How does Emily Bronte use sympathetic background in Volume One to convey tragedy? Volume One contains a jittery narrative which is a mark of Bronte’s ominous style from which tragic events occur. With this jumping between events, there is an obvious foreshadowing of tragedy through a combination of pathetic fallacy, emotional symbolism and sympathetic background. Sympathetic background is the literary device where the surroundings mirror, mimic or elope with the emotions of the characters in it. Sympathetic background is especially evident when Bronte uses much of the settings of Thrushcross Grange and Wuthering Heights to convey the feelings of the characters within.
The use of sympathetic background can be seen as early as the first chapter, in which the Heath is described. Bronte uses “Wuthering” in the sense that it’s a “significant provincial narrative, descriptive of the atmospheric tumult to which its station is exposed in stormy weather.” This sets the tone for the beginning of the novel and the turmoil many of the characters have to endure in order to achieve some kind of parity. This view is embossed with “stunted firs” and “large jutting stones”. She uses the image of “gaunt thorns all stretching their limbs one way, as if craving the alms of the sun”, depicting a sense of the Heights always being shrouded in darkness, never fully escaping it. The other effect of it is the idea of zombies, the undead, craving some kind of human energy to survive, a yearning for balance. Sympathetic background at times is used to display to the reader the time at which the novel is written. Bronte’s first volume doesn’t get to grips with chronological exactitude, more discarding it in favour of letting the story unfold through the reader’s intellect and piecing the narrative together. Use of the background is most evident where the settings outside are the markers of what season the dwellers must endure, whether it is a harsh storm or a serene backdrop on the...
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