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'Wuthering heights is a novel of great contrasts'.

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Introduction

'Wuthering heights is a novel of great contrasts' One of the main contrasting elements in Wuthering heights is that of the two houses and the two families, the Linton's and the Earnshaw's. The two houses are split into two separate groups. Thrushcross grange and the Linton's are often seen as the symbolic setting for the 'cultured' and Wuthering heights for the 'savage'. Bronte uses many different tools in order to create a divide between he two households, especially in her use of windows and language which I will go into later. The first contact the reader has with Wuthering heights is when Lockwood, in the first chapter, visits his landlord Heathcliff. In this passage one can begin to build up an image of Wuthering heights. It seems to be a place that could be a home (p2 'one step brought us into the family sitting room,'... 'one end...to the very roof') however it seems that it is the inmates, the ones that had created this savagery who had stopped it becoming as homely as it is suggested it could be (p2 'I observed no signs of roasting or boiling, or baking' ... 'above the chimney were sundry villainous old guns'... ...read more.

Middle

This is the first encounter with the Linton family and Thrushcross grange. As this is part of the symbolic cultured half of the novel Heathcliff and Cathy are shown to be outside, looking in through the window (P33 'the light came from thence...we saw'). The building is described in stark contrast to the cold unwelcoming Wuthering heights (p33 'it was beautiful- a splendid place carpeted with crimson, and crimson- covered chairs ... little soft tapers'). In this first encounter we are shown the reoccurring theme of the 'inside, outside' divide which is created by the use of windows. We are shown this first in the form of Lockwood's dream when Cathy is outside his window trying to get in. (p17 "let me in....I've been a waif for twenty years"). Once again Cathy and Heathcliff are shown to be outside the window in chapter 6. Here it isn't as much a rich/ poor divide as a divide of manners and social position. The Linton's residence at Thrushcross grange isn't far superior to that of the Earnshaw's but it is their manners and breeding that set them apart from the inhabitants of Wuthering heights. ...read more.

Conclusion

In fact it seems that Cathy is the outsider to both houses. She is both savage and cultured, having spent time in both the houses. She is also seen as being outside the windows of both houses, firstly as a ghost to Lockwood (p17 'let me in- let me in') and then later, looking into the house of the Linton's with Heathcliff (p 33 'they had not put up the shutters... we saw- ah!'). She has the same superficial beauty the Linton's exhibit and yet she still retains the cruel temper that comes with being brought up in a life of savagery (p 50 'irresistibly impelled ... eyes with water'). In this complex novel there are many contrasts but most prominently that of the two families and two houses. In both cases it is the main male character (Edgar and Heathcliff) that shows the greatest contrast to the other. Cathy, as an object of desire to both men from both houses is seen almost as the middle ground, she displays character traits of both the cultured and the savage. In her almost split personality we see the way in which Bronte used these elements to show the best and the worst in humankind. ...read more.

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