Significance of Names in Wuthering Heights

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

One of the ways that Emily Bronte make characterizations in ''Wuthering Heights'' is through her use of names. In this lesson, we will learn more about how the names are used in this novel, and how they reveal something about the characters.


Were you confused by Emily Bronte's use of names in Wuthering Heights? You aren't alone if you wonder why she uses the same names over and over again. Bronte did not just run out of ideas, she purposely repeats names as one of her characterization strategies. Characterizations describe characters by focusing on their idiosyncrasies. The residents of both Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange have a lot of those, as we'll see!

The Earnshaws

After the parents, Mr. and Mrs. Earnshaw, die and leave behind Hindley, Catherine, and their adopted son, Heathcliff, Wuthering Heights begins its descent into the unbridled, vicious dwelling that it is destined to become. The Earnshaw's are abusive, tormented, unrefined, and emotional. They also tend to be attractive and free-spirited, which draws the Lintons to them.

The Lintons

At the beginning of the story, the Lintons, which consist of Mr. and Mrs. Linton, Edgar, and Isabella, are the upper class. The Lintons live in Thrushcross Grange where they are well-respected and wealthy. The Lintons are well-mannered, but weak. They are intrigued by the Earnshaws and willing to bring in Catherine so they can teach her social graces.

The Mix

Once the Earnshaws and the Lintons begin to intermarry and have children, the relationships and the names become much more complicated.

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