“I am Heathcliff,” the willful Cathy declares, but then she marries somebody else, the rich and weak Edgar Linton, then owner of Thrushcross Grange. Heathcliff flees and returns years later, intent on revenge and ruining everybody and taking their money. Cathy dies in childbirth, and Heathcliff calls down a curse, demanding that she haunt him forever. It’s wild, gothic stuff, but there’s much more going on. “Wuthering Heights,” as Joyce Carol Oates has pointed out, is a parable of innocence and loss, of “childhood’s necessary defeat.” But it presents too a contrasting tale, a story of education, maturing and affection — that happens in the novel’s present-day frame — observed by Lockwood and the glowering Heathcliff. This second romance, between Cathy’s daughter and the grandson of Heathcliff’s foster-father, thought by some critics and many readers to be but a pale reflection of what has gone before, is essential to the novel’s conception. Escape from family doom is possible, Brontë suggests, even though the shadow of that doom will always linger, out there on the moor.
more from Richard Rayner at the LA Times here.