Wuthering Heights is a Story About Love and Revenge; How Is The Gothic Genre Used To Create Its Dark Destructive Atmosphere.

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Wuthering Heights is a Story

About Love and Revenge; How

Is The Gothic Genre Used To

Create Its Dark Destructive


Introduction to the Gothic Genre

The term 'gothic' originates from the Goths. The Goths were a barbaric tribe of German invaders of the third century. The word ‘Gothic’ symbolises cruelty, darkness and pure evil. Many of the first novels had very strong gothic themes. 'The Mysteries of Udolpho' by Anne Radcliffe is one example, which was written in the eighteenth century. The Gothic Genre doesn't just apply to novels; it also applies to architecture, culture, print and clothes. In the nineteenth century gothic genre divided into two sub-divisions, horror and detective fiction for example. Wilkie Collins ‘The Moonstone’ and 'Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Hound of the Bastervilles' a Sherlock Holmes Story are both examples of detective fiction. An example of horror fiction is Bram Stoker’s Frankenstein! The gothic genre is still popular in todays modern world, for example Stephen King’s novels. The gothic genre is also popular in the cinema. The gothic criteria includes: isolation, brooding, eerie atmosphere, extreme weather, the supernatural, secrets, tragic past, medieval links, vulnerable central characters and an evil villain.


Although the novel is a love story, the passion described is intense, violent and very destructive. The gothic genre provides the ideal atmosphere for these emotions. The atmosphere of the novel starts having its effects on the reader as soon as we read the title ‘Wuthering Heights’. The word Wuthering stands for stormy, violent, windy weather; this is very significant since the weather creates a very gothic atmosphere and is linked into the main events of the novel. It also symbolises the conflicting emotional state of the main characters. The word ‘Heights’ shows that The house is situated high up on the moors, but it also symbolises the height of passion that is entangled into the novel, which is a major theme. The other house on the Yorkshire moors is four miles away and it is called Thrushcross Grange, this place sounds civilised and a lot softer than Wuthering Heights. The contrast between the two houses immediately creates tension.

When Mr Lockwood the outsider first visits Wuthering Heights he gets a very negative impression of the place because it seems very hostile and uncomfortable, he is a gentleman and expects to be greeted as such. When he first enters the house the first things he observes are the gargoyles, which have an eerie gothic appearance about them, (put quote here) They give the place an even stronger gothic theme which is developed by references to narrow windows, locked doors, long desolate winding passages and a generally inhospitable atmosphere. When he is attacked by Heathcliff’s vicious dogs it creates a sense of brooding malice because of the violence of the initial attack and by Heathcliff’s uncaring attitude towards it (put quote here).

Lockwood and the reader are shocked by Heathcliff’s response, he is amused and contemptuous of Lockwood. The inhabitants of Wuthering Heights do not seem to be the least bit happy when Lockwood arrives at the house and generally shun him. This shows us that maybe not many people visit Wuthering Heights and that Heathcliff does not entertain very often. He quietly realises that the manners of polite society count for nothing here (put quote here) 

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Under Heathcliff's and Hindley's control Wuthering Heights becomes a place of violence, degradation and strong passions. Although once a fine house it becomes neglected, even corrupted as a place of imprisonment. The gruesome house finally loses its eerie and vengeful atmosphere towards the end of the novel when Hareton and Cathy plant flowers around the house. This is an attempt to civilise Wuthering Heights and shows a more optimistic future (put quote here).

The landscape that surrounds Wuthering Heights is very harsh e.g. 'few stunted and gaunt thorns' this reference to the word ‘gaunt’ creates a sense of hostility and builds ...

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