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Review Sheet for Wuthering Heights

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Review Sheet for Wuthering Heights

1. What techniques are used in the characterization of Heathcliff? Effects?

Heathcliff is associated with evil and darkness from the beginning of the novel. “I felt his black eyes withdraw so suspiciously under their brows.” (1) When Lockwood sees Heathcliff’s garden (perhaps a symbol for Heathcliff) “the earth was hard with a black frost…the air made me shiver through every limb.” (6)

When we see Heathcliff when he is first brought into the Earnshaw household, he is immediately associated with evil, “though its as dark almost as if it came from the devil.” (32) Mrs. Earnshaw gives orders to “wash IT and let IT sleep with the children.” (32) The Earnshaws do not seem to consider Heathcliff human. When he is introduced to the family, the children learn that Mr. Earnshaw lost their gifts in order to bring Heathcliff home. This leaves a bad taste in Hindley’s mouth that will not go away. “Cathy, when she learnt the master had lost her whip in attending on the stranger, she showed her humour by grinning and spitting at the little thing.” (33)

Nelly says, “So, from the very beginning he bred bad feeling in the house; and at Mrs. Earnshaw’s death, which happened in less than two years after, the young master had learnt to regard his father as an oppressor rather than a friend, and Heathcliff as a usurper of his father’s affections and his privileges, and he grew bitter with brooding over these injuries.” (34) From the first time Heathcliff is introduced, he is associated with darkness and never grows out of it. This constant association with evil and darkness makes him appear evil even though we have some sympathy for him.

2. Show an understanding of why point of view is a crucial technique to understand in this work. Include an awareness of the ideas in the Carol Jacob’s essay “Wuthering Heights: At the Threshold of Interpretation.”

Point of view is an important aspect of every novel. It can be argued that point of view in Wuthering Heights affects the entire story. The novel is told primarily through two narrators.

Lockwood, the first narrator, tells events through a distorted perspective. He tries to rationalize anything that happens to him. Lockwood is very optimistic and tries to find a positive interpretation for everything. As Carol Jacob quotes, "Dree, and dreary! I reflected…and not exactly of the kind which I should have chosen to amuse me. But never mind! I'll extract wholesome medicines from Mrs. Dean's bitter herbs." To make matters worse, he is vain, he often makes mistakes, it is very hard to trust his narrations and interpretations. The reader may not know the truth about many places in the novel, specifically in the ghost scene

Nelly Dean is the other narrator in Wuthering Heights. Her narration also must be judged, not only does she have her own weaknesses as a narrator, but it is also reported in Lockwood’s journal. Thus, not only do we have Nelly’s biases, but we also have Lockwood’s interpretation in Nelly’s narration, (Chinese box). She is a very biased person and this affects the reader’s perception of things greatly. For example, she constantly refers to Heathcliff as “the devil” which causes Heathcliff to appear evil in the eyes of the readers. Also, she constantly overlooks her own mistakes. Moreover, our image of Catharine is skewed due to the fact that Nelly is jealous of her beauty and wealth, and treats her as a child. At Cathy’s death, Nelly says, "Her brow smooth,

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