Here are the answers to the quiz. How did you do?
1. Parts of the story are told by Catherine and Isabella. We learn a lot about the childhood of Catherine and Heathcliff through the entries that Catherine has made in the margins of books that Lockwood comes across in the alcove bed. Isabella’s experiences as a newlywed at Wuthering Heights are recounted by her to Nelly in a letter. By the way, the scenes depicted in Isabella’s letter of her meeting and dealing with Joseph are among my favorite in the entire book. Bronte must have really amused herself writing those pages.
2. If Catherine were roaming the moors as a ghost, she would have been a woman, not a child. Bronte lore has it that the scene of a waif at the window was inspired by a dream of Branwell Bronte (Emily’s brother) of their deceased sister, Maria, at his window. Maria had died twenty years before, hence the wailing at the window “let me in . . . I’ve been a waif for twenty years.”
3. Twelve characters die, if one includes the infant child who was named Heathcliff Earnshaw and after whom the foundling boy is named. Twelve is a number symbolic of death; there are twelve hours in a day and twelve months in a year. Bronte repeatedly uses the number in the novel in scenes of death, as well as the number two, which I have surmised was her personal numeric symbol of death. For more, read “ ‘The Awful Event’ in Wuthering Heights, Bronte Studies, v. 33, part 3 November 2008.
4. Francis Earnshaw, Edgar Linton, Linton Heathcliff.
5. Hareton Earnshaw, whom Heathcliff has debased and impoverished, loves him nonetheless as a father because he formed an attachment to Heathcliff in childhood. Joseph falls on his knees in joy and jubilation that the evil usurper of the Earnshaw family has died.
6. This poem might at first appear to be a love poem, a “let’s get back together” appeal from a jilted lover. With Heathcliff in mind, the poem bespeaks the anguish of a mourner. The parallels between Heathcliff and the narrator of the poem appear in the word “idol,” which Nelly Dean calls Catherine with regard to Heathcliff’s attachment to her. Also, being despised by the world and repelled by heaven describe Heathcliff, and of course the deep torment expressed in the poem also mirrors his emotion. Heathcliff is determined throughout the second half of the book to regain Catherine–he is certain, particularly at the end that he will “have his heaven.” He does once physically rejoin her when he has her body unearthed, and in the end with a smile on his face dies, believing he will at last have her again after death.