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Wuthering Heights: Thrushcross Grange

I recommend that you read first, always, and allow your imagination to form the image of character and place. Once that is established, then look at the images that others have created to suit their imaginations.

Visit http://www.wuthering-heights.co.uk/index.php for a source of Brontë’s life and times, the photos and locations of the actual places that likely inspired her, pronunciations, pertinent essays, and more.

Here is that author’s rendering of the layout of Thrushcross Grange:

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Wuthering Heights: the house

I recommend that you read first, always, and allow your imagination to form the image of character and place. Once that is established, then look at the images that others have created to suit their imaginations.

Visit http://www.wuthering-heights.co.uk/index.php for a source of Brontë’s life and times, the photos and locations of the actual places that likely inspired her, pronunciations, pertinent essays, and more.

Here is that author’s rendering of the layout of Wuthering Heights:

IMG_0689.JPG

Wuthering Heights, xviii, xix

Twelve years beyond Cathy’s death.

“Catherine” now refers to the daughter: she is “the most winning thing that brought sunshine into a desolate house” (155), but is also saucy and petulant.

Catherine wants to wander beyond what is known, but her father forbids it for the avoidance of Heathcliff. One wonders why Ellen Dean did not suss the meaning of “crossing the Desert with caravan” (157).

Catherine Jr. attempts making Penistone Crags, but encountering Hareton near the Heights, and the unsuing dog battle, undoes the plan. A panicked Nell finds her at the house.

Catherine a wonderful time with Hareton until he tells her he’ll be damned to be her servant (157). She is further shocked to learn they are cousins. Hareton is described as althletic and healthy, “good things lost in a field of weeds” (161).

Edgar returns with a weak Linton who cries and cries. He’s not there a whole day before Joseph shows up, on behalf of Linton’s father Heathcliff, to claim him as parent and guardian.

Wuthering Heights, xvii

The ambiguity of Isabella:

“I’ve recovered from my first desire to be killed by him. I’d rather he’d kill himself! He has extinguished my love effectually, and so I’m at my ease. I can recollect yet how I loved him; and can dimly imagine that I could still be loving him, if – no, no!” (143).

“…I’d be glad of a retaliation that wouldn’t recoil on myself; but treachery and violence are spears pointed at both ends – they wound those who resort to them, worse than their enemies” (145).

 

Wuthering Heights, xvi

“Poor wretch!” I thought; “you have a heart and nerves the same as your brother men! Why should you be so anxious to conceal them? Your pride cannot blind God! You tempt Him to ring them, till He forces a cry of humiliation!”

Catherine dies. Catherine is born.

Atmospherics: how Heathcliff is dew-soaked to match his tears, and is so still the birds build a nest in the tree quite close to him. Birds building a nest may be  symbolic, yes?

Ousel

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Wuthering Heights, xv

Heathcliff sneaks a visit while Edgar and servants are at church to see How ill Catherine is,  and is dismayed to see “no prospect of ultimate recovery is there – she was fated, sure to die” (132).

“Vindictive,” she asks him how long he means to go on living after she is dead. Here, the characters finally trade speeches of the depth of love — indeed, laced with the symbolism of the torments of hell — to the ears of us readers (133).

Catherine is described in ghostly, perhaps vampiric imagery, Heathcliff in animal, perhaps demonic; the novel is in the gothic genre, indeed.

Cathy refuses to let go despite Nell’s warning of Linton’s approach. Heathcliff hands over an unconscious Catherine to Edgar’s arms.

Wuthering Heights, xiv

Nell visits the Heights at Isabella’s request.  The latter is hoping for a letter from Edgar, but Edgar has disowned her.

Heathcliff regales Nell  with an account of how the marriage is going: he delights in degrading Isabella and marveling at how she “crawls back.” Perhaps one line the best sums it up: “I have no pity! The worms writhe, the more I want to crush out their entrails! It is a moral teething, and I grind with greater energy, in proportion to the increase of pain” (128).

Isabella counters that she had tried to leave at his invitation, and dares not try again for the insinuated abuse that resulted from the attempt. Heathcliff refers to her as property and her guardian, and refers to her as “child.”

Heathcliff threatens Nell with confinement unless she agrees to facilitate a visit to Cathy. He threatens otherwise to overpower Linton and hold off servants with pistols if need be.

Nell weighs the consequences,  and acquiesces.

Wuthering Heights, xiii

A “brain fever.” Even though she looks better, when Edgar wishes she could be outside for the health benefits, she says she will be in those hills but one more time.

A letter from Isabella. “The second question, I have great interest in; it is this – is Mr. Heathcliff a man?” (115)

Her description of Hindley, “His eyes, too, were like a ghostly Catherine’s, with all their beauty annihilated” (117). You can guess how that will end, seeing as Heathcliff acquires the Heights…

A tiger or a venomous serpent could not rouse terror in me equal to that which he wakens.

Penistone Crags

Perhaps the inspiration for the ficticious Penistone Crag is Ponden Kirk.
Photo credit to the site Megalithix on WordPress. IMG_0682

Wuthering Heights, xii

In this chapter, Catherine’s delusions that recall her time on the moors with Heathcliff allow us to infer some of the things they did in childhood together.

Despite Catherine’s “ghastly countenance and strange exaggerated manner,” Nell does not communicate her “I am dying” sentiments to Edgar.

Catherine tears the pillow and arranges feathers: The lapwing, and her story about Heathcliff setting traps for birds on Penistone Crag (105).

elf-bolts It is believed that if one wandered incautiously, or trespassed in areas belonging to the fairies, they might shoot you with one of their invisible arrows. In turn you would sicken and die. (I was elf-shot as I took a shortcut off the path to Glastonbury Tor: by and by, I will die…)

The black press.

Catherine recalls braving Gimmerton Kirk with Heathcliff to call the ghosts.

“I wish I were out of doors – I wish I were a girl again, half savage, hardy, and free” (107). Too late, Nell  realizes this is serious, and almost at the moment Edgar enters, discovers his wife’s condition, and is furious.

In running for the doctor, Nell finds Isabella’s dog hanged from a gate post, and imagines hearing horse hoofs racing away. Her fears come true and realizing that Isabella and Heathcliff have run off together. Edgar’s response is that he has not disowned her, but she him.