A Student's Guide to Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte is a general introduction to one of the great English novels of the nineteenth century. Misunderstood by most critics and commentators upon its publication in 1847, the story of Catherine and Heathcliff and their peers and descendants slowly became recognized as the work of a genius and is now on nearly every list of recommended books for both high school and college students. However, many students today find the novel difficult to read and understand because of its language and its setting; especially challenging to some are the sections in which characters speak in the Yorkshire dialect. This guide provides an easy-to-use glossary of that dialect and translations of the dialogue. It also includes discussions of the social, economic, and political background of the period (the last part of the eighteenth and the first part of the nineteenth centuries).
Combined with a thorough coverage of language and background, this guide offers a list of questions about the reading that are intended to lead the students to independent thinking about the work. Unlike some better-known guides, this text contains no detailed summary of parts of the novel. Students must read chapters of the novel itself in order to answer the questions. In a few instances, readers must go outside Wuthering Heights to answer a question; that is, some basic research is required. In addition, the appendices contain materials intended to enrich the novel and to deepen the appreciation of each student for this outstanding work. It is the desire of the author to make Wuthering Heights more readily accessible to students and at the same time to challenge them to engage in independent critical reading.