernally" by Catherine. What do you think
about Heathcliff, his relationship with Catherine and his revenge? Is
he immoral, or amoral, or a victim of his environment and personality?
Keep this question in mind.
back to the top
After the appearance of Catherine as ghost, here in chap 12, window again
plays an important role. Why does opening the window means death
to Nelly but life to Catherine (106)? What could it mean
and how is it related to the mirror? For your reference, here is
an essay on Symbolism
and Imagery: Windows and Eyes in Wuthering Heights.
How does the setting continue to relate to the plot and the characters?
Why does Bronte often describe characters in terms of nature (e.g. p. 78)?
Does the novel suggest a difference between wilderness and cultivation?
for chapters 15-20
With the arrival of Dr. Kenneth at the end of
14, Nelly's narration is interrupted for a week, during which Lockwood
gets better and expects Spring to arrive. Nelly then resumes her
narration in Chap 15 of one of the climaxes of the novel--the meeting
of Heathcliff and Catherine.
Chaps 16-20 make a
transition from the first generation characters
(Catherine-Heathcliff-the Lintons) to the second. Chap 17 skips forward
13 years to when Isabella dies and the issue of Linton's custody comes
up. (See Time
Characters: the first generation
In the transitional chapaters, death, and
the characters' (Hindley's, Heathcliff's, Catherine's and Nelly's) responses
to it, emerges as a major theme of the novel.
Also, with the transition to the second generation,
past"--both in the sense of the past events and inheritance, becomes
a major influence on the characters' life. We shouldn't forget that
the past has always been important for the characters and the narrator,
Nelly (e.g. the whole story is told in retrospect; Catherine goes back
to her childhood in her madness), but with the second generation, inheritance
becomes another important kind of "the past."
Characters: the second generation
Why does Nelly let Heathcliff in the house to see Catherine as she
is dying? Why does she let him in after her death?
As Heathcliff and Catherine are talking, they both make many accusations
against the other. What do they accuse each other of doing? What does Heathcliff
mean when he says, "I love my murderer, but yours! How can I" (136)?
In chapter 16, as Catherine is dying, Edgar is INSIDE the house nursing
her, while Heathcliff is waiting in the garden OUTSIDE. Discuss the symbolic
importance of Edgar being in the house and Heathcliff outside.
Another clue to Nelly's, Edgar's, Heathcliff's, Hindley's and
Isabella's different personalities is in their different responses
to Catherine's (or, in the case of Hindley, Frances') death in chaps 15
& 16. Do you understand or agree with Heathcliff's "curse" of
Catherine (141), as opposed to Edgar's quieter grief and continual love
(pp. 138, 154)? Edgar is also compared by Nelly with Hindley in their
different responses to their child after their wife's death (155).
Explain why Catherine's burial place, though unconventional, is appropriate
Do you understand or agree with Nelly's "happiness" during this transitional
period (pp. 139, 158)? Why does Nelly think that even Edgar's love/sorrow
for Catherine has a degree of selfishness (139)?
What do you think about Isabella's verbal revenge against Heathcliff
before she escapes from him and practically disappears from the novel (143-153)?
Why does she leave him?
Images & Symbols: Nature, Hell, Window &
The novel does not end with great passion of love and revenge. Instead,
the second generation, with their different combination of Linton and Catherine/Heathcliff
personalities, succeed the first and move on to the central stage.
How do young Cathy, Hareton, and Linton compare and contrast with Catherine,
Heathcliff, and Edgar? What differences and similarities do
you find between these two generations?
To be more specific, how is the young Cathy Linton
different from and similar to Catherine(e.g. 158)? And how is Cathylike
her father? How unlike him? What more do you learn about her while her
father is away? Does her interest in Penistone Craggs suggest something
about her? What does her first experience of Wuthering Heights suggest
about her? What do you think about the recurrent motifs (e.g. Catherine's
chair, Penistone Craggs, class conflicts)?
How about Heathcliff as a child and Hareton?
Describe Hareton as an eighteen-year-old boy. In this novel that
keeps mentioning books and reading, can Hareton read and write? Is this
significant? How does he compare and contrast with Linton Heathcliff?
And how about Linton? (Why does Isabella name him Linton Heathcliff?)
