Emily Bronte (1818-1848) published her acclaimed novel Wuthering Heights (1847) under the pseudonym Ellis Bell. In spite of some of the scenes of romantic mush, the novel is a violent tale of revenge in which the protagonists are determined by their consuming passions. The guiding passion in the novel is the gathering of wealth as a means to regain a lost love. For novelists who are interested in setting, the moors of northern England provided an animated panoramic view.
Heathcliff, is a swarthy, violent, passionate, and ill-natured man. Being an unwanted foundling in the Earnshaw household, he is subjected to cruel and humiliating treatment by Hindley Earnshaw—his chief tormentor. Unforgiving, vengeful, and violent, Heathcliff lives for the day when can bring retribution upon his nemesis. His character develops from anger to ire, from ire to rage, and from rage to demonic wrath. Not even his love for Catherine —Hindley’s sister— can assuage his violent temper. That inhuman desire for revenge consumes his life, so that in the end he dies devoid of any trace of human feeling.
Catherine Earnshaw, is the sister Hindley, and later wife of Edgar Linton and the mother of young Cathy Linton. Catherine is portrayed as selfish, wild, sensuous, and of devilish ways. While her brother Hindley hated Heathcliff, she developed an exaggerated romantic relationship him. Yet, she rejected him, fearing that a marriage to him would not only demean her, but also destroy their romantic attachment. When Edgar Linton proposes to her, she readily accepts him. But marriage doesn’t erase her deep love for Heathcliff, though she seems to be fairly happy in it; that is, until Heathcliff leaves to hide his shame and seek his fortune. With her childhood friend gone, she becomes irascible, dispirited, and sullen; a situation that improves only when Heathcliff returns as a changed man. The tormented couple —Heathcliff and Catherine— exhibit an unusual, almost inhuman uncontrollable passion for each other, a passion that only ends when Catherine dies in childbirth.
Hindley Earnshaw is the brother of Catherine Earnshaw, the husband of Frances, and father of Hareton Earnshaw. When unexpectedly his father brings the orphan Heathcliff to live with them, he develops an intense jealousy and hatred for the dark-looking, gypsy-looking boy. That hatred causes him to abuse the boy not only in words buy also physically. After the death of Frances —his wife— Hindley starts to drink, dying debt-ridden, humiliated, and degraded, victim of Heathcliff's vengeful schemes.
Edgar Linton, is the husband of Catherine and father of Cathy. A refined, well-read man, he truly loves Catherine and makes her happy; that is until Heathcliff returns to Wuthering Heights. He is a level-headed man, patient, proud, and protective of both his wife Catherine and his daughter Cathy.
Cathy Linton, the daughter of Edgar and Catherine Linton. A bright, kind-hearted girl, she pities Linton (Heathcliff’s son), and yielding to Heathcliff’s machinations, she marries Linton, only to see him die within two years. In the end she finds happiness with Hareton Earnshaw.
Hareton Earnshaw, the son of Hindley and Frances and the object of Heathcliff's revenge against Hindley. Under Heathcliff's constant abuse, Hareton becomes a crude, gross, wild young man. After Heathcliff's death, Cathy rescues him and eventually the two fall in love and marry.
Linton Heathcliff, the son of Heathcliff and Isabella and the husband of Cathy Linton. Spoiled, weak, and sickly he moves to Wuthering Heights after his mother’s death. Soon he becomes the target of his father’s violent outbursts. His marriage to Cathy Linton accelerates his death.
Isabella Linton, is the sister of Edgar. As a child of privilege and a spoiled upbringing, she becomes attracted to the dark-looking mysterious Heathcliff. Disregarding all warnings, advice, and opposition from her family she elopes with Heathcliff, marries him, and later has a son —Linton— by him. Disappointed in her marriage, she leaves Heathcliff, taking Linton with her.
Frances Earnshaw, is the wife of Hindley; she dies of consumption.
Mr. Earnshaw, is the father of Catherine and Hindley. In one of his trips to Liverpool he finds the foundling Heathcliff whom he brings to Wuthering Heights to raise as his own child and as a companion to the siblings Cathy and Hindley.
Mrs. Earnshaw, is Mr. Earnshaw’s wife.
Mrs. Ellen Dean, is the housekeeper; called Nelly for short. Initially she tells Heathcliff's story to Mr. Lockwood. Having been a faithful servant in the household at Wuthering Heights, she follows Catherine to Thrushcross Grange when Cathy marries Edgar Linton. Years later after Heathcliff buys Wuthering Heights, she returns to work for him as the housekeeper of Wuthering Heights once again. Much of the fiery passions and violent events that occur in Wuthering Heights are filtered through her eyes.
Mr. Lockwood, is the first narrator of the novel. After he becomes Heathcliff's tenant, he also becomes interested in the landlord's life as he hears Mrs. Dean recount the stories of the Earnshaw and Linton families.
Joseph, is a choleric servant at Wuthering Heights who is always making gloomy predictions about other people and chastising and punishing them for their —in his view— ill, impious behavior.
Zillah, is a servant at Wuthering Heights.
Mr. Green and Mr. Kenneth, attorneys in Girnmerton, a neighboring village.
To become a writer I write essays every day. Since English is my second language, in writing essays I consult Mary Duffy's Sentence Openers. When I write fiction --or fiction writing of novels and short stories-- I consult Toolbox for Writers.