Wuthering Heights (Paperback)
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Wuthering Heights is the only novel by Emily Bronte. The name of the novel comes from the Yorkshire manor on the moors on which the story centers (as an adjective; wuthering is a Yorkshire word referring to turbulent weather). The narrative tells the tale of the all-encompassing and passionate, yet thwarted, love between Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff, and how this unresolved passion eventually destroys them and many around them. Now considered a classic of English literature, Wuthering Heights met with mixed reviews by critics when it first appeared, mainly because of the narrative's stark depiction of mental and physical cruelty. Many subsequent critics of Wuthering Heights argued that it was a superior achievement. Wuthering Heights has also given rise to many adaptations and inspired works, including films, radio, television dramatizations, a musical by Bernard J. Taylor, a ballet, three operas (respectively by Bernard Herrmann, Carlisle Floyd, and Frederic Chaslin), a role-playing game, and a song by Kate Bush. Prologue (chapters 1 to 3): Mr. Lockwood, a rich man from the south, has rented Thrushcross Grange in the north of England for peace and recuperation. Soon after his arrival, he visits his landlord, Mr. Heathcliff, who lives in the remote moorland farmhouse called "Wuthering Heights." He finds the inhabitants of Wuthering Heights to be a strange group: Mr. Heathcliff appears a gentleman but his mannerisms suggest otherwise; a reserved mistress of the house is in her mid teens; and a young man appears to be one of the family, although he dresses and talks like a servant. Being snowed in, Mr. Lockwood stays the night and is shown to an unused chamber, where he finds books and graffiti from a former inhabitant of the farmhouse named Catherine. When he falls asleep, he has a nightmare in which he sees Catherine as a ghost trying to enter through the window. He wakes and is unable to return to sleep. As soon as the sun rises, he is escorted back to Thrushcross Grange by Heathcliff. There, he asks his housekeeper, Ellen Dean, to tell him the story of the family from the Heights. The Childhood of Heathcliff (chapters 4 to 17): Thirty years prior, the Earnshaw family lives at Wuthering Heights. The children of the family are the teenaged Hindley and his younger sister, Catherine. Mr. Earnshaw travels to Liverpool, where he finds a homeless gypsy boy whom he decides to adopt, naming him "Heathcliff." Hindley finds himself robbed of his father's affections and becomes bitterly jealous of Heathcliff. However, Catherine grows very attached to him. Soon, the two children spend hours on the moors together and hate every moment apart. Because of the domestic discord caused by Hindley and Heathcliff's sibling rivalry, Hindley is eventually sent to college. However, he marries a woman named Frances and returns three years later, after Mr. Earnshaw dies. He becomes master of Wuthering Heights, and forces Heathcliff to become a servant instead of a member of the family. Several months after Hindley's return, Heathcliff and Catherine travel to Thrushcross Grange to spy on the Linton family. However, they are spotted and try to escape. Catherine, having been caught by a dog, is brought inside the Grange to have injuries tended to while Heathcliff is sent home. Catherine eventually returns to Wuthering Heights as a changed woman, looking and acting as a lady. She laughs at Heathcliff's unkempt appearance. When the Lintons visit the next day, Heathcliff dresses up to impress her. It fails when Edgar, one of the Linton children, argues with him. Heathcliff is locked in the attic, where Catherine later tries to comfort him. He swears vengeance on Hindley. In the summer of the next year, Frances gives birth to a son, Hareton, but she dies before the year is out. This leads Hindley to descend into a life of drunkenness and waste.