Reading a novel gives the reader an idea of an author’s particular style and technique. ‘Wuthering Heights’ is Emily Bronte’s only novel. She was a private person and was extremely withdrawn too by nature. The whole novel revolves round two households, ‘Wuthering Heights’ and the ‘Thrushcross Grange’. The settings that are described in the novel actually portray the different moods and nature of the characters. The two households are separated by cold, muddy and barren moors and each of them stands alone, which creates a mood of isolation in the atmosphere. Both the households differ ompletely in their moods and appearance just like the difference between storm and calm, which seems to be the theme of Emily’s novel.
Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange both represent lots of opposite properties and physical characteristics but both the households are bound together in spite of the differences. In the novel Wuthering Heights is always in a state of storminess and Thrushcross Grange seems to be always calm and peaceful. With this contrast atmosphere the author wants to describe the dark, cold and evil side of life and how one’s vengeful attitude eads to the destruction of himself as well as the complete surrounding.
The words that Bronte uses to describe Wuthering Heights also relates to its characteristics. The very definition of the word Wuthering may be viewed as a premonitory indication of the mysterious happenings to be experienced by those in habiting the edifice. “ I Wuthering heights, built in 1500, suffers from a kind of malnutrition: its thorns have been barren, its furs stunted, everything seems to crave for the ‘alms of the sun’ that sustain life”. This tenebrous home is decorated with crumbling griffins over the front of the main door”. Its lack of congeniality and “warmth is augmented by stone floors”. The people living in Wuthering Heights were of working class whereas those in Thrushcross Grange were of little higher status in society.
The difference between the two households show the difference of civilized and uncivilized people and it reflects the attitude of their residents too. Wuthering Heights is referred as ‘harsh cold house with grotesque carvings’ and its residents are from the very beginning jealous, ill mannered nd not satisfied with one another. In the beginning Mr. Earnshaw brings with him ‘a dirty, ragged and black haired child’ who is later described by Mr. Loclwood as ‘dark skinned gypsy’.
No one in the house is happy with Mr. Earnshaw on bringing this dirty child home and Hindley starts disliking him, which even leads to jealousy as his father favors the dark child most of the time. Heathcliff as he grows represents the darkness of the house in his character and his vengeful nature reflects Hindley’s harsh treatments when he became the master of Wuthering Heights after Mr. Earnshaw’s death.
This is reflected in the lines which Heathcliff says to Nelly. “I’m trying to settle how I shall pay Hindley back. I don’t care how long I wait, if I can only do it at last. I hope he will not die before I do! ” Chapter 7, page 54 In chapter 5 we see that there is no peace in the Wuthering Heights and Mr. Earnshaw sends Hendley away to college so that his behavior might improve but all in vein.
But even after that the house was not peaceful and Catherine and Joseph quarreled most of the time. Wuthering Heights is also felt as parallel to Heathcliff’s life and it is seen that oth were warm and lovely in the beginning but as time worn on, both got emaciated. Emily Bronte describes ‘Wuthering Heights as having narrow windows deeply set in the walls’ which also is synonymous to Heathcliff’s character as he is not ready to understand and is desperate to do anything to take his revenge. Catherine marries Edgar Linton despite of the fact that she loves only Heathcliff. It would degrade me to marry Heathcliff now; so he shall never know how I love him: and that, not because he is handsome, Nelly, but because he is 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 the lighting, or frost from fire. Chapter 9, page 73 Wuthering Heights is always seen to be in the state of storminess and Thrushcross Grange is always calm throughout the novel. The contrast between the two households is more than physical, rather they represent the nature of their residents. Thrushcross Grange is described, ‘It is elegant and comfortable, a splendid place carpeted with crimson and crimson covered chairs and tables, and a pure white ceiling bordered with gold’.
It is even seen that when Catherine stayed at Thrushcross Grange she returns home quite changed and is full of manners, dressed in nice clothes and carries herself in more polished manner. The effect of the household and calmness even changes her nature. The contrast reflects the conflict between nature and culture. Both Catherine and Heathcliff are governed by their passion and wildness and Wuthering Heights reflects the same kind of wildness. In contrast, Thrushcross Grange and the Linton family represent refinement, culture, cultivation and gathering.
Emily Bronte’s beautiful usage of symbolism helps the reader to differentiate between the nature and personality of the characters. Throughout the book there is compare and contrast between the two households and its residents. Catherine does not like Heathcliff but loves him and is even loyal to him. Here she compares the luxury and education of culture with wild and uncontrollable aspect of nature. When she first met Linton, chaos had begun at Wuthering Heights because of the cruelty and injustice of Hindley. Despite being in love with Heathcliff, Catherine marries
Edgar just to improve her social status. The characters of Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange get mingled in relationships, which show that culture and nature are trying to hold hands together. Critics are of the opinion that as Emily Bronte lived in Yorkshire, which is full of trees, black rock and heather, she makes wildness of nature as the base of the settings for her novel. Thrushcross Grange is just opposite with beautifully structured estate with surrounding garden and this shows the kind of life she dreamt of. She makes the attitude f the residents of both the households reflected perfectly.
In the beginning Wuthering Heights is introduced to the reader as of significant meaning and as the novel heads on the contrast between the two households is seen. The residents of Wuthering Heights are of working class and are less civilized and a little bit ill mannered whereas Linton’s family who are the residents of Thrushcross Grange are very polite and civilized by nature. Critics believe that because the contrast of these two households add much meaning to the novel, it is so interesting for the readers.
Courtney from Study Moose
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