In Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, her descriptions of two houses create distinct atmospheres that mirror the actions of the respective inhabitants. The pristine and well-kept Thrushcross Grange can be viewed as a haven when compared to the chaotic Wuthering Heights. Wuthering Heights symbolizes the anger, hatred and deep-felt tension of that house while Thrushcross Grange embodies the superficial feelings and materialistic outlook of its inhabitants. Each house parallels the emotions and the moods of the residents and their world views.
The true depth of the novel emerges when the lives of the residents in the houses intertwine.
The locations of Thrushcross Grange and Wuthering Heights reinforce the personalities of its inhabitants. Wuthering Heights is placed among stunted bushes with limbs stretching away from the wind and possesses narrow windows that fight against the same strong winds. Set on a bleak hilltop, the ground surrounding Wuthering Heights remains hard, covered in a black frost most of the year. The old furniture hastily organized in cramped rooms, the chairs high-backed and primitive in design and old guns hung over the chimney make Wuthering Heights an unwelcoming home.
Merely four miles away, Thrushcross Grange has an entirely different appeal, surrounded by a lovely forest of oak and hazel trees. Thrushcross Grange glimmers in the sun and, with its large window and luxurious interior, displays the wealth of its owner. Having a garden blanketed with vivid flowers and plants, Thrushcross Grange has a tranquil tamed park rather than being surrounded by the moors. Thrushcross Grange, described with crimson carpeting and crimson covered tables and chairs, has a pure white ceiling bordered by gold from which hung a fancy glass chandelier.
The differences in Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange add intensity to the personal story of the Lintons and Earnshaws by each directly representing their owners. Throughout the novel, Wuthering Heights acts as a prison, confining its residents with its narrow windows and large stones. Much like Wuthering Heights, Heathcliff is dark and misunderstood by most people. Built strong, Heathcliff and Wuthering Heights endure much punishment while still remaining intact. Only the older Catherine and Hareton are able to appreciate Heathcliff and Wuthering Heights, looking
past the less than refined exterior and seeing from within.
Similar to its inhabitants, Thrushcross Grange brings out the selfish and materialistic mind set of its residents. This point is strengthened when Heathcliff and Cathy spot Edgar and Isabella fighting over a puppy, finding amusement while caring nothing for its life. Thrushcross Grange becomes a place of healing for instance when Cathy injures her ankle and when she gets sick after searching for Heathcliff. These events are analogous to the accommodating and inviting nature of the Lintons. Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange both share qualities with their respective residents.
The dark and confining Wuthering Heights and the light and inviting Thrushcross Grange set the stage for the many battles between Heathcliff, the Earnshaws and the Lintons. The inhabitants of the rustic Wuthering Heights are naturally envious of the residents of the luxurious Thrushcross Grange. The unsettled jealousy between Heathcliff and Edgar reaches its boiling point at Thrushcross Grange where Edgar holds the power. Summoning his servants to defend him, Edgar possesses a certain power over Heathcliff.
Thrushcross Grange also becomes a method of tearing people apart, such as Heathcliff and Cathy. First Thrushcross Grange is where Cathy learns about the finer things in life and develops into someone too refined for Heathcliff. Later Thrushcross Grange becomes a place where Heathcliff is not wanted and not allowed. Thrushcross Grange was the main barrier Heathcliff had to overcome to finally remain together in their afterlives.
Wuthering Height and Thrushcross Grange contribute to the depth and meaning of Brontë’s work. Wuthering Heights, a dark and weather beaten house, is situated on a bleak icy hill while Thrushcross Grange is beautifully kept and placed in a majestic park. The battered Wuthering Heights can easily be associated with the equally abused Heathcliff contrasted with the warm and inviting Thrushcross Grange that shares many qualities with Edgar. The opposing houses are occupied by equally opposing residents, a truth that surface throughout the novel. The battles between Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange add an extra layer to the complex Brontë novel.