April 16, 2011
Wuthering Heights is the only novel written by Emily Bronte. Many have called Wuthering Heights a love story. Others have called the novel a story of hatred, cruelty, and vengeance. Wuthering Heights is all these. Wuthering Heights is a novel about the love a woman has for two men. Wuthering Heights is the story of two old manors, Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange. It is the story of two families, the Earnshaws and the Lintons and a story of two generations. Additionally, Wuthering Heights is a story of opposing emotions, the despair and doom of the first generation and hope, peace, and joy of the second. Wuthering Heights is a novel of juxtaposed pairs.
One of the first pairs mentioned in the novel are the old manors. Much like the other pairs described in the story, each of these manors represent opposite images. Wuthering Heights symbolizes anger, jealousy, hatred, and retribution. This would aptly describe the occupants of Wuthering Heights particularly with regard to Heathcliff and Hindley. Bronte, through the narrator Mr. Lockwood, describes Wuthering Heights as an isolated manor set atop a hill where the wind must blow frequently (Bronte, 2002). We know this because the surrounding trees are bent over (Bronte, 2002). The reader imagines the manor as dark and dank and Lockwood notices the small windows set deeply in the walls (Bronte, 2002).
There is a muddy marsh which separates Wuthering Heights from Thrushcross Grange (Bronte, 2002). 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. Even though Thrushcross Grange is isolated as Wuthering Heights is, Wuthering Heights represents storm while Thrushcross Grange represents calm. And like Wuthering Heights, Thrushcross Grange symbolizes those that reside there (Bronte, 2002). Thrushcross Grange is filled with light and warmth. This is an appropriate home for the children of the calm, Isabella and Edgar. They are educated, upper class people. They are civilized, cultured, and proper. The opposite of those living at Wuthering Heights (Bronte, 2002).
The narrators of the story represent yet another pair, Ellen Dean (Nelly) and Mr. Lockwood (Bronte, 2002). Mr. Lockwood begins the narration as he relates his initial visit to Wuthering Heights (Bronte, 2002). Not long after, Nelly takes over the narration as she shares the history of Wuthering Heights, its current and past residents, with Mr. Lockwood (Bronte, 2002). Nelly grew up at Wuthering Heights and grew up with Catherine and Hindley (Bronte, 2002). This makes Nelly more than just a narrator as she is an integral part of the story. In fact, Nelly has on occasion manipulated some of the characters by withholding information and keeping secrets (Shmoop University, 2011). Nelly is not an unbiased narrator (Shmoop University, 2011).
Mr. Lockwood though he may be unbiased, is not necessarily reliable. He misjudges and makes assumptions regarding those residing at Wuthering Heights which are incorrect (Shmoop University, 2011). He appears awkward and at times not terribly intelligent (Bronte, 2002). “Wuthering Heights” is Lockwood’s journal, part his own observation and experience and part what Nelly relates to him.
Also included in the story are the two generations. The story spans roughly 30 years and begins with the childhoods of Catherine and her brother Hindley. Their father, Mr. Earnshaw, brings a young boy home from one of his business trips (Bronte, 2002). Until this point in the story all the characters appear quite happy (Bronte, 2002). This is when Heathcliff is introduced to Wuthering Heights and things take a turn (Bronte, 2002). Mr. Earnshaw quite favors Heathcliff. Hindley hates Heathcliff and is jealous of him as he believes Heathcliff has stolen his father’s affections...