Tag Archives: Wuthering Heights

Brontë Sisters Power Dolls

This bit of inspired lunacy from Phil Lord and Chris Miller was created in 1998. It’s a never-aired fake commercial for a line of educational action figures based on historical figures. Enjoy!

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Wuthering Heights on the Radio

In 1978, British singer/songwriter Kate Bush released “Wuthering Heights,” a song inspired by Brontë’s novel. Bush wrote the piece when she was 18 and discovered that she and Emily B shared a July 30 birthday. “Wuthering Heights” has proved to be Bush’s most famous and popular song, which has been covered by multiple artists in the years since. Below are the song’s lyrics and three videos. The first is the UK release of “Wuthering Heights” by Kate Bush. In the second, New Zealand soprano Hayley Westenra covers the song, and the imagery suggests events and imagery from the book. The third one is American rock singer Pat Benatar’s cover. Benatar is an operatically-trained soprano, so her rock version is a little different than you might expect. The cut was included on her 198o album Crimes of Passion, but it was never released for radio play.

Out on the wiley, windy moors
We’d roll and fall in green
You had a temper, like my jealousy
Too hot, too greedy
How could you leave me
When I needed to possess you?
I hated you, I loved you too

Bad dreams in the night
They told me I was going to lose the fight
Leave behind my wuthering, wuthering
Wuthering Heights

Heathcliff, it’s me, I’m Cathy, I’ve come home
I’m so cold, let me in in your window
Heathcliff, it’s me, I’m Cathy, I’ve come home
I’m so cold, let me in in your window

Oh it gets dark, it gets lonely
On the other side from you
I pine a lot, I find the lot
Falls through without you
I’m coming back love, cruel Heathcliff
My one dream, my only master

Too long I roam in the night
I’m coming back to his side to put it right
I’m coming home to wuthering, wuthering
Wuthering Heights

Heathcliff, it’s me, I’m Cathy, I’ve come home
I’m so cold, let me in in your window
Heathcliff, it’s me, I’m Cathy, I’ve come home
I’m so cold, let me in in your window

Ooh let me have it, let me grab your soul away
Ooh let me have it, let me grab your soul away
You know it’s me, Cathy

Heathcliff, it’s me, I’m Cathy, I’ve come home
I’m so cold, let me in in your window
Heathcliff, it’s me, I’m Cathy, I’ve come home
I’m so cold, let me in in your window
Heathcliff, it’s me, I’m Cathy, I’ve come home
I’m so cold

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Walking Through History: Brontë Country

Walking Through History is a British television show hosted by Sir Tony Robinson, an actor, comedian, children’s book author, and amateur historian best known for his role in the historical comedy series Blackadder. In this episode, Brontë Country, Sir Tony takes a four-day journey across the West Yorkshire moors, visiting not only the Brontë’s home in Haworth Village, but many of the sites mentioned in Wuthering Heights, including the Penistone Crags and Top Withens, the ruin of the house widely believed to be Emily Brontë’s inspiration for the Earnshaw home.


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Wuthering Heights Family Tree

Although Emily Brontë helpfully includes a family tree to explain the relationships among her characters, understanding them takes a little work. Here are some helpful ways to discern who she’s talking about:


Wuthering Heights focuses on two Yorkshire families, the Earnshaws, who live at Wuthering Heights, and the Lintons, who live at Thrushcross Grange. 

Based on the inscription found over the door, Wuthering Heights was most likely built by a man named Hareton Earnshaw around the year 1500. That makes the Earnshaw family a very old one and probably accounts for their prominence in the society. Mr. and Mrs. Earnshaw have two children, Hindley and Catherine. Mr. Earnshaw adopts an orphan boy and brings him home to raise as a second son. This boy is given the name of a son who died in childbirth that, as Nelly Dean says, “has served him ever since, for both Christian and surname”: Heathcliff

Hindley does not react well to this new addition to the household, but Catherine becomes very close to him. When old Mr. Earnshaw dies, Hindley inherits Wuthering Heights and becomes the guardian of his sister Catherine. Hindley treats Heathcliff like a servant rather than an adopted brother. He eventually marries a woman named Frances, who gives birth to their son, Hareton.

Down in the valley, Mr. and Mrs. Linton live a very comfortable and wealthy lifestyle at Thrushcross Grange. Like the Earnshaws, the Lintons have both a son, Edgar, and a daughter, Isabella. The two families are familiar with each other, but they don’t come into close contact until Catherine Earnshaw is injured during a visit and ends up recuperating for a few weeks at Thrushcross Grange. It is then that she gets to know Edgar and he eventually proposes marriage. Despite her love for Heathcliff, she accepts. Catherine dies giving birth to her daughter with Edgar, who is given her name. Catherine Linton is known in the book as Cathy.

