Wuthering Heights (1680 words) Essay

Wuthering HeightsIn the novel Wuthering Heights, a story about love turned obsession, Emily
Bronte manipulates the desolate setting and dynamic characters to examine the
self-destructive pain of compulsion. Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights is a
novel about lives that cross paths and are intertwined with one another.

Healthcliff, a orphan, is taken in by Mr. Earnshaw, the owner of Wuthering
Heights. Mr. Earnshaw has two children named Catherine and Hindley. Jealousy
between Hindley and Healthcliff was always a problem. Catherine loves
Healthcliff, but Hindley hates the stranger for stealing his fathers affection
away. Catherine meets Edgar Linton, a young gentleman who lives at Thrushcross
Grange. Despite being in love with Healthcliff she marries Edgar elevating her
social standing. The characters in this novel are commingled in their
relationships with Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange. The series of
events in Emily Bronte’s early life psychologically set the tone for her
fictional novel Wuthering Heights. Early in her life while living in Haworth,
near the moors, her mother died. At the time she was only three. At the age of
nineteen, Emily moved to Halifax to attend Law Hill School. There is confusion
as of how long she stayed here, suggestions ranging from a minimum of three
months to a maximum of eighteen months. However long, it was here where she
discovered many of the ideas and themes used in Wuthering Heights. Halifax, just
like the Yorkshire moors of York, can be described as bleak, baron, and bare.

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The moors are vast, rough grassland areas covered in small shrubbery. The
atmosphere that Emily Bronte encompassed herself in as a young adult, reflects
the setting she chose for Wuthering Heights. The setting used throughout the
novel Wuthering Heights, helps to set the mood to describe the characters. We
find two households separated by the cold, muddy, and barren moors, one by the
name of Wuthering Heights, and the other Thrushcross Grange. Each house stands
alone, in the mist of the dreary land, and the atmosphere creates a mood of
isolation. In Emily Bronte’s novel Wuthering Heights, there are two places
where virtually all of the action takes place. These two places, Wuthering
Heights and Thrushcross Grange differ greatly in appearance and mood. These
differences reflect the universal conflict between storm and calm that Emily
Bronte develops as the theme in her novel Wuthering Heights. Wuthering Heights
and Thrushcross Grange both represent several opposing properties which bring
about all sorts of bad happenings when they clash. For example, the inhabitants
of Wuthering Heights were that of the working class, while those of Thrushcross
Grange were high up on the social ladder. The people of Wuthering Heights
aspired to be on the same level as the Lintons. This is evident by Heathcliff
and Catherine when the peek through their window. In addition, Wuthering Heights
was always in a state of storminess while Thrushcross Grange always seemed calm.

Wuthering Heights, and its surroundings, depicts the cold, dark, and evil side
of life. Bronte chooses well, the language that she uses in Wuthering Heights.

Even the title of her book holds meaning. “The very definition of the word
wuthering may be viewed as a premonitory indication of the mysterious happenings
to be experienced by those inhabiting the edifice.”1 “Wuthering Heights,
built in 1500, suffers from a kind of malnutrition: its thorns have become
barren, its firs stunted, everything seems to crave for the ?alms of the
sun’ that sustain life.”2 This tenebrous home is decorated with crumbling
griffins over the front of the main door.3 Its lack of congeniality and”warmth is augmented by stone floors.” 4 The windows are set deep in the
wall, and the corners defended with large jutting stones. Although Wuthering
Heights, the land of the storm, sits high on the barren moorland, “The world
of Wuthering Heights is a world of sadism, violence, and wanton cruelty.”5 It
is the tenants of the Wuthering Heights that bring the storm to the house. The
Earnshaw family, including Heathcliff, grew up inflicting pain on one another.

