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Wuthering Heights

Wuthering Heights

by Emily Brontë

Analysis: Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis

Christopher Booker is a scholar who wrote that every story falls into one of seven basic plot structures: Overcoming the Monster, Rags to Riches, the Quest, Voyage and Return, Comedy, Tragedy, and Rebirth. Shmoop explores which of these structures fits this story like Cinderella’s slipper.

Plot Type : Rags to Riches

Initial Wretchedness at Home and the "Call"

Though he has a house, a roof over his head, Heathcliff has no sense of home.

Wuthering Heights is a variation on the Rags to Riches plotline. Heathcliff is (supposedly) an orphan who is brought into the home where he experiences abuse and neglect. Though Mr. Earnshaw loves him (too much, it seems), his new brother Hindley is deeply envious and sets out to make Heathcliff miserable. Rather than running away and losing the one home he has, Heathcliff bonds with Catherine, and together they find comfort and respite in the moors.

Out into the World, Initial Success

If you can't have love, money and revenge are second best.

When Heathcliff loses Catherine to Edgar, he leaves Yorkshire. He possibly goes into the army or travels to America – no one knows for sure. What's important is that he returns with money, and this initial financial gain sets him up to accumulate more.

The Central Crisis

What's it all for?

All the money in the world can't win Catherine – or keep her alive. So when he loses the one person he loves (and who loves him), Heathcliff can only think about punishing Hindley and Edgar Linton and taking possession of the two houses.

Independence and the Final Ordeal

Vengeance is exhausting.

We finally see the depths of Heathcliff's cruelty as he sacrifices his own son's health and happiness in the service of his revenge. Then suddenly, he loses interest in sadism and begins to show some vulnerability and decency.

Final Union, Completion, and Fulfillment

You can rest when you're dead. Or can you?

In death, Heathcliff finally gets what he wants – a reunion with his beloved Catherine. Brontë suggests that they will haunt the moors together, enjoying the countryside that provided such a source of tranquility and strength for them as children.

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