Wuthering Heights —— The Structure and Style Transcend the Time Emily Bronte describes the principal human conflict as one between the individual and the dark, questioning universe, a universe symbolized, in Wuthering Heights, both by man’s threatening and inner nature, and by nature in its more impersonal sense, the wild lonesome mystery of the moors. The structure and narrative style of Wuthering Heights transcend her time. Emily didn’t follow the regular and secular romantic writing techniques at that time, in contrast, she surpassed and created some new skills which modern readers are apt to understand and love. In this article, you will find the following six aspects of the writing style, including the approach of the story’s center step by step with spiral circle, the end echoes the beginning, symbolism of the two generations, the love which makes the negative turn to be positive, the dark satanic hero, and the alternant emotion with contradiction throughout the whole story. Emily has written a novel which seeks to move ever closer to the center of a unique and remarkable human relationship, and the very structure of her book emphasizes this movement. In Chapter One, for example, readers are as far as possible from the heart of the story’s experience due to the innocent guesses of Lockwood (the narrator or diarist). However, later chapters move progressively closer to the heart of the story, and the beginning, with its subtle suggestions of an old tragedy and with Lockwood’s naïve judgments of Heathcliff, will come to be prophetic. Therefore, the plot of Wuthering Heights is not sequential and linear, but described as a spiral circle compared with other coetaneous novels. That is to say, readers have been always following Lockwood to circle around the center of the story step by step, until the origin of the tragedy vividly comes in front of their eyes.
In spite of the spiral circle, the end echoes the beginning, which is another exquisite narrative technique, capture readers’ hearts. The last chapter tells of Heathcliff’s slow disintegration and death. The death itself is preceded by a fasting, reminiscent of the fasting which precipitated Catherine’s final illness. Because Heathcliff is described as robust and healthy shortly before his sudden decline, we suppose that it is his overwhelming desire or will to die and to return to his beloved Catherine, the thought of which “lights his face with a strange joy”(Wuthering
Heights 137) for days, that really kills him, and not the mere abstinence from food. The structure of the book achieves an almost perfect symmetry in the death of Heathcliff. And the end of the novel as at the beginning, the master spirit is staring out into a storm, searching for Catherine. Emily Bronte features similar destiny about the two generations, but different endings of them. She describes this kind of symbolism by giving the names Catherine and Linton. Both Catherine (Catherine Earnshaw and Catherine Linton) marries Linton (Edgar Linton and Linton Heathcliff), who they don’t love most. The mother Catherine dies before the book is half over, but her spirit continues to rage in the turbulent air of Wuthering Heights, haunting Heathcliff, and also returns, healthily subdued, in her daughter Cathy. The daughter finally gains happiness which stretches over two generations. And we may say that these two Catherine can be considered as one person who is also the heroine throughout the whole story. The other is about Linton. Linton Heathcliff, who is “a nervous, sickly, effeminate child, weak-willed and petulant like his mother, and, like her, the pitiful victim and tool of his father” (Wuthering Heights 112)inherits disadvantages from both sides of his parents——the peevishness and self-pity of the mother and the bad temper of the
father. It is ironic but the symbolism is clear. Hate is barren. Contrast to hatred, the love in this novel is also particular. Heathcliff and Catherine suffer...
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