Wuthering HeightsThe setting and descriptions of Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange thatEmily Bront? uses throughout her novel, Wuthering Heights, helps to set themood for describing Heathcliff and Cathy. The cold, muddy, and barren moorsseparate the two households.
Each house stands alone, in the midst of the drearyland, but the atmospheres of the two estates are quite different. Thisdifference helps explain the personalities and bond of Cathy and Heathcliff. Wuthering Heights, which represents Hell, is always in a state of storminess. The Heights and its surroundings depict the coldness, darkness, and evilassociated with Hell. This parallels Heathcliff.
He symbolizes the cold, dark,and dismal house. The author uses parallel personifications to depict specificparts of the house as analogues to Heathcliff’s face. Bront? describes thewindows of the Heights as deeply set in the wall. Similarly, Heathcliff hasdeep-set dark eyes. Alongside with this association, Bront?’s title of herbook holds definite meaning.
The very definition of “wuthering” is “to dryup, shrivel, or wilt as from decay” (“Wuthering,” WordSmythCollaboration). The inhabitants, especially Heathcliff and Cathy, cause thedecay of themselves and bring “storminess” to the house. On the other hand,the Grange; with all its richness; depicts wonderful Heaven. Thrushcross Grange,in contrast to the bleak exposed farmhouse, stands in the valley and has none ofthe grim features of the Earnshaw’s home.
Light and warmth fills the Grange;it is the appropriate home of the children of the calm. Wuthering Heights,however, is always full of activity, sometimes to the point of chaos. BraveCathy, a child of the storm, tries to tie 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 torn between Heathcliff and Linton.
Catherine does not “like”Heathcliff, yet loves him with all of the strength of her being. For he, likeher, is a child of the storm; this makes a bond between them, and interweavesitself with the very nature of their existence. In a sublime passage, she tellsNelly that she loves Heathcliff: . .
. not because he’s handsome Nelly, butbecause he’s more myself then I am. Whatever or souls are made of, his andmine 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’smiseries, and I watched and felt each from the beginning: my great thought inliving is himself. If all else perished, and he remained, I should stillcontinue to be; and if all else remained and he were annihilated, the universewould turn to a mighty stranger: I should not seem a part of it. My love forLinton is like the foliage in the woods: time will change it, I’m well awareas winter changes the trees. My love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocksbeneath: a source of little visible delight, but necessary.
Nelly, I amHeathcliff?he’s always, always in my mind; not as a pleasure, any more thanI am always a pleasure to myself, but as my own being. ” (Bront? 86, 87. )Despite the fact that she loves only Heathcliff, she marries Edgar Linton to tryto place Heathcliff “out of [his] brother’s power” (Bront? 87). Cathy’s”duty” toward Heathcliff forms in their bond when they grew up together. Their bond ties them to each other, and to the shared love of nature; the rocks,stones, trees, the heavy skies and eclipsed sun, which encompasses them. This”binding” makes Heathcliff inseparable from Cathy.
This is shown when heruns off after hearing Cathy’s degrading comments about why she will not marryhim. Heathcliff symbolizes the raging storm he disappears into. Catherine, uponhearing that Heathcliff heard her comments, goes out to the road in search ofhim “where. . .
the growling thunder, and the great drops that began to splasharound her, she remained calling, at intervals, and then listening, and thencrying outright” (Bront? 89). This symbolism proves that the relationship andthe internal bond that Cathy and Heathcliff have ties in closely with nature. The contrast of these two houses adds much to the meaning of the novel, andwithout it, the story would not be the interesting, complex novel that it iswithout the contrast between the two estates. The contrast between them is morethan physical, rather these two houses represent opposing forces that embody theinhabitants.
This contrast is what brings about the presentation of this storyaltogether, and is what draws itself to a human being by the richness of thesurrounding landscape. BibliographyBront?, Emily. Wuthering Heights. Ed.
Linda H. Peterson. Boston: BedfordBooks, 1992. Peterson, Linda H.
Introduction. Wuthering Heights. By Emily Bront?. Boston: Bedford Books, 1992. 3-13. “Wuthering.
” WordSymth: The EducationalDictionary-Thesaurus. WordSymth Collaboration, 1999. 21 March 2000. *http://wordsymth.net