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Language and Identity in Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights: A study of environmental metaphors and characterization.

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Introduction

Language and Identity in Emily Bront�`s Wuthering Heights A study of environmental metaphors and characterization. Engl. 330/3 Jeremy P. Chapman Emily Bront�' s Wuthering Heights is a novel that depends heavily on descriptive writing in order to illustrate details of her character's inner thoughts and being. Language functions as a social and sexual mediator in this book, and performs many additional functions. Language is the tool that undoes Catherine Linton, language is what Hareton is lacking, and through Nelly, language is how we hear the tale of Wuthering Heights itself. Identity through writing is the goal of most writings, and in Wuthering Heights Bront� succeeds admirably. The majority of the metaphors that are employed in Wuthering Heights are environmental, pertaining to the surrounding countryside or its non-human inhabitants. This essay will discuss the language Bront� has used in order to give further meaning to her main characters, and will focus especially on metaphors taken from the natural world of Wuthering Heights. Heathcliff is probably the most deeply despised character in the book, by both readers and characters alike. From the very start of the novel, when Lockwood (the narrator at the moment) ...read more.

Middle

She is destined for a life of womanly marriage and a sorrowful death, he to the life of a rough traveller at first and bitter tyranny at last. She is a gentler soul than he, and her affection for him stems from the time that she was able to roam free over the moors with him, when their relation was without, for the most part, sexual or social pressures. The fact that Catherine refers to Linton as being as a "moonbeam" and "frost" shows a fair amount about her regard for him. He is more distant and cool than Heathcliff, who is "lightning" and "fire". The cold/hot duality of these characters is interesting, giving further proof of the elemental nature of their identity. Linton as the sedate and genteel husband, Heathcliff as the stormy and fiery lover. Catherine at times does tire of Heathcliff, and desires more intellectual stimulation. Once, annoyed at Heathcliff, she describes the contrast between Linton and Heathcliff: "The contrast resembled what you see in exchanging a bleak, hilly, coal country for a beautiful fertile valley..."(p.69). Here, the environmental metaphor works again, contrasting craggy lifeless country with a pastoral valley full of life. ...read more.

Conclusion

In the end, the bluster of the Heights claims back those that it gave rise to, and Lockwood closes the novel, saying " I sought, and soon discovered, the three headstones on the slope next the moor- the middle one grey, and half buried in the heath; Edgar Linton's only harmonized by the turf and moss creeping up its foot; Heathcliff's still bare. I lingered round them, under that benign sky; watched the moths fluttering among the heath and harebells, listened to the soft wind breathing through the grass, and wondered how any one could ever imagine unquiet slumbers for the sleepers in that quiet earth." The middle stone- Catherine's is almost wholly reclaimed by the heath, Edgar's "harmonizes" with the surroundings, and Heathcliff's is bare. Notwithstanding the order in which they were buried, Heathcliff is at the last the least attached to this place, having been imported from the city as a child. The two others, natives of the Heights, seem at peace, and one can hardly imagine "unquiet slumbers" for them; Heathcliff's grave is less convincing, and it could be imagined that he is still stalking the heath, mournfully crying Catherine's name, forever searching for his childhood love, and reminding the present day occupants of the horrors that took place at Wuthering Heights. ...read more.

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