Again, images of Nature (or tree and dog more specifically) and Hell are
used to describe different characters: e.g. pp. 130; 134; 135 &157.
When Heathcliff goes to visit Catherine, Catherine is sitting in a chair
by a window (131). Do you see symbolic value in her position? Keep in mind
that later, when Catherine is talking to Heathcliff, she refers to
the house as a "prison" and says "I'm tired, tired of being enclosed here”
Have you noticed a pattern or meaning to the recurring images of the dogs?
What do they suggest? Also, notice that Nelly describes Heathcliff
by saying that "he gnashed at me, and foamed like a mad dog" (135). Isabella
also later tells Heathcliff to go to Catherine's "grave and die like a
faithful dog" (149).
for chapters 21-26
After Linton is taken to Wuthering Heights, there
is a lapse of about three years in Nelly's narration. The major event
in this section is the meetings between Cathy and Linton when they both
become teenagers at the age of sixteen. Their meetings are encouraged
by Heathcliff, but discouraged or sometimes stopped by Edgar and Nelly.
Characters: The Second Generation
Characters: Heathcliff vs. Edgar
Describe Linton Heathcliff as a teenager. In this novel in which
the Linton family is often associated with books and reading while
Heathcliff and the people at Wuthering Heights are not avid readers, does
young Linton read and write? Does this suggest something about him
and his relationship with the residents of Wuthering Heights? How would
you describe his relationship with his father, Hareton, and Joseph?
Cathy in relation to the other characters: What more do you learn
about Cathy when she Cathy goes to visit Linton in chapter 21?
What is her response to Linton? How would you describe her
relationship with Hareton? With Heathcliff? When her
father first refuses to let Cathy go see Linton again, what does Cathy
do? How does she maintain her relationship with Linton?
Linton's development: Right at the beginning of chap 21,
Nelly reports that Linton becomes "selfish and disagreeable" (p.
177). Do you find this account justifiable? How
does Linton behaves in Chap 23, when Cathy resumes her visit, and
then in Cathy's confession in chap 24? Then further
in chap 26, where Nelly says that he shows a kind of "apathy" and "self-absorbed
Characters: The Two Generations
Why does Heathcliff invite Cathy to visit Wuthering Heights and see Linton
again? On page 180 what does Heathcliff suggest to Nelly about his
reasons? Why does Heathcliff want Cathy to marry Linton?
In chapter 22 Heathcliff again invites Cathy to Wuthering Heights.
Why does Cathy accept the invitation? Do you agree with Heathcliff
when he tells Cathy that she is to blame for Linton's failing health?
The relations among the second generation is not a mere repetition of that
of the first, and Heathcliff plays a major role here. Although
Linton is his biological son, Hareton resembles Heathcliff as a child more.
What does Heathcliff feels about Hareton (pp. 182-83)?
Why is Edgar oppposed to Cathy's relationship with Linton,
who is his nephew? Why does he agree at last to let Cathy and Linton
meet? What are his major considerations (214-15)?
Narrators/Characters: Nelly Dean &
In what ways does Linton take after his mother, Isabella, but not his father?
In what way is not not like Isabella?
Hareton resembles Heathcliff a lot, but in what ways are they different
(pay attention to his different attitudes towards "book-larning"
p. 184-185; 207-208).
How does Cathy's relationship with Linton and Hareton compare and
contrast with Catherine's relationship with Edgar? With Heathcliff?
Recurrent Motifs: Sickness and Death
Why does Nelly read Linton's letters to Cathy? Do you agree with
her calling the letters "babyish trash"? Why does she burn them without
telling Edgar about them? And her intervention into the two's relationship?
How is Nelly related to Cathy? Nelly, again, serves as a confidant
to Cathy (pp. 204-208). Even the way she performs her role this time
is a repetition of the past. Do you find her justified in her
defending Hareton, and her revealing Cathy's secrets to Edgar?
The beginning of chapter 25 presents another brief exchange between
and Lockwood. Do you agree with Nelly when she suggests that
Cathy and Lockwood might become romantically involved? Do you think
that Lockwood could love Cathy?
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Sickness appears frequently in this novel. Is it significant
that Nelly Dean, who is usually healthy and energetic, becomes sick (203)?
