Although Catherine’s ghost may seem extraordinary, the premise of the story is entirely realistic.
Kettle argues that “Wuthering Heights is about England in 1847,” because the setting, language, interests, and values depicted in the novel are accurate to the time and setting of the novel (161).
Even though Lockwood, and to some extent Nellie, are uncomfortable talking about supernatural events, they feel it is their duty to tell the entire story regardless of its plausibility.
Smajic writes that holders of the “fixed, stable narrative point of view,” are in a double bind when presenting the supernatural to their audience, since they must deal with the “instinctive faith in the evidence of one’s sight and the troubling knowledge that vision is often deceptive and unreliable” (1109).
Catherine and Heathcliff are part of each other, so much so that they haunt each other after death.
Additionally, the introduction of the ghost of Catherine at the beginning of the novel makes it clear that the story is unfinished, the characterization is still progressing, and that even though some of the characters are dead, their memory is very much alive in the minds of the living characters.
As a realist work, the novel’s detailed approach to the setting and characters correlates with the values of Victorian realist authors.
In addition to being a realist novel, includes elements of the traditional ghost story: ghosts, fear, and folklore.
As a realist text, records as faithfully as possible the actual life stories of Catherine, Heathcliff, and their families. Additionally, there seem to be local folk tales that demonize Heathcliff and warn of evil ghosts, evidenced by the little boy Nellie meets and “the old man by the kitchen fire” who swears he sees ghosts (430).
However, while Miller argues that the novel is “a masterwork of ‘realist’ fiction,” he retains that the novel is not purely a realistic novel: “…it obeys most of the conventions of Victorian realism, though no reader can miss the fact that it gives these conventions a twist” (362). Clearly, the ghost story plays a major role in the plotline of the novel and provides considerable insight into the setting and characters.