Figure 38: Essay Excerpt on Nelly and Catherine, Wuthering Heights

Below is an excerpt that falls under the comment “Points Don’t Connect.”

You may access the comment by clicking on the “P” category or by typing the title into the search box.

You may print the excerpt for class discussions.

Sample Excerpt

Nelly’s guesses about Catherine leave a lot of unanswered questions.  Both Nelly’s and Catherine’s vision of the afterlife are contrary.  Nelly wonders where Catherine is (after death), but then concludes that the latter is at peace, where God holds her spirit in a life of no bounds and love coupled with sympathy and joy to the fullest.  The narrator asserts that the body of Catherine is in tranquility.  But Nelly misquotes Catherine’s vision.  The reader remembers the words of Catherine such as “ ‘ . . . incomparably beyond, and above us all,’ and these lead her [Nelly] to the conclusion that her ‘spirit is at home with God.’  However, we remember Cathy’s vision of the afterlife was ambiguous. She desired escape into that glorious world, but claimed that she would ‘not be at peace’ until Heathcliff joined her in death” (Marsh 16).

Figure 38: Essay Excerpt on Nelly and Catherine, Wuthering Heights

Questions

Here are some questions to consider regarding this excerpt.

1) What is the connection between Nelly and Catherine? Who is Nelly to Catherine? Who is Catherine to Nelly? Why does the author group them together?

2) What is Nelly’s vision of the afterlife? What is Catherine’s vision of the afterlife? How can two visions be contrary one to the other? How does the text juxtapose their visions? In what context is there present this type of juxtaposition?

3) Do their visions of the afterlife represent their belief systems or did they just have a vision of the afterlife?

4) How does “God” figure into their visions of the afterlife? Does their belief in God or their reference to God connect Nelly and Catherine in any way?

5) Who is the narrator? What function does the narrator have in Nelly’s relationship to Catherine? What function does the narrator have in Catherine’s relationship to Nelly? Is the narrator a silent observer or is the narrator a character in the story?

6) Is the reader a character in the story or is the reader a silent observer? What is the connection between the reader and the narrator? What are their roles? What is the link between them both?

7) Who is Heathcliff? What is his connection to Nelly? What is his connection to Catherine? What is his connection to both Nelly’s and Catherine’s vision of the afterlife? Does Heathcliff have a vision of the afterlife? If so, is his vision different from both Nelly’s and Catherine’s vision?

Copyright 2011 Regina Y. Favors. All Rights Reserved.

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