1. What role does mental health play in Wuthering Heights? How do Catherine’s seclusion inside and Heathcliff’s tendency to “be out” operate in relation?
2. Little Catherine becomes increasingly interested in venturing beyond the Grange. How do her descriptions of the world beyond compare to other characters’?
In Chapter One we learn Bronte’s novel is named after Heathcliff’s house, called Wuthering Heights. Lockwood tells us that the word “wuthering” describes the stormy scenery surrounding the moors. I looked up the definition and etymology of the word “wuthering”. The definition is “(of weather) characterized by strong winds.” Meanwhile, the etymology is slightly different, with the OED describing it as “making a sullen roar” or “rushing, whizzing, blustering,” (Old English), or “to go quickly to and fro,” (Norwegian). How does this word’s etymology or definition relate to the literal house, or the overall novel and its themes?
Weather or climate is clearly an important theme of the novel and this class. At the end of the first chapter, a snowstorm prevents Lockwood from leaving, thus inciting a plot that continues for the rest of the novel. What role does the snowstorm play in Wuthering Heights? Do you think Bronte is implying this weathered occurrence is a sort of divine intervention or fate? Or is weather simply a random natural occurrence?
Heathcliff is first described as a “dark-skinned gypsy,” by other characters. He is also described as being a devilish child, or potentially evil. What is the significance of Heathcliff being acknowledged as racially different? Does it matter that Heathcliff is a foreigner, not originally from England? What does “gypsy” imply? Do you think the characters are connoting his different skin color and nationality with him being immoral?
The first five chapters of the novel introduce a seemingly isolated community on the English countryside. Varying narrative styles guide the reader throughout these chapters, and the Lockwood quite often weaves his personal opinion into the narration. Lockwood’s narration in the opening chapters comes to eventually frame Nelly’s. The interconnected historical web of this family is hard to follow. How does Lockwood, narrating as an outsider intermediary, affect the reading of the Wuthering Heights? Do his opinions continue to inform the reader once Nelly takes over?