As some of you know, I have had the pleasure of reading "Wuthering Heights" three times. In the upcoming semester, I will be reading the novel for a fourth time (because I have apparently not already endured enough of Heathcliff's angst) in a British literature class.
That being said, I would like to use this power for good. As your favorite English major, I have taken it upon myself to create a little summary of all the main events in Emily Bronte's classic novel.
Am I saying you should skip the book and just read this? NO! However... I know 90 percent of you will just be reading SparkNotes anyway, so I thought it would be best if I stepped in and covered a few more basics. Enjoy!
Side note: I will not talk about Joseph in this article because everything that comes out of his mouth makes me angry and nothing he does makes sense. If you can translate what he says, then have fun with it! As for everyone else, enjoy my summary of him as represented by the Swedish Chef from The Muppets.
Alright, so first, we have Lockwood. He is the first narrator. While on vacation to recover from a romantic rejection, he has stumbled into this creepy house with a bunch of creepy people in the middle of creepy nowhere.
Here, he meets our main character, Heathcliff (like an '80s pop diva, he has no last name.) Everyone is a jerk, especially Heathcliff (the creepiest of the creepy creeps,) and Lockwood has a pretty big crush on his daughter-in-law, Cathy (even though she's kind of insane.)
Lockwood goes back to his place and is told to never return again, but of course, he returns again. While back at Wuthering Heights (the home of the creeps,) Lockwood gets bitten by a dog, cries about it, and recovers in the one part of the house Heathcliff told him not to go. Sound familiar?
There, he spends his time reading some girl's diary (Catherine - hmmm, wonder who she could be related to?) and falls asleep, only to have a nightmare (or was it?) about a ghost named Catherine banging on the window for him to let her in. Lockwood then "wakes up" and Heathcliff finds him. He should be pretty mad in my opinion, but instead, he decides to take a few laps around the room while calling out to the ghost lady.
Now, Lockwood is still recovering, but he's gone back to his place, Thrushcross Grange. Here, his maid, Nelly (the worst gossip in the entire world,) gives him all the dirt on Heathcliff. From here, Nelly takes over the narration. It's a story within a story deal ("frame narrative" for when your professor asks.)
Now, I don't wanna say Nelly spills all the tea, but she definitely ain't serving it very well. She gives Lockwood ALL the details.
Heathcliff was apparently brought to Wuthering Heights by Mr. Earnshaw, father of Catherine and Hindley Earnshaw. Mr. Earnshaw so kindly adopted him out of the goodness of his heart to be a part of his family... Haha! Nope. I can't even type it with a straight face. Heathcliff is most likely Earnshaw's illegitimate child, conceived during one of Earnshaw's "business trips."
I told you there was tea!
Anyways, so Earnshaw's bratty kids cannot stand Heathcliff, but eventually, Catherine starts liking him, and a few years later, she thinks their souls are like the same thing or something. It's all pretty soap-opera-like if you ask me.
Speaking of soap operas, there's another guy introduced to complete the love triangle, the boy-next-door, Edgar Linton. This guy (think of Prince Charming from "Shrek") steals Catherine's heart with his societal rank and tremendous wealth. Love might be in there somewhere, but I doubt it. The two get married, much to Heathcliff's dismay, and settle down in Thrushcross Grange (the house Lockwood now occupies with only the moors to separate it from the Heights.)
With love - well, marriage - in the air, Heathcliff decides to get out of there. He goes off to - um, actually, we don't really know where he went off to, but he made some money along the way (my favorite theory is that he jumped in front of an expensive carriage and then sued.)
Upon returning, he takes his residence back up at Wuthering Heights alongside Hindley (Catherine's brother) and his son, Hareton (whose mother was Frances, a character we know nothing about other than how she didn't like Heathcliff and died in childbirth.)
While he's in town, he decides to go catch up with his old pal, Catherine. The two rekindle a small flame, and then Heathcliff marries her sister-in-law, Isabella Linton, whom he absolutely does not like. But anything for a family name, am I right?
The two are unhappily married. Heathcliff kills her dog. Isabella runs out. Hindley dies. Heathcliff now has guardianship over Wuthering Heights and Hareton Earnshaw.
Oh, and he's not done with Catherine yet.
He goes to visit her one more time. They kiss. She goes absolutely bonkers and dies promptly after giving birth to her and Edgar's daughter, appropriately named Catherine because Emily Bronte lives to confuse her readers in all ways possible.
And in comes the second generation of this messed-up neighborhood. In the spirit of "One Tree Hill," these kids are just as overly dramatic as their parents.
Catherine 2.0, often referred to as Cathy (because that's less confusing,) is forbidden by her father from traveling to the mysterious Wuthering Heights. Naturally, in her mother's fashion, she makes it her life's mission to do just that.
This is where the soap opera really gets heated. Cathy meets Heathcliff, who is disappointed that she looks more like her father than her mother (Edgar wasn't exactly the next Bachelor, if you know what I mean,) and he takes her over to the Heights where she meets his son he recently gained guardianship over when Isabella died, Linton (another name that confuses every single literature student in existence,) and her other cousin, Hareton. Before long, Heathcliff does what he does best, ruins everyone's lives.
Edgar is soon on his death bed when Cathy is kidnapped at the Heights and can only leave if she marries Linton. She does so, says a sad farewell to her father, and goes back to the Heights. Linton dies, and then Cathy trades out one cousin for another, Hareton (a barbaric teenage boy who can't even read.)
This is the end of Nelly's narrative for the time being as Lockwood prepares to go home. But this man cannot get enough of this family's drama! Within no time, he is back to hear more, and my girl Nelly has some piping hot tea to serve up!
Heathcliff quickly went crazy once he realized Hareton and Cathy had hit it off. I can't blame him. I don't want to see those cousins together either. His eventual death leaves simpler times for Hareton and Cathy to be together at Wuthering Heights.
After one more attempt from Lockwood to swoon Cathy, that conceited little jerk, he bids his farewells and makes a snide remark about the ghosts of all the dead characters haunting the moors.
Talk about not handling rejection well...