Pinching, slapping and hair pulling occur constantly. Catherine, instead of
shaking her gently, wakes Nelly Dean, the servant of the house, up by pulling
her hair. The Earnshaw children grow up in a world “where human beings, like
the trees, grow gnarled and dwarfed and distorted by the inclement climate.”6
Wuthering Heights is parallel to the life of Heathcliff. Both Heathcliff and
Wuthering Heights began as lovely and warm, and as time wore on both withered
away to become less of what they once were. Heathcliff is the very spirit of
Wuthering Heights. Healthcliff is a symbol of Wuthering Heights, the cold, dark,
and dismal dwelling. “The authors use of parallel personifications to depict
specific parts of the house as analogous to Heathcliff’s face reveal stunning
insights into his character.”7 Emily Bronte describes Wuthering Heights having”narrow windows deeply set in the wall, and the corners defended with large
jutting stones.”8 This description using the characteristics of Wuthering
Heights is adjacent to Heathcliff when he is illustrated having, “black eyes
withdrawn so suspiciously under their brow.”9 Heathcliff lived in a primal
identification with nature, from the rocks, stones, trees, the heavy skies and
eclipsed sun, which environs him. There is no true separation from the setting
of nature for Heathcliff and the lives with which his life is bound. Thrushcross
Grange, in contrast to the bleak exposed farmhouse on the heights, is situated
in the valley with none of the grim features of Heathcliff’s home. Opposite of
Wuthering Heights, Thrushcross Grange is filled with light and warmth. “Unlike
Wuthering Heights, it is elegant and comfortable-‘a splendid place carpeted
with crimson, and crimson covered chairs and tables, and a pure white ceiling
bordered by gold’.”10 Thrushcross Grange is the appropriate home of the
children of the calm. The atmosphere of Thrushcross Grange illustrates the link
the inhabitants have with the upper-class Victorian lifestyle. Although the
Linton’s appearance was often shallow, appearances were kept up for their
friends and their social standing. While Wuthering Heights was always full of
activity, sometimes to the point of chaos, life at the Grange always seemed
placid. Linton’s existence here at Thrushcross Grange was as “different from
Heathcliff’s ?as moonbeam from lightning, or frost from fire’.”11The
Linton’s often portrayed themselves as shallow, arrogant people, but life here
was much more jovial than the inmates of Wuthering Heights lives were. Catherine
Earnshaw, also a child of the storm, ties these two worlds of storm and calm
together. Despite the fact that she occupies a position midway between the two
worlds, Catherine is a product of the moors. She belongs in a sense to both
worlds and is constantly drawn first in Heathcliff’s direction, then in
Linton’s. Catherine does not ?like’ Heathcliff, but she loves him with all
the strength of her being. For he, like her, is a child of the storm; and this
makes a bond between them, which interweaves itself with the very nature of
their existence. In a sublime passage she tells Nelly Dean that she loves him-
“not because he’s handsome, Nelly, but because he’s more myself than I am.

Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same, and Linton’s is as
different as a moonbeam from lightning, or frost from fire. . . . My great
miseries in this world have been Heathcliff’s miseries, and I watched and felt
each from the beginning: my great thought in living is himself. If all else
perished, and he remained, I should still continue to be; and if all else
remained, and he were annihilated, the universe would turn to a mighty stranger:
I should not seem a part of it. My love for Linton is like the foliage in the
woods: time will change it, I’m well aware as winter changes the trees. My
love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath: a source of little
visible delight, but necessary. Nelly, I am Heathcliff! He’s always, always in
my mind; not as a pleasure, any more than I am always a pleasure to myself, but
as my own being.”12 Despite the fact she loves only Heathcliff, she marries
Edgar Linton. Catherine realizes that even though her love or lack of love for
Edgar is questionable, she feels that someday she will learn how to love him.

“Catherine sees that, whatever his faults, Heathcliff transcends the Lintons’
world.”13 “Catherine’s account of Heathcliff may appear on the surface to
be scarcely more favorable than Linton’s; but it is certain that she
understands him in a way that Linton never could.”14 The bond between
Heathcliff and Catherine was formed long ago during their childhood at Wuthering
Heights. The setting throughout the novel often corresponded with the characters
emotions. It is best symbolized “in a passage about nature’s obviousness to
Heathcliff’s grief over Cathy’s death. A symbol for tears lurks in the image
of ?the dew that had gathered on the budded branches, and fell pattering round
him’.”15 Even though Heathcliff was a hardened person, Catherine’s death
truly devastated him. Heathcliff’s emotions also corresponded with nature when
he disappears into a raging storm after hearing Catherine say that it would
degrade her to marry Heathcliff. Emily Bronte gives a brief description of
Catherine’s actions after it is brought to her attention that Heathcliff heard
what she said. Catherine, going out to the road in search of him, ?where
heedless of my expostulations, and the growling thunder, and the great drops
that began to plash round her, she remained calling, at intervals, and then
listening, and then crying outright.”16 This description symbolizes the
relationship and the internal bond that the characters of Wuthering Heights had
with nature. It is Bronte’s remarkable imagination, emotional power, figures
of speech, and handling of dialect that makes the characters of Wuthering
Heights relate so closely with their surroundings. Emily Bronte’s style of
writing is capable of drawing you into the novel because of her ability to make
inanimate objects become the characters of the story. The contrast of these two
houses adds much to the meaning of this novel, and without it, the story
wouldn’t be the interesting, complex novel it is without the contrast between
Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange. The contrast between them is more than
physical, rather these two houses represent opposing forces which are embodied
in their inhabitants. Having this contrast is what brings about the presentation
of this story altogether. Bronte made Heathcliff and Wuthering Height as one.

Both of these being cold, dark, and menacing similar to a storm. Thrushcross
Grange and the Lintons were more a welcoming and peaceful dwelling. The
personality of both is warm and draws itself to you by the warmth of the decor
and richness of the surrounding landscape.


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