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Qwiz5 Quizbowl Essentials – Wuthering Heights

Wuthering Heights is the best-known work of English novelist Emily Brontë, and it is widely considered one of the greatest English-language novels of the 19th century. A classic work of Romanticism, Wuthering Heights blends elements of Gothic horror with keen social and psychological insight. The novel details the tumultuous relationship between two families, the Lintons and the Earnshaws, in the rural moors of West Yorkshire.

By analyzing questions, you can see patterns emerge, patterns that will help you answer questions. Qwiz5 is all about those patterns. In each installment of Qwiz5, we take an answer line and look at its five most common clues. Here we explore five clues that will help you answer a tossup on Wuthering Heights.


Wuthering Heights is narrated by Mr. Lockwood, a newcomer to the moors who is renting the Thrushcross Grange estate from a strange man known as Heathcliff. While visiting Wuthering Heights, Heathcliff’s home, he is caught in a snowstorm and forced to spend the night - much to the annoyance of Heathcliff. During his visit Lockwood is attacked by Heathcliff’s dogs: Wolf, Gnasher, and Skulker. Later that same night he has a terrifying vision of a ghost who grabs his arm and begs to be “let in.” Upon returning to Thrushcross Grange in great distress, Mr. Lockwood badgers his housekeeper, Nelly Dean, for details about Heathcliff and the history of Wuthering Heights. These details furnish the novel’s narrative.


Thrushcross Grange is an estate owned by Heathcliff, but it wasn’t always so. At one time the Linton family owned the estate. The Lintons are wealthy and spoil their two children, Edgar and Isabella. The spoiled Linton children attract the attention of the two children of a similar age at the neighboring estate of Wuthering Heights: Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff.


Catherine Earnshaw is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Earnshaw and sister to Hindley. Her father brings an orphan from Liverpool into their home. This orphan, Heathcliff, gradually becomes close friends with Catherine and then falls in love with her. Catherine reciprocates this love but believes she can’t marry Heathcliff due to his low social standing. She ends up marrying Edgar Linton instead, but she confesses to her servant at the time, Nelly Dean, that she still loves Heathcliff. Heathcliff, missing the declaration of love, leaves Wuthering Heights for three years, vowing revenge on all.


Heathcliff is the dark, brooding antihero at the heart of Wuthering Heights. Initially favored by the elder Mr. Earnshaw, Heathcliff’s fortunes change when his benefactor dies and Hindley Earnshaw inherits Wuthering Heights. When Heathcliff returns to Wuthering Heights he remembers the humiliations Hindley heaped on him. Heathcliff not only marries Isabella Linton in a bid to gain ownership of Thrushcross Grange, but he also sinks Hindley into gambling debts to take Wuthering Heights from him. Heathcliff has no love for Isabella, and their sickly son Linton is forced into a relationship with Catherine and Edgar’s daughter, Cathy. Heathcliff also treats Hindley’s son Hareton as a servant, refusing to teach him how to read.


All of these details are related to Mr. Lockwood via Nelly Dean. Nelly, the housekeeper, at Thrushcross Grange, knew Hindley, Catherine, and Heathcliff growing up. She serves as something of a moral center of the novel, in contrast to Heathcliff’s housekeeper Zillah. Nelly is the person who first finds out Heathcliff has died; he has starved himself to death in a bid to join Catherine in the afterlife. Nelly brings Hareton and Cathy Earnshaw back to Thrushcross Grange with her, where the two begin to develop their own relationship.


Quizbowl is about learning, not rote memorization, so we encourage you to use this as a springboard for further reading rather than as an endpoint. Here are a few things to check out:

  • To learn more about the desolate moors where the action of Wuthering Heights takes place, read this article.

  • Emily Brontë was notoriously reclusive and Wuthering Heights was the only novel she published in her lifetime. Nevertheless, the circumstances of her creative life have inspired a new film.

  • Heathcliff is considered an archetypal Byronic hero - a man who is extremely intelligent or perceptive, but highly arrogant and brooding as well. He is attractive and capable of great charm, but is also prone to acting on impulse. The Byronic hero is named for George Gordon, Lord Byron, who was famously described as “mad, bad, and dangerous to know.”

  • Catherine Earnshaw delivers one of the most famous speeches of the novel.

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