Appropriateness of Title of The Novel Wuthering Heights

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Its Meaning

      In the first chapter when Mr. Heathcliff's new tenant Mr. Lockwood of Thrushcross Grange rides a distance of four miles to see his landlord, we are told: "Wuthering Heights is the name of Mr. Heathcliff's dwelling, Wuthering being a significant provincial adjective descriptive of the atmospheric tumult to which its station is exposed in stormy weather."

      Thus, the house is so named as it is exposed to snow, storms and roaring winds. The Chamber's Twentieth-century Dictionary gives the meaning of Wuthering as "To make a sullen roaring, as the wind".

The Significance of the Title

      The title refers to the principal scene of action in the novel. Most of the incidents of the novel occur at Wuthering Heights. Heathcliff is brought to the Heights from Liverpool by Mr. Earnshaw, the old master. Hindley, Heathcliff and Catherine, all grew up at the Heights. It is at the Heights that Heathcliff having been persistently ill-treated by Hindley becomes his inveterate enemy and swears revenge on him. So, the foundation on which is built the subsequent structure of the story is laid at Wuthering Heights. It is a story of love and revenge, and the first phase of love between the hero and the heroine is developed at the Heights. Likewise, it is at the Heights that the hostility between Heathcliff and Hindley is formed, so that the former decides to take revenge on the latter for the wrong done to him.

Wuthering Heights: Witness to Both Prosperity and Ruin of Earnshaw Family

      After three year's absence from the Heights, Heathcliff returns to the Heights again, and it is there that he works out his plan of revenge on Hindley. The Heights witnesses both the prosperity and the ruin of the Earnshaw family. Hindley is reduced to an abject, miserable state at the Heights and it is there that he dies. After marrying Isabella, Heathcliff brings her to live at the Heights. Likewise, the younger Catherine is brought to the Heights to marry Linton Heathcliff, and after her father's death she is made to live at the Heights till the end of the story. The hero, Heathcliff, lives and dies at the Heights, and it is there that he is spiritually united with his beloved, Catherine. The ghosts of the lover and the beloved reside in their final union at the Heights while Hareton and the younger Catherine go to live at the Grange. So most of the events in the novel occur at Wuthering Heights, which is the principal scene of action in the story. Only three important events occur at the Grange, viz. death of Catherine, elopement Isabella and death of Edgar Linton.

Catherine's Attachment to the House

      The characters are deeply, almost inseparably, attached to the Heights, particularly Catherine. In a scene in the novel, she tells Nelly that she once dreamt that she was in heaven and was miserable because heaven was not the Heights. Heaven was not my home "she said, and I broke my heart with weeping to come back to earth: and the angels were so angry that they flung me out into the middle of Wuthering Heights: where I woke sobbing for joy".

Its Dominant Position in the Novel

      The hard winds blowing around Wuthering Heights are in consonance with the stormy and violent nature of the hero and the heroine. The children of storm in the novel dominate the children of calm, or in other words, Wuthering Heights dominates the Grange. Heathcliff becomes the master of the Heights, and afterward becomes master of the Grange also. The inhabitants of the Grange are under his full control, and he can do with them whatever he likes. Hence Wuthering Heights with Heathcliff as its master has a dominant position in the novel.


      The story begins and ends at Wuthering Heights. In the opening scene, Mr. Lockwood visits Heathcliff at the Heights, and towards the end he visits the Heathcliff again to find that Heathcliff is dead, and that the younger Catherine and Hareton are about to be married. Comparatively more scenes are laid at the Heights than at the Grange. Hence it is quite appropriate to call the novel Wuthering Heights.

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