Wuthering Heights - Critical Theme - Nature

  • Created by: evasophia
  • Created on: 02-01-18 20:51
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  • Nature in Wuthering Heights
    • The beautiful but dangerous natural elements in Emily Bronte's ''Wuthering Heights'' cause concern for newcomers, but natives such as Heathcliff and Catherine find comfort and a sense of freedom from them. Nature, like some of the characters in the novel, is often depicted as uncultivated and threatening, especially the Moorland that acts as a no mans land between the Heights and Thrushcross Grange.
      • The moorland that Emily Brontë describes is a combination of areas that she knew such as the moor around Haworth where she spent most of her life, the Shibden valley where she worked, and the countryside near Cowan Bridge where she lived briefly as a child.
        • The idea of the Moors being desolate is clearly represented within the Chapter 12 quote : "There was no moon, and everything beneath lay in misty darkness [...] those at Wuthering Heights were never visible."
          • The Moors act as a physical barrier between two social classes. On either side of the land lay the two contrasting houses of the novel. As one ventures nearer in the circumference of WH, Bronte's description of the Moors become more detailed, and add emphasis to the Gothic genre, simply highlighting the dissimilarity between the two houses.
            • "… I bounded, leaped, and flew down the steep road [...] towards the beacon-light of the Grange." Chapter 17
              • "You will, perhaps, think the building old and dark at first; though it is a respectable house: the next best in the neighborhood.' Chapter 20
              • When Isabella flees Wuthering Heights after a long, dangerous and abusive encounter with Heathcliff, she likens the Heights to Hell "blessed as a soul escaped from purgatory" , TG to Heaven and a 'light at the end of the tunnel' and the landscape in between as a divide preventing her safety. Her perspective on the Moors is that of something she must endure in order to return to her safe haven at the Grange.
    • The moors serve well as symbols of the wild threat posed by nature. As the setting for the beginnings of Catherine and Heathcliff’s bond (the two play on the Moors constantly during childhood) the moorland transfers its symbolic associations onto the love affair, highlighting its wild, uncontrollable and forbidden love.
    • Bronte brings about a dreary and desolate setting. Bronte also uses the elements of nature to convey characteristics of characters. Bronte uses the imagery of nature to reflect the personalities of the characters in Wuthering Heights, in particular, the character of Heathcliff. His feisty, abrupt and bruding persona link to the menacing storms the Heights on the hill is accustomed to. His physical appearance can also be linked to nature and the weather with references to him being dark and mysterious. .“’Wuthering’ is a Yorkshire term for "roaring of the wind” which is constantly seen in the weather of the novel. The use of pathetic fallacy and nature  alters with the mood of the characters or with the mood of the surroundings.


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