Although raised with the Earnshaws, Heathcliff decides he owes them no allegiance. After Catherine marries Edgar, the penniless Healthcliff leaves the area for several years, returning as a fabulously wealthy man (no one really knows how he got his money). To spite Edgar and Catherine, Heathcliff then elopes with Edgar’s sister Isabella. They have one son together, who is named Linton after his mother’s family.

(Image from the York Notes Wuthering Heights AS&A2, the British SparkNotes)

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Wuthering Heights Links


Background Information

Lilia Melani, background information for English 40.4: The Nineteenth Century Novel, Brooklyn College (City University of New York)

Paul Thompson, The Reader’s Guide to Wuthering Heights

Haworth Village

Wuthering Heights on Film

1939 version (Laurence Olivier and Merle Oberon)
Nominated for eight Oscars, winning one for Best Cinematography

1970 version (Timothy Dalton and Anna Calder-Marshall)

1992 version (Ralph Fiennes and Juliette Binoche)

2009 Masterpiece Theatre version (Tom Hardy and Charlotte Riley)

2011 version (James Howson and Kaya Scodelario)

Image of Top Withens, commonly believed to be the inspiration for Wuthering Heights, from

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Emily Brontë Introduction

emilyEmily Brontë was born July 30, 1818, in Thornton, Yorkshire, the fifth of Patrick and Maria Bronte’s six children. Within a few years, the family moved to the West Yorkshire village of Haworth, where Patrick was the curate (priest) of the parish church. Bronte lived nearly her entire life at Haworth Parsonage. Within that small household, the family dealt with such troubles as sickness, poverty, brutality, alcoholism, and death. Their mother died of cancer not long after the birth of her youngest daughter, Anne, when Emily Brontë was only three. When Emily was six, she and her three older sisters, Maria, Elizabeth, and Charlotte, were sent to the Clergy Daughter’s School at Cowan Bridge. Maria and Elizabeth contracted tuberculosis at the school and died soon afterward; Emily and Charlotte were subsequently withdrawn. With each successive blow, the family grew closer, shutting out the world around them and taking comfort from those who remained—even if those people were the source of the trouble, like their brother Bramwell, who suffered from alcoholism. All six of the Brontë children died before the age of 40.

The_Brontë_Sisters_by_Patrick_Branwell_Brontë_restoredBrontë’s life was insular. She had a patchwork of formal education from Cowan Bridge, the Roe Head School in Mirfield, and a stint at the Pensionnat Heger, supplemented by a variety of lessons given by people in the Haworth community and intensive reading and study at home. Patrick Brontë had an extensive library, and along with scripture, all the siblings were encouraged to read as much as possible from classical authors such as Homer, Virgil, and Shakespeare, neoclassical writers Bunyan, Milton, Pope, Jonson, Gibbon, and Cowper, and more contemporary romantic poets and authors such as Burns, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Scott, Southey, and Byron. Emily and her surviving sisters, the novelists Charlotte Brontë (Jane Eyre) and Anne Brontë (Agnes Grey), created the imaginary kingdoms of Angria and Gondal when they were children, and these imaginative worlds eventually spilled over into their real one.

The sisters’ first published work, a book of poetry submitted under the male pseudonyms Currer (Charlotte), Acton (Anne), and Ellis (Emily) Bell, sold only two copies. The volume contained eighteen poems authored by Emily. Of them, one reviewer complimented her “fine quaint spirit” and asserted that she had “things to speak that men will be glad to hear,—and an evident power of wing that may reach heights not here attempted.” The siblings were unusually close, lending each other critique and encouragement. The painting here of the Brontë sisters was created by their brother Bramwell; Anne sits to the left, Emily in the center, and Charlotte on the right. Bramwell originally included himself but painted out his image later, as you can see from the restoration.

All three sisters wrote fiction in addition to poetry. They submitted their respective novels under their Bell pseudonyms in a single envelope; if the submission was returned by a publisher, Charlotte would cross out that name, add a new address to the bottom, and send it out again. In 1847, Charlotte’s Jane Eyre was published to instant acclaim (Queen Victoria was a fan), becoming a bestseller. Anne’s Agnes Grey was released by a different publisher, outshone by her sister’s work. In early 1848, Emily’s novel and Anne’s second, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, were accepted and published as a set. Anne’s single volume was a sensation and sold out. Emily’s novel, Wuthering Heights, did not fare as well. Intense and passionate and peopled with characters who neither sought nor deserved redemption, as was expected by those in Victorian times, the work unsettled readers and reviewers alike.

