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Setting and weather in ‘Wuthering Heights'

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 888 words Published: 14th Apr 2017

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Consider the importance of setting and weather in ‘Wuthering Heights’

In ‘Wuthering Heights’ the setting is very important. In the novel the setting and weather mirror the mood of some of the characters, their actions and the atmosphere. The three main settings in the novel are the moors, Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange.

The moors are connected with wildness and freedom because no one owns them and people are free to roam them when they please. Heathcliff and Catherine used the moors when they were children as a place to roam free and a place where they could do what they wanted. The moors are also how Catherine describes her relationship between Heathcliff and her relationship with Edgar Linton. She loves them both, but in different ways. Catherine says, “My love for Linton is like the foliage in the woods” and “My love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath.” She describes them as if they were different parts of the moors. This means that her love for Linton is there but maybe not as strong as her enduring love for Heathcliff. This shows that the setting is important because it is used by the characters to describe their relationships and their feelings throughout the story. Maybe the surroundings are used to describe these to make the setting more realistic and believable. Also it is common to use things that are around you every day to compare and portray relationships that you may have with others. Catherine has a strong, firm relationship with Heathcliff that has built up over the years, which is represented by the rocks. She loves Edgar Linton, but she isn’t sure if that love is strong enough to last as long, which is portrayed as “foliage in the woods”. This is because her love for Edgar has developed in a shorter amount of time.

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Nelly describes Heathcliff “hard as Whinstone”. This brings out the elemental, enduring quality of his character. This makes it sound like Heathcliff is a part of the moors and that this is where he has lived all his life. So it makes the moors a part of his character and without the moors his character would be confused and they make his character sound more believable. Nelly also uses imagery to contrast Edgar and Heathcliff. Heathcliff is described as “bleak, hilly coal country”. Edgar is described as “a beautiful fertile valley”. These two descriptions can both be used to describe the moors.

Wuthering Heights is not homely. The house’s name describes its character. Wuthering might gives imagery of a rose withering and dying, like the house was once beautiful and full of life but as the years went on it’s warmth and condition had died and worn away by the weather. The weather around the building is stormy through most of the novel and the description of the outside of the house, “Grotesque carving lavished over the front”, adds to the atmosphere to make it gloomy and cold. This also makes it the house and its surroundings sound un-welcoming. “Foresight to build it strong”. This makes it sound like the moors mainly have bad weather as Wuthering Heights has been built sturdy to be able to with hold the strong winds. The house is suited to the moors and the characteristics of the house make it sound like that Wuthering Heights has been built to survive the weather and the moors. The moors are lonely and not many people live there or like to visit and give the impression that they are harsh and unforgiving. “Gaunt thorns all stretching their limbs one way, as if craving alms of the sun.” This description sounds like the building is a bit overgrown not up kept very well.

The description of the house also represents Heathcliff. He is also not very welcoming. He seems to be not that strong. “The narrow windows are deeply set in the wall and the corners defended with large jutting stones.” This description of the house may represent Heathcliff as well. The windows show his love for Cathy and because the windows are deeply set in the wall it shows that he doesn’t like talking to other people about his feelings. Heathcliff tries to hide them.

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Thrushcross Grange is the opposite of Wuthering Heights. Instead of stormy weather it is normally calm and it represents the other end of the social scale. The house is refined and welcoming. This is shown in the novel when Cathy stays at Thrushcross Grange whilst her ankle is getting better. She started her visit as a wild and free child, but came out better behaved and refined. The house was described as “a splendid place”. Rich colours seem to be apart of the house. “Crimson-covered chairs”, “ceiling bordered by gold”.

The weather symbolises the feelings and actions of the characters. The storms represent a signal for danger and conflict. For example when Heathcliff disappears a tree is struck by lightning. The tree may symbolise Heathcliff and the lightning his feelings. His feelings would hurt him, like the lightning would damage the tree. When Catherine is buried there is a storm. This shows Heathcliff’s grief. Also another storm shows Heathcliff’s feelings when Cathy decides to marry Edgar. Heathcliff was angry at Cathy’s decision and so a storm shows how he is feeling. It is a good and clear way to express their feelings.


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