What does Cathy do while Nelly is sick?
Questions for chapters 27-34
The fear Linton expresses in chaps 26 and 27
is explained as Heathcliff takes action to carry out his plan of keeping
Cathy in Wuthering Heights and making her Linton's wife.
There are two parts to this section:
Chaps 27-31: Cathy's experience of imprisonment,
her father's and husband's death, and adjustment.
Chaps 32-34: Lockwood's visit in 1802.
Chaps 27-31: The
Characters: Cathy, Linton and Heathcliff
The Narrators: Nelly's and Lockwood's role
Describe Cathy's second meeting with Linton? Why is Linton so frightened?
Why is Cathy impatient to go back to the Grange? Why, instead, do Nelly
and Cathy go to the Grange?
Why does Heathcliff lock Cathy and Nelly inside Wuthering Heights?
Describe Heathcliff's behavior to them. Why is he surprised
by her rebellion, and disgusted at her pleading (225; 228)? Why does
he, after Edgar's death, want to have "his children" around him, "to be
sure" about what(229)?
How do Cathy and Nelly respond to Heathcliff's brutality and imprisonment
respectively? What do you think of their responses? (Attention: Cathy
responds in more than one ways on pp. 225; 226-27;228)
What does Heathcliff want Cathy and Linton to do? Do you believe Cathy
when she says about Linton, "I love him"(228 and again on 239)?
If she means it, what kind of love is it?
Describe the relationship between Cathy and Linton after their marriage.
What happens to Cathy while Nelly is locked in a room for four days? In
what ways does Linton resemble Heathcliff? In what ways Edgar Linton? What
do you think of Linton's response to Nelly when Nelly wants to free Cathy
(232-4)? Describe how Cathy changes after her marriage to Linton.
Chaps 27-31: Themes:
Death, Edgar's view, Heathcliff's views of it, and Cathy's adjustment to
Again in chapter 27 Nelly reveals herself as an agent in the development
of the plot. Why does she not tell Edgar Linton that Linton Heathcliff
is dangerously sick (pp. 220; 221)? What is the result of her silence?
On page 230 Nelly discusses her role in the events that have happened in
the novel. Do you agree with her evaluation of her own behavior?
Why does she lie again to Edgar when she returns to the Grange (235) and
then encourage Cathy to lie (236)?
By chapter 31 we are back to the time period described at the very
beginning of the novel. After listening to Nelly's story, what kind of
relationship does Lockwood hope for with Cathy?
Chaps 32-34: The Characters:
Cathy, Hareton and Heathcliff
Describe Edgar Linton's death. How does he envision his life after death?
Compare and contrast his view of the afterlife with Catherine's views and
with Heathcliff's views.
In chapter 29 we learn more about what Heathcliff did during the
night of Catherine's funeral. What did he do? Also, why does he open Catherine's
grave a second time?
How does Linton respond to Edgar's death (233)?
How does Cathy respond to Linton's death? Describe her adjustment
to the death and her relationship with Zillah, Heathcliff, and Hareton.
(pp. 245 -46).
Who does Cathy resemble in her response to and survival of emotional and
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Heathcliff and Nelly claim that Hareton resembles Catherine (e.g.
252.) Is there any significance in that? If so, explain. Describe
changes in the relationship between Hareton and Cathy at the end of
the novel, which happen gradually, for instance, on pp. 246-47; 250-252;
259; 262-. Is there meaning in the fact that they enjoy
and walking in the moors?
Describe the changes in Heathcliff's behavior before he dies? Why doesn't
he end the relationship between Cathy and Hareton (269)? What do you think
has caused those changes we see in him?
These concluding chapters keep returning, again and again, to the images
we have seen throughout the novel, including windows, books, eyes, ghosts,
and storms. Discuss the meaning of them at the end of the novel. For
example, how have books become an element that unites the two families?
Nelly says in chapter 34 that some people claim that Heathcliff's
ghost walks the moors. She does not believe it. Do you believe it
or not? Explain your answer. The novel suggests that Cathy and Hareton
walk the moors on moonlight nights and Catherine and Heathcliff walk the
moors during rainy nights. What significance does this have?