Early copies of the novelWhen Brontë died, several reviews of Wuthering Heights were found in her desk. As you can see from these snippets, there is no common agreement about the work to be found:

Anonymous reviewer, Douglas Jerrold’s Weekly Newspaper, 15 January 1848

“Wuthering Heights is a strange sort of book,—baffling all regular criticism; yet, it is impossible to begin and not finish it; and quite as impossible to lay it aside afterwards and say nothing about it.”

Unknown reviewer from an unknown publication, about 1847:

“This is a work of great ability, and contains many chapters, to the production of which talent of no common order has contributed.”

Anonymous reviewer for the Examiner, 8 January 1848:

“This is a strange book. It is not without evidences of considerable power: but, as a whole, it is wild, confused, disjointed, and improbable; and the people who make up the drama, which is tragic enough in its consequences, are savages ruder than those who lived before the days of Homer.”

Paterson’s magazine (U.S.)

“Read Jane Eyre… but burn Wuthering Heights.”

The Penguin Classics Reader’s Guide to Wuthering Heights suggests that “This strong reaction was due in part to the book’s intense examination of the human spirit. Readers accustomed to novels such as those by Jane Austen, published thirty-five years before, sought a realistic portrayal of the mores and manners of the English upper classes. Wuthering Heights, in contrast, focused not on society, but on the minds, hearts, and souls of its members.”

In a sense, Emily Brontë is very much like the American poet Emily Dickinson. Both led secluded lives, but their seclusion masked an uncommon knowledge of human nature and the passions and questions that control it. Neither woman married, and there is much speculation about the nature of any relationships they might have had outside of their respective families. Each left behind a fixed body of work. In Dickinson’s case, none of her poems were published until after her death. Brontë lived to see one book of poetry and Wuthering Heights published, with another novel contracted by the same publisher. After Emily’s death, her sister Charlotte gathered and published more of Emily’s poems, including “Stanzas” below. The themes and passions in her poetry mirror those in her great novel, allowing us a glimpse of a woman whose imaginative inner life belied her secluded reality.


Often rebuked, yet always back returning
To those first feelings that were born with me,
And leaving busy chase of wealth and learning
For idle dreams of things that cannot be:

To-day, I will seek not the shadowy region;
Its unsustaining vastness waxes drear;
And visions rising, legion after legion,
Bring the unreal world too strangely near.

I’ll walk, but not in old heroic traces,
And not in paths of high morality,
And not among the half-distinguished faces,
The clouded forms of long-past history.

I’ll walk where my own nature would be leading:
It vexes me to choose another guide:
Where the gray flocks in ferny glens are feeding;
Where the wild wind blows on the mountain side.

What have those lonely mountains worth revealing?
More glory and more grief than I can tell:
The earth that wakes one human heart to feeling
Can centre both the worlds of Heaven and Hell.

The year Wuthering Heights was published, Emily fell ill, complaining of difficulty breathing and pains in her chest. It was tuberculosis. Bramwell had also contracted the disease. He succumbed in September of 1848. Emily died December 19, 1848, at the age of 30. Anne followed the next May. Charlotte, the lone surviving Brontë sibling, continued to write and publish her own work in addition to serving as editor for subsequent editions of her sisters’ work. She married her father’s curate Arthur Nicholls in 1854 and is said to have lived a happy life until her own death from tuberculosis in 1855. Their father Patrick outlived them all, dying in 1861.



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Thug Notes: Wuthering Heights

It’s a thin line between love and hate. Really thin. Salty language and adult themes ahead. Proceed with caution.

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Wuthering Heights Seminar Threads

grangeTo prepare for our seminar this week, please gather specific textual evidence for the following threads. Try to “spread the wealth” among the threads instead of concentrating on one or two.

1. Narrator bias – Lockwood/Nelly Dean

2. Comparison of locations (inside/outside, different rooms, different places in different times, Wuthering Heights/Thrushcross Grange, home/moor, etc.)

3. Character weaknesses

4. Use of twos/pairs/opposites

5. Powerful symbols

6. Heathcliff—strong or weak? (You could look at any character regarding this)

7. Love/Passion/Revenge/Obsession

Image of Ponden Hall, believed to be the inspiration for Thrushcross Grange

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Wuthering Heights Vocabulary Quiz

moorYour vocabulary quiz on words selected from Wuthering Heights will be given next Wednesday, April 10. The following word groups will be tested:







CHOOSE 2 WORDS OF YOUR OWN from the remainder of the list to study. These may not be words I have already assigned! You should study a total of 20 words for the quiz.

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