Wuthering HeightsIn the novel Wuthering Heights, a story about love turned obsession, EmilyBronte manipulates the desolate setting and dynamic characters to examine theself-destructive pain of compulsion. Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights is anovel about lives that cross paths and are intertwined with one another. Healthcliff, a orphan, is taken in by Mr. Earnshaw, the owner of WutheringHeights. Mr.
Earnshaw has two children named Catherine and Hindley. Jealousybetween Hindley and Healthcliff was always a problem. Catherine lovesHealthcliff, but Hindley hates the stranger for stealing his fathers affectionaway. Catherine meets Edgar Linton, a young gentleman who lives at ThrushcrossGrange. Despite being in love with Healthcliff she marries Edgar elevating hersocial standing.
The characters in this novel are commingled in theirrelationships with Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange. The series ofevents in Emily Bronte’s early life psychologically set the tone for herfictional 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 ofnineteen, Emily moved to Halifax to attend Law Hill School. There is confusionas of how long she stayed here, suggestions ranging from a minimum of threemonths to a maximum of eighteen months.Order now
However long, it was here where shediscovered many of the ideas and themes used in Wuthering Heights. Halifax, justlike the Yorkshire moors of York, can be described as bleak, baron, and bare. The moors are vast, rough grassland areas covered in small shrubbery. Theatmosphere that Emily Bronte encompassed herself in as a young adult, reflectsthe setting she chose for Wuthering Heights. The setting used throughout thenovel Wuthering Heights, helps to set the mood to describe the characters. Wefind two households separated by the cold, muddy, and barren moors, one by thename of Wuthering Heights, and the other Thrushcross Grange.
Each house standsalone, in the mist of the dreary land, and the atmosphere creates a mood ofisolation. In Emily Bronte’s novel Wuthering Heights, there are two placeswhere virtually all of the action takes place. These two places, WutheringHeights and Thrushcross Grange differ greatly in appearance and mood. Thesedifferences reflect the universal conflict between storm and calm that EmilyBronte develops as the theme in her novel Wuthering Heights. Wuthering Heightsand Thrushcross Grange both represent several opposing properties which bringabout all sorts of bad happenings when they clash. For example, the inhabitantsof Wuthering Heights were that of the working class, while those of ThrushcrossGrange were high up on the social ladder.
The people of Wuthering Heightsaspired to be on the same level as the Lintons. This is evident by Heathcliffand Catherine when the peek through their window. In addition, Wuthering Heightswas always in a state of storminess while Thrushcross Grange always seemed calm. Wuthering Heights, and its surroundings, depicts the cold, dark, and evil sideof 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 wordwuthering may be viewed as a premonitory indication of the mysterious happeningsto be experienced by those inhabiting the edifice. “1 “Wuthering Heights,built in 1500, suffers from a kind of malnutrition: its thorns have becomebarren, its firs stunted, everything seems to crave for the ?alms of thesun’ that sustain life. “2 This tenebrous home is decorated with crumblinggriffins 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 thewall, and the corners defended with large jutting stones. Although WutheringHeights, the land of the storm, sits high on the barren moorland, “The worldof Wuthering Heights is a world of sadism, violence, and wanton cruelty.
“5 Itis the tenants of the Wuthering Heights that bring the storm to the house. TheEarnshaw family, including Heathcliff, grew up inflicting pain on one another. Pinching, slapping and hair pulling occur constantly. Catherine, instead ofshaking her gently, wakes Nelly Dean, the servant of the house, up by pullingher hair.
The Earnshaw children grow up in a world “where human beings, likethe trees, grow gnarled and dwarfed and distorted by the inclement climate. “6Wuthering Heights is parallel to the life of Heathcliff. Both Heathcliff andWuthering Heights began as lovely and warm, and as time wore on both witheredaway to become less of what they once were. Heathcliff is the very spirit ofWuthering Heights.
Healthcliff is a symbol of Wuthering Heights, the cold, dark,and dismal dwelling. “The authors use of parallel personifications to depictspecific parts of the house as analogous to Heathcliff’s face reveal stunninginsights into his character. “7 Emily Bronte describes Wuthering Heights having”narrow windows deeply set in the wall, and the corners defended with largejutting stones. “8 This description using the characteristics of WutheringHeights is adjacent to Heathcliff when he is illustrated having, “black eyeswithdrawn so suspiciously under their brow. “9 Heathcliff lived in a primalidentification with nature, from the rocks, stones, trees, the heavy skies andeclipsed sun, which environs him. There is no true separation from the settingof nature for Heathcliff and the lives with which his life is bound.
