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I am working on my English presentation for Wuthering Heights the novel. I have to create and present a comparison between a theme from Wutering Heights and a contemporary issue. For example, if the novel deals with the topic of alienation it could be compared to the issue of bullying etc...

What do you think my theme and contemporary issue should be? Please help me with this.

Thanks a lot!

  • English -


    Read through the Themes section here and see what you think.

    Let us know what you decide.

  • english -

    if I chose the theme of doubles what would be my contemporary issue please help me with at least this thing because I really don't know.

    I really like your ideas...please help me

  • english -

    Doubles, here, is listed under Motifs, not Themes.

    Here's another lit website that has additional themes identified:

    Love and Passion
    Passion, particularly unnatural passion, is a predominant theme of Wuthering Heights. The first Catherine's devotion to Heathcliff is immediate and absolute, though she will not marry him, because to do so would degrade her. "Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same, and Linton's is as different as a moonbeam from lightning, or frost from fire." Although there has been at least one Freudian interpretation of the text, the nature of the passion between Catherine and Heathcliff does not appear to be based on sex. David Daiches writes, "Ultimate passion is for her rather a kind of recognition of one's self—one's true and absolute self—in the object of passion." Catherine's passion is contrasted to the coolness of Linton, whose "cold blood cannot be worked into a fever." When he retreats into his library, she explodes, "What in the name of all that feels, has he to do with books, when I am dying?"

    Heathcliff's devotion to Catherine, on the other hand, is ferocious, and when frustrated, he conceives a plan of revenge of enormous proportions Catherine's brother Hindley shares her passionate nature, though he devotes most of his energies to degrading Heathcliff. In some respects the passion that Catherine and Heathcliff share is so pure that it approaches a kind of spirituality. "I cannot express it," says Catherine, "but surely you and everybody have a notion that there is, or should be an existence of yours beyond you." In the characters of Heathcliff and Hindley, who both feel slighted in love, Bronte draws a parallel between the need for love and the strength of revenge.

    Violence and Cruelty
    Closely tied to the theme of revenge, but sometimes independent of it, are themes of cruelty and sadism, which are a recurring motif throughout the novel. Cruelty can be manifested emotionally, as in Mr. Earnshaw's disdain for his natural-born son, or in the first Catherine's apparent rejection of Heathcliff in favor of Edgar. The characters are given to physical cruelty as well. "Terror made me cruel," says Lockwood at the outset of the story, and proceeds to rub the wrists of the ghost Catherine against a broken windowpane in an effort to free himself from her grasp. Hindley torments Heathcliff, as Heathcliff will later torment Hareton. And although he has no affection for her, Heathcliff marries Isabella and then treats her so badly that she asks Nelly whether he is a devil. Sadism is also a recurring thematic element. Heathcliff tries to strangle Isabella's dog, and Hareton hangs a litter of puppies from the back of a chair. The first Catherine's early refusal of Heathcliff has elements of masochism (self-abuse) in it, as does her letting him back into her life, since her divided heart will eventually kill her.

    Class Conflict
    To the characters of Wuthering Heights, property ownership and social standing are inextricable. The Earnshaws and the Lintons both own estates, whereas Heathcliff is a foundling and has nothing. The first Catherine plans to marry Linton to use her husband's money to raise Heathcliff's social standing, thus freeing him from Hindley's domination. Her plan is foiled when Heathcliff disappears after hearing Catherine say that to marry him would degrade her. When he returns, he exerts great efforts to do people out of their property: first Hindley, then Isabella, then the second Catherine Linton. He takes revenge on Hareton by ensuring that the boy is raised in ignorance, with loutish manners, so that he will never escape his station. The story comes full cycle when Catherine Linton teaches Hareton to read, thus winning his love. The understanding at the end of the novel is that the couple will move to Thrushcross Grange.

    "Wuthering" is a Yorkshire term for roaring of the wind, and themes of nature, both human and nonhuman, are closely associated with violence throughout the story. The local landscape is as storm-tossed as are the hearts of the inhabitants of Wuthering Heights; cycles of births and deaths occur as relentlessly as the cycles of the seasons. The characters feel themselves so intrinsically a part of their environment that the first Catherine compares her love for Edgar to "foliage in the woods," and that for Heathcliff to "the eternal rocks beneath." In detailing his plan to debase Hareton, Heathcliff says, "We will see if one tree will not grow as crooked as another, with the same wind to twist it!" The novel opens with a snowstorm, and ends with the flowering of spring, mirroring the passions that fuel the drama and the peace that follows its resolution.

    There are many references in the novel to the supernatural, and even when the references seem fairly literal, the characters do not seem to think them odd. When Lockwood first arrives, he encounters the ghost of the first Catherine Linton, and his telling of the event to Heathcliff arouses not disbelief but a strange passion. The bond between the first Catherine and Heathcliff is itself superhuman, and after she dies, Heathcliff implores her spirit, "I pray one prayer—I repeat it till my tongue stiffens—Catherine Earnshaw, may you not rest, as long as I am living! You said I killed you—haunt me then!" At Edgar Linton's death, Heathcliff persuades the gravedigger to open Catherine's coffin, and later confesses to Nelly that he has been haunted by Catherine's spirit for eighteen years. At the end of the novel, after Heathchff's death, Nelly reports to Lockwood a child's claim that he has seen Heathcliff and a woman walking on the moors.

  • english -

    Ok then I choose revenge...what should my contemporary issue be?

  • english -

    Can you think of any person or group in our world today who is out for revenge? Personally, politically, or in any other way that is similar to what is happening in this novel?

  • english -

    revenge for love I don't really know but the contemporary issue should be like alienation and bullyin... so for revenge what would it be...

    I really cant think of one that is why I am asking you.

  • english -

    Sometimes there are people who act in retaliation to something they think was done to them ... and others who act in retaliation to something that was actually done to them.

    Can you think of a case of bullying, for example, in which the person bullied reacted in a vengeful way.

    If you can't think of something for this theme, then choose another.

  • english -

    can u think of one for revenge..if so please tell me because I really like this theme thx for providing me with this theme

  • english -



    Again, if nothing jumps out at you or you cannot think of something on your own, choose a different theme.

  • english -

    would politics work as the contemporary issue? how can I compare them though

  • english -

    It could.

    You could use the current investigation into IRS practices regarding granting tax-exempt status in two ways:

    Democrats, out for revenge against Republican political groups wanting tax-exempt status


    Republicans, out for revenge against Democrats who seem to have been biased in granting or not granting tax-exempt status.

    Note that either position above can be completely explained or rationalized.

  • english -

    can you give me a site with this information please. by the way I am in grade 11.

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