“It is as if [Brontë] could tear up all that we know human beings by, and fill these unrecognisable transparencies with such a gust of life that they transcend reality. Hers, then, is the rarest of all powers. She could free life from its dependence on facts; with a few touches indicate the spirit of a face so that it needs no body; by speaking of the moor make the wind blow and the thunder roar.” —Virginia Woolf
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About the Author
Deborah Lutz is the Thruston B. Morton Endowed Chair of English at the University of Louisville. She has published four books, most recently The Brontë Cabinet: Three Lives in Nine Objects and Relics of Death in Victorian Literature and Culture. She is the editor of the Norton Critical Editions of Jane Eyre and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and the recipient of an American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship and a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship.
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Excerpted from "Wuthering Heights"
Copyright © 2012 Emily Bronte.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Young Readers Group.
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Table of ContentsIntroduction
Note on the Text
A Chronology of Emily Brontë
Biographical Notice of Ellis and Acton Bell
Edito's Preface to the New Edition
Extract from the Prefatory Note to 'Selections from Poems by Ellis Bell'
Selected Poems by Emily Brontë
Reading Group Guide
1. To what extent do you think the setting of the novel contributes to, or informs, what takes place? Do you think the moors are a character in their own right? How do you interpret Bronte's view of nature and the landscape?
2. Discuss Emily Bronte's careful attention to a rigid timeline and the role of the novel as a sober historical document. How is this significant, particularly in light of the turbulent action within? What other contrasts within the novel strike you, and why? How are these contrasts important, and how do they play out in the novel?
3. Do you think the novel is a tale of redemption, despair, or both? Discuss the novel's meaning to you. Do you think the novel's moral content dictates one choice over the other?
4. Do you think Bronte succeeds in creating three-dimensional figures in
Heathcliff and Cathy, particularly given their larger-than-life metaphysical passion? Why or why not?
5. Discuss Bronte's use of twos: Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange; two families, each with two children; two couples (Catherine and Edgar, and Heathcliff and Isabella); two narrators; the doubling-up of names. What is Bronte's intention here? Discuss.
6. How do Mr. Lockwood and Nelly Dean influence the story as narrators? Do you think they are completely reliable observers? What does Bronte want us to believe?
7. Discuss the role of women in Wuthering Heights. Is their depiction typical of Bronte's time, or not? Do you think Bronte's characterizations of women mark her as a pioneer ahead of her time or not?
8. Who or what does Heathcliff represent in the novel? Is he a force of evil or a victim of it? How important is the role of class in the novel, particularly as it relates to Heathcliff and his life?