Wuthering Heights: Setting
Whether it’s the dark, lugubrious Wuthering Heights, or the luxurious, respectable Thrushcross Grange, the settings in Wuthering Heights are very interesting and represent so much more than just places.
The Novel revolves around two central places, Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange. Although other places are mentioned such as Gimmerton, these are the only two places that the novel really takes place in. Due to the lack of space and settings, the novel becomes very claustrophobic and the narrative festers within these two settings. The only place for characters to have freedom is the Moores, the setting that is natural, rugged and not man made. In Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte is able to use the setting of the English moors to show two different aspects of the world and symbolically, the destructive nature of love. At one end there is Wuthering Heights and the evil that results in the cruelty that its inhabitants force upon each other, while the other end is Thrushcross Grange and the naivety and ignorance that results from its “utopia-like” atmosphere. For Heathcliff and Catherine, who will destroy anyone for the other, the only peace that can be reached is in the middle of the two estates where they can live by their own rules. The irony of the story is that Catherine and Heathcliff’s obsessive love not only leads to their destruction, but to the destruction of the others who loved them. It could be argued that the moors are actually the most important setting within the novel. They represent a place of happiness, freedom and tranquillity of the soul. The persistent emphasis on the moors shows us the symbolic importance of the setting in the novel. Bronte uses the moors as a literally tool to show convey the idea of Heathcliff’s, the protagonist, passionate, violent id. A Freudian could argue that the purpose of the moors is to show the reader Heathcliff’s inner feelings and reveal his id.
Bronte’s use of imagery allowed the reader to draw a strong contrast between Thrushcross Grange and Wuthering heights because of her use of detail and narration through both Nelly and Mr. Lockwood. She creates a gloomy aura throughout the Moors and the deteriorating house on Wuthering Heights, while she creates a happy and peaceful aura around Thrushcross Grange. The essence of both main settings is pivotal in making the novel into a masterpiece. Throughout the book both places are juxtaposed and created into binary opposites. Some may argue that Thrushcross represents heaven, and its counterpart hell. Other people have also argued that Wuthering Heights represents everything that is insane in some bodies life, death, hate, revenge and love, while The Grange is much more sane and well.
In the novel objects are used as well as settings to convey specific feeling from Bronte to the reader. Wuthering Heights is not only a proper noun for the home of the Earnshaw’s, yet it is an adjective, we find this out when Mr Lockwood says that “Wuthering” is a significant adjective, as it is “descriptive of the atmospheric tumult to which its station is exposed in stormy weather”. This can be described as pathetic fallacy, especially as at the end of the novel, the narrative seems to exhale and become refreshed from all evil, this can be seen in the line,” “Moths fluttering among the heath and harebells, listened to the soft wind” Compared to the stormy, disturbing weather throughout most of the novel, Bronte has used pathetic fallacy to show the passing of evil, and the brining of harmony to the area.