ThrushcrossGrange, in contrast to the bleak exposed farmhouse on the heights, is situatedin the valley with none of the grim features of Heathcliff’s home. Opposite ofWuthering Heights, Thrushcross Grange is filled with light and warmth. “UnlikeWuthering Heights, it is elegant and comfortable-‘a splendid place carpetedwith crimson, and crimson covered chairs and tables, and a pure white ceilingbordered by gold’. “10 Thrushcross Grange is the appropriate home of thechildren of the calm.
The atmosphere of Thrushcross Grange illustrates the linkthe inhabitants have with the upper-class Victorian lifestyle. Although theLinton’s appearance was often shallow, appearances were kept up for theirfriends and their social standing. While Wuthering Heights was always full ofactivity, sometimes to the point of chaos, life at the Grange always seemedplacid. Linton’s existence here at Thrushcross Grange was as “different fromHeathcliff’s ?as moonbeam from lightning, or frost from fire’. “11TheLinton’s often portrayed themselves as shallow, arrogant people, but life herewas much more jovial than the inmates of Wuthering Heights lives were. CatherineEarnshaw, also a child of the storm, ties these two worlds of storm and calmtogether.
Despite the fact that she occupies a position midway between the twoworlds, Catherine is a product of the moors. She belongs in a sense to bothworlds and is constantly drawn first in Heathcliff’s direction, then inLinton’s. Catherine does not ?like’ Heathcliff, but she loves him with allthe strength of her being. For he, like her, is a child of the storm; and thismakes a bond between them, which interweaves itself with the very nature oftheir 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 asdifferent as a moonbeam from lightning, or frost from fire. . . . My greatmiseries in this world have been Heathcliff’s miseries, and I watched and felteach from the beginning: my great thought in living is himself.
If all elseperished, and he remained, I should still continue to be; and if all elseremained, 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 thewoods: time will change it, I’m well aware as winter changes the trees. Mylove for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath: a source of littlevisible delight, but necessary. Nelly, I am Heathcliff! He’s always, always inmy mind; not as a pleasure, any more than I am always a pleasure to myself, butas my own being. “12 Despite the fact she loves only Heathcliff, she marriesEdgar Linton. Catherine realizes that even though her love or lack of love forEdgar 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 tobe scarcely more favorable than Linton’s; but it is certain that sheunderstands him in a way that Linton never could. “14 The bond betweenHeathcliff and Catherine was formed long ago during their childhood at WutheringHeights. The setting throughout the novel often corresponded with the charactersemotions. It is best symbolized “in a passage about nature’s obviousness toHeathcliff’s grief over Cathy’s death. A symbol for tears lurks in the imageof ?the dew that had gathered on the budded branches, and fell pattering roundhim’.
“15 Even though Heathcliff was a hardened person, Catherine’s deathtruly devastated him. Heathcliff’s emotions also corresponded with nature whenhe disappears into a raging storm after hearing Catherine say that it woulddegrade her to marry Heathcliff. Emily Bronte gives a brief description ofCatherine’s actions after it is brought to her attention that Heathcliff heardwhat she said. Catherine, going out to the road in search of him, ?whereheedless of my expostulations, and the growling thunder, and the great dropsthat began to plash round her, she remained calling, at intervals, and thenlistening, and then crying outright. “16 This description symbolizes therelationship and the internal bond that the characters of Wuthering Heights hadwith nature. It is Bronte’s remarkable imagination, emotional power, figuresof speech, and handling of dialect that makes the characters of WutheringHeights relate so closely with their surroundings.
Emily Bronte’s style ofwriting is capable of drawing you into the novel because of her ability to makeinanimate objects become the characters of the story. The contrast of these twohouses adds much to the meaning of this novel, and without it, the storywouldn’t be the interesting, complex novel it is without the contrast betweenWuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange. The contrast between them is more thanphysical, rather these two houses represent opposing forces which are embodiedin their inhabitants. Having this contrast is what brings about the presentationof this story altogether. Bronte made Heathcliff and Wuthering Height as one.
Both of these being cold, dark, and menacing similar to a storm. ThrushcrossGrange and the Lintons were more a welcoming and peaceful dwelling. Thepersonality of both is warm and draws itself to you by the warmth of the decorand richness of the surrounding landscape.