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Evaluate the significance of landscape, buildings and furnishings in Emily Bronte's ' Wuthering Heights '.

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Introduction

Evaluate the significance of landscape, buildings and furnishings in Emily Bronte's ' Wuthering Heights ' Since the century of its publication, Wuthering heights has been the subject of many different interpretations and critisisms. It has a strange elemental fiercness and barbarity, and it has a stormy setting divorced from the world as we know it. The natural setting of the novel is on the Yorkshire Moors, and throughout the novel, it becomes clear that the bleak and harsh nature of these moors is not a geographical accident, it mirrors the roughness of those who live there. Wuthering Heights is firmly planted on its location, and it seems to the reader that these people's lives could not exist in the way that they do, anywhere else. This is very similar to Thomas Hardy's 'Return of the Native', which is set on Egdon Heath, and here the reader feels that characters could not exist anywhere else. Emily Bronte organises Wuthering Heights by arranging the elements of characters, places and themes into pairs. The first of these pairs is the two buildings Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange. The vast contrast between these houses symbolises the people who reside there, and how they effect the houses. The two houses are separated by the cold, muddy barren moors, and each stands alone in the midst of dreary land, and a sense of isolation is quickly established. ...read more.

Middle

They are also a mirror to Heathcliff's black eyes, 'withdrawn so suspiciously under their brow'. Wuthering Heights sits on a high barren moorland where it is exposed to all of the elements of nature, which could be seen as the large amount of tragedy that the house comes across. It is a world of violence and cruelty, and it is the inhabitants that bring the strom to the house. The Earnshaw and Heathcliff family grew up with violence, as there was constant hair pulling, pinching and slapping. Wuthering Heights is a paralell to the life of Heathcliff, as they both began as warm and loving, but as time went on bothered withered to become less of what they once were. He is a symbol of the cold, dark and dismal setting of Wuthering Heights. Thruchcross Grange, in contrast to the bleak exposed farmhouse on the heights, is always described as a magnificant place by every interpretation. It is set in the valley, giving a sense of protection, and contains none of the grim features of Heathcliff's home. The first glimpse of Thrushcross Grange is through Nelly Dean's description. 'I admired the shining kitchen utensils, the polished clock, decked in holly, the silver mugs ranged on a tray ready to be filled with mulled ale for supper; and above all, the speckless purity of my particular care - the scoured and well-swept floor'. ...read more.

Conclusion

Cathy's actions are described after she realises that Heathcliff heard what she said, and went out in search of him. 'where heedless of my expostulations, and the growling thunder, and the great drops that began to plash round her, she remained calling, at intervals, then listening, and then crying outright'. This shows very well the relationship and internal bond that the characters had with the nature around them. It is Bronte's handling of dialect, emotional power and imagination that make the characters realte so closely with their surroundings. It is also her ability to personify objects and elements, to transform them into characters of the novel. The contrast between Thrushcross Grange and Wuthering Heights lies in their external appearances, their interior and their surroundings. Without these the novel would not have such powerful meaning and be so complex. The contrast between them is not just physical, but they also represent apposing forces which are inbodied in their inhabitants. Emily Bronte creates the image of Wuthering Heights and the character of Heathcliff being as one, both being cold, dark and menacing, similar to stormy and forbidding weather. In contrast, Thrushcross Grange and the Lintons are welcoming and peaceful. The personalities of both the house and the family are warm and inviting, due to the exterior and interior of the house, and its protected surroundings. ...read more.

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