Essay-style Questions: Wuthering Heights

1. Consider whether 'Wuthering Heights' deteriorates as a novel after the death of Catherine.

Answer

This isn't a perfect answer, nor a particularly full one - take it as an approach
to adopt which offers some ideas.

Introduction:

Responds directly to the question.

Shows knowledge of the ways the second section of the novel might be
considered. Opens up the argument which will be developed without coming
to any conclusion.

The shifting emphasis from the older Catherine and Heathcliff's
relationship to the final union of the younger Cathy and Hareton has been
criticised.

Some might call it an anticlimax, whilst others might maintain it symbolises
the perfect union of two worlds' Christian conventionality with strong
passion.

The first section - character,
theme, style:

Introduce the main features of the first half of the novel

Explore the nature of the relationship which dominates the first section
of the novel

Provide a link with second half

It is the stormy northern climate, the violence and intensity
of Catherine and Heathcliff's passion and the bitter words spoken at
the 'deathbed scene' that profoundly affect the reader.

Their relationship has joined those of the legendary literary lovers....

Heathcliff, the archetypal Byronic hero dominates the novel....

The second section in
comparison:

Introduce the second thread of your argument, harking back to the question,
showing an ability to analyse.

Explain what this is, developing your argument

All other characters pale into insignificance beside the
tragic hero and heroine...

The relationship reaches its climax with Catherine's death, yet
this is also the start of much of the action which is played out in the
second half of the novel

Assess the relative strengths
of each:

Introduce the final strand which makes the links between both sections

Show how both sections connect and are mutually dependent....

...on two fronts

How can the novel fail to deteriorate when its focus shifts
from the wild surroundings of Wuthering Heights and the moors and the emotional
intensity of the older lovers to the fussy Thrushcross Grange, the precocious
child Cathy, the detestable Linton and the boorish Hareton?

Death can be the only solution for Catherine and Heathcliff. They look
to life after death to achieve their union. There is a strong supernatural
element throughout the novel and the sighting of their ghosts in the second
half of the novel is entirely satisfactory....

The situation is resolved perfectly on two fronts. Cathy regrets her
snobbish treatment of her cousin and is rewarded with a life of love and
purpose, whilst Hareton takes up his rightful position as head of the
ancient Earnshaw family...

Conclusion:

Look again at the introduction and close the argument you opened.

Throw in a little extra to spark things up a little

The second part of the novel lacks the passion of the first,
but this kind of intensity ought not to be sustained throughout to be effective.
We need a contrast for it and this is provided by the younger generation.

Heathcliff's revenge plan, which gives the second part of the novel
much of its pace and direction, is ultimately a failure; yet he achieves
a perfect union with Catherine. Moreover Cathy and Hareton's love
unites the best qualities of both households...

It is the perfect conclusion to the tale.