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Essay/Term paper: Wuthering heights

Essay, term paper, research paper:  College Book Reports

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Throughout the novel Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë effectively utilizes weather and setting as methods of conveying insight to the reader of the personal feeling of the characters. While staying at Thrushcross Grange, Mr. Lockwood made a visit to meet Mr. Heathcliff for a second time, and the horrible snow storm that he encounters is the first piece of evidence that he should have perceived about Heathcliff's personality. The setting of the moors is one that makes them a very special place for Catherine and Heathcliff, and they are thus very symbolic of their friendship and spirts. The weather and setting are very effective tools used throughout the end of the novel as well, for when the weather becomes nice it is not only symbolic of the changing times, and the changing people, but also a new beginning. During his stay at Thrushcross Grange Mr. Lockwood made the perilous journey to Wuthering Heights only a few times. On the occasion of his second visit, "the snow began to drive thickly"(7) during his walk, and this horrible weather should have been foreshadowing to Lockwood about Heathcliff's, and the other member's of the household's true personalities. Upon arriving he was forced to bang continually upon the door before someone would take the care to let him in out of the cold. The dinner that Lockwood was permitted to have with the "family' was anything but hospitable. Lockwood was treated not unlike an ignorant and unworthy guest, and hence the visit was in no way enjoyable for him. Upon desiring to leave the destitute home, Lockwood finds the weather too intolerable for him to even consider venturing out on his own, and upon being attacked by one of the dogs, "he was pulled into the kitchen"(15) and allowed, however ungraciously, to stay the night at Wuthering Heights. Once his walk home commenced the following day, Lockwood found himself being escorted by Heathcliff himself. The path that is used as a means of connection between the two houses does well to exemplify the feeling contained within each. The path that is nearest to the Heights is long and winding, with "many pits, at least, were filled to a level; and entire ranges of mounds, the refuse of the quarries . . . blotted from the chart"(28). This description is a disheartening one, and causes the reader to associate this kind of representation with the Heights. Upon reaching the pass between the Heights and the Grange, Heathcliff did not continue to direct Lockwood's travels. He stated that he "could make no error there"(28), for the path is transformed into one that is straight and easy for Lockwood to follow. These preliminary descriptions of the path between the two houses, and the weather upon first being introduced to the characters, help in conveying the personalities of the characters in a more subtle manner. The area surrounding both the Heights and the Grange are referred to as the moors, and they are an important setting for many characters throughout the course of the novel. The two characters that the moors are most symbolic of, however, are Heathcliff and Catherine Linton. The two would play on the moors as children, and this area of land was very expressive of their wild personalities, and of their friendship. The moors are thought of by them as a place where they could be free and unrestricted to be themselves. Brontë once again utilizes a setting to represent the personalities of her characters, for here she uses the wildness of the moors to express the wildness of Heathcliff and Catherine. One evening Catherine makes the decision to marry Edgar Linton, and not her true love Heathcliff. Heathcliff hears her declaration and runs off into the moors. Not long after Heathcliff leaves the vicinity of the Grange, a "storm came rattling over the Heights in full fury"(78), and Catherine refuses to sleep without her love present in the Heights. "Catherine would not be persuaded into tranquility. She kept wandering to and fro, from the gate to the door . . . and at length took up a permanent situation on one side of the wall, near the road, where, . . . great drops [of rain] began to plash around her(78). She was desperate for Heathcliff to come home, and without Catherine even speaking, the reader can know of this desperation. Brontë is able to allow the outer weather to symbolize the inner emotional state of Catherine. The setting of the moors is not only able to distinguish the personalities of characters, but also is able to differentiate between different characters. When Catherine went to Thrushcross Grange, the ominous description of the moors followed her. The change in how setting is described is a tool utilized by Brontë as a way of showing the reader that the story is within the Characters, and the words used to describe the setting around any specific character is meant to exemplify that particular individual. Toward the end of the novel, around the time of Lockwood's return to visit Wuthering Heights, the weather suddenly becomes kinder and the setting more amiable. Upon walking up to the door of the Heights "all that remained of day was a beamless, amber light along the west' but [he] could see every pebble on the path, and every blade of grass by that splendid moon"(286). This feeling that the reader acquires from the description of the weather is a much more placid one than used before within the novel. Lockwood was able to enter freely into the yard of Heights, and there was "a fragrance of stocks and wall flowers, [that] wafted on the air, from amongst them homely fruit trees"(286). Never before was the Heights described as a tranquil place, and yet it is here. The garden that Cathy planted is outside of the doors and is filled with twisted fir trees, and domestic plant. These two kinds of plants mingling together represent Cathy's personality very well. Cathy has wildness, as the twisted fir tree, like her mother, and decorousness, as the domestic plants, like her father. Brontë is able to express the changing times to the reader, even before the characters are reintroduced into the dialogue. Upon once again meeting the character, it is quite apparent that times have changed for the better. Heathcliff has died, and with him he takes the foreboding atmosphere of the Heights with him. What is left behind is the carefree feeling that Brontë want the reader to associate with the love developing between Haerton Earnshaw and Cathy Linton. Within the last paragraph of the novel the reader becomes very aware of the end to the story, this is because of the use of setting to donate the feeling of an end to the reader and a "quiet slumber for the sleepers in that quiet earth"(315). Brontë very effectively uses the weather and the setting within Wuthering Heights to always allow the reader a little more insight into the minds of the characters. The setting and weather seem to mimic the feeling of the individuals that are within the novel. Brontë's use of this as a literary tool is very intriguing, and very helpful in aiding the reader in their grasping the complexity of the characters within the novel.


Work Cited Brontë, Emily: Wuthering Heights, Amsco School Publications, Inc., (c) 1970  

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