Extra Text: Wuthering Heights

Emily Brontë (1818–1848) came from a gifted family living in Yorkshire. Her two sisters Charlotte and Anne are famous writers too. Her only novel, Wuthering Heights, is one of the masterpieces of European literature.

Set against the backdrop of the wild and desolate Yorkshire moors, it tells the story of the passionate relationship between Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff, a foundling adopted by Catherine’s father. They love each other intensely but never actually become lovers. Heathcliff is bullied by Catherine’s brother, and leaves the family, thinking that his love for Catherine is not returned. Catherine marries Edgar Linton. When Heathcliff finally returns, Catherine reveals to her servant Nelly Dean how she feels about him.

Wuthering Heights

by Emily Brontë
I cannot express it; but surely you and everybody have a notion that there is or should be an existence of yours beyond you. What were the use of my creation, if I were entirely contained here? My great miseries in this world have been Heathcliff’s miseries, and I watched and felt each from the beginning: my great thought in living his himself. If all else perished, and he remained, I should still continue to be, and if all else remained, and he were annihilated, the universe would turn to a mighty stranger: I should not seem a part of it. My love for Linton is like the foliage in the woods: time will change it, I’m well aware, as winter changes the trees. My love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath: a source of little visible delight, but necessary. Nelly, I am Heathcliff! He’s always, always in my mind: not as a pleasure, nay more than I am always a pleasure to myself, but as my own being.

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1          Understanding the text
a          How strong is Catherine’s love for Heathcliff?
b          How often does she think of him?
c          Will her love for Heathcliff change?
d          Will her love for Linton change?
2          Talking
Discuss in groups of three.
What is your advice to Catherine, who is married to Edgar, but feels so strongly about Heathcliff? Do you think she should leave Edgar or try to forget about Heathcliff? Give reasons why you think your advice is the best.
3          Vocabulary
What elements of nature does Catherine refer to when she describes her love for Heathcliff?


Wuthering Heights (Wikipedia)