You are here:

Literature/Wuthering heights


Just watched Wuthering Heights. Was wonder what one should take from it? That women choose money over love or that Heathcliff was a master of self fulfilling prophecy and resentment when things don't work out for him?

There are a lot of answers to that question.  I wonder which version you watched? My favorite is Kominsky's 1992 one, but I was blown away by Andrea Arnold's 2011 one with striking imagery and little dialogue.

This is one of my favorite books of all time, and I am summarizing very big ideas and also trying to apply them to a director's choice in your case - without knowing the choices of what the director focused on.  There are many film adaptations of this book.

There are several themes to the story as a whole. One major one is Revenge.  When we don't get what we want in life, and we toy with people's emotions, we want them to feel the same pain we did. Heathcliff and Catherine are obsessed with one another, and in this sense, Heathcliff wants her all to himself. When he feels as though everyone around him has worked toward making it impossible for the two of them to be together, he tries to exact revenge on everyone around him that stood in their way. This is always at the expense of everyone's happiness including his own. Suffering is another element that is tied into the revenge and the obsession - that his causing suffering is the only way that he can show others that he is suffering. Where that gets weird is that all of the characters are suffering on their own without these events transpiring because of Heathcliff, but he is able to take advantage of these in many ways to exact his revenge. Finally, forgiveness and recognition of how one has hurt someone else is really important as well. Two central scenes where this is important is when Catherine reveals to Nelly that she loves Heathcliff but is settling for Edgar, but Heathcliff overhears it. Another is when Catherine is dying and they blame one another for their current circumstances. This cycle of blame and repression can only have ended in people needing to forgive others (and themselves) and makes it very true to real life humanity (albeit not so blown out of proportion).

The supernatural is also important to the story, and whether or not one has the ability to haunt one from the grave after they die. This is something I have never seen done well in any of the movies, but would be difficult to pull off and not seem campy. In the book, ghosts, the dead, the afterlife, suffering in one's mortal shell, and religious obligation are all important.

The story is also about love and family, but in a complicated way. It is clear that being blind to dysfunction in the midst of what one considers normalcy is a central concept to this book (and real life).  

I hope this has pointed you in the right direction. I think in terms of what you suggested in your question, the comment about Heathcliff is spot on. It is clear that Catherine loves him - she says so ("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, any more than I am always a pleasure to myself, but as my own being."), but she seems to think that she can have her marriage to Edgar and then have a hot and loving relationship with Heathcliff on the side. But she can't, and this is what drives Heathcliff mad.

If you have any further questions or need clarification, don't hesitate to ask. Read the book, though!  It is certainly one of my top five favorites of all time, and is definitely worth reading.



All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts




As an instructor of literature and the humanities, my experience is as broad as the experience I have gained in the classroom. As a published author and journalist, I have first hand industry experience. Between the two, I have the experience, knowledge, and research experience that could certainly answer any questions that may be asked of me.


Quite specifically, as an instructor I am an extremely well qualified candidate as an initial resource as well as a person who knows specifically where to gather the correct information at any given time. As a published journalist and novelist, my experience broadens into the fundimental understanding of the craft and its application and business. I was also previously an AllExperts expert several years ago, and was well received by all who I helped.

Sigma Tau Delta, the International English Honor Society.

There are a tremendous amount of publications my work has appeared in and I can't list them all because of space constraints. Many newspapers, radio, and PBS programming. Also, many literary journals for both fiction and nonfiction academic work.

A.S. Wentworth Institute Of Technology
B.S. Fitchburg State College
M.A. Fitchburg State College, Thesis "The Modern Twain Epoch"

Awards and Honors
Magna Cum Laude.

©2017 All rights reserved.