Wuthering Heights Essay, Research Paper
Emily Bronte s most famous piece of writing, Wuthering Heights is a detailed description of contrasting houses, which embody the two major principles of life in the novel: storm and calm. Gradually depicted is a story of two families, two generations, and two houses located four miles apart over a time lapse of forty years. The novel discloses complex characters such as Heathcliff and Catherine who are affected greatly by their surroundings. Wuthering Heights is the residence of the Earnshaw family who represent the storm and the Lintons, originally from Thrushcross Grange, represent the calm. Emily Bronte uses two contrasting places to show that extremes of emotions are destructive and happiness is found in balance. Discord and hostility are thrust into the lives of those at Thrushcross Grange. The one side of the spectrum with passive, more civilized, and calm tendencies are not safe from the destructive behavior of extreme opposites. However, the Heights and its inhabitants, transpire to have strong, passionate, and stormy qualities. Theses qualities bring about an excess of emotion, which consequently results in violence and conflict as well. A resolution cannot be reached until these two extremes can come together at a mid-point with Hareton and Young Catherine.
Although Thrushcross Grange has beauty and decorum to offer, its lack of emotion complements the type of characters it creates greatly contrasting to Wuthering Height. At first glance, Thrushcross Grange is the ideal dwelling. It is a splendid place carpeted with crimson, and crimson-covered chairs and tables, and a pure white ceiling bordered by gold, a shower of glass-drops hanging with silver chains from the center and shimmering with little soft tapers. The Lintons adorn their household with ornaments and paint a picture portraying their pleasant yet shallow life. From this house pampered, delicate children emerge. Isabella lay screaming at the farther end of the room, shrieking as if witches were running red-hot needles into her. Edgar stood on the hearth weeping silently, and in the middle of the table sat a little dog, shaking its paws and yelping, which, from their mutual accusations, we understood they had nearly pulled in between them. Edgar and Isabella illustrate precisely the character of one from the Thrushcross Grange, spoiled and superficial. This absurd behavior, which occurred over the family pet, gives emphasis to the type of children reared in the house. However as learned from Catherine, just being in the presence of the Grange can change the most bold and saucy girl into a young lady. Cathy [Earnshaw] stayed at Thrushcross Grange five weeks so that, instead of a wild, hatless little savage jumping into the house, rushing to squeeze us all breathless, there lighted from a handsome black pony a very dignified person, with brown ringlets falling form the cover of a feathered beaver, and a long cloth habit, which she was obliged to hold up with both hands that she might sail in. Catherine s unexpected stay at Thrushcross Grange has transformed her into a dignified lady. She has been influenced by the superficiality and high-class, worldliness of the Lintons, and the fashion and courtliness of Mrs. Linton. Thrushcross Grange in essence masked Catherine s true self with fine etiquette and polished manners. Catherine is weakened beyond her will and suppresses all emotions. And as she had no temptation to show her rough side in their company, and had the sense to be ashamed of being rude where she experienced such invariable courtesy, she imposed unwittingly on the old lady and gentleman, bye her ingenious cordiality; gained the admiration of Isabella, and the heart and soul of her brother acquisitions that flattered her from first, for she was full of ambition, and led her to adopt a double character without exactly intending to deceive anyone. Catherine in fact created a double life for herself. Through the influence of the world a gracious lady appeared and hid a headstrong and stubborn side. Exposed to the outside world, this charismatic young lady charmed the Lintons and her brother. Hidden well from company, her boisterous and unruly temperament seems to be concealed by her five weeks of grace acquired at the Grange. Edgar falls in love with the new, refined Catherine, but the same love is not returned. She can only explain her love for Edgar in superficial terms, she loves him because he is handsome and young and because he will be rich. Despite all the disapproving factors, Edgar and Catherine do get married. This however is not true love and will not bring about peace. Edgar later detects a glimpse of the real Catherine, She never had power to conceal her passion, it always set her whole complexion in a blaze. The defiant girl within this character is stronger then her false courtly grace. Edgar is too weak and pallid for the stubborn headstrong Catherine, these two extremes will never be able to find a balance.
While Thruscross Grange has characters that keep a tight control over their emotions despite its beauty, Wuthering Heights contains an overbearing amount of emotion revealing its strength. The Heights are situated on a hill and are constantly buffeted by wild winds and stormy weather. Wuthering being a significant provincial adjective, descriptive of the atmospheric tumult to which its station is exposed in stormy weather. The home of the Earnshaws, Wuthering Heights, is sturdily built to withstand the seasons. The house is able to handle the fierce winds that blow around it and the fiery characters that inhabit it. Heathcliff emerges in the beginning of the novel as starkly as Wuthering Heights. He is a dark-skinned gypsy in aspect, on dress and manners a gentleman: that is, as much a gentleman as many a country squire; rater slovenly, perhaps, yet not looking amiss with his negligence, because he has an erect and handsome figure; and rather morose. He is described tall and strong, yet possesses a crude quality that allows Bronte to personify Wuthering Heights through his character. Here, place and person are a perfect match. Catherine Earnshaw is as well complex character. Her existence at Wuthering Heights reinforces her bold and willful side. She was never so happy as when we were all scolding her at once, and she defying us with her bold, saucy look, and her ready words; Catherine is a young, energetic girl who possesses so many wonderful qualities such as passion, determination, strength, and independence. These qualities unfortunately lead her to be defiant, headstrong, and at times cruel. Teamed together, Heathcliff and Catherine s emotion rage out of control and their passions take over. When their father passes on, they cry pitifully and then are consoled by each other. Their passions as the two come of age intensify for each other. But is was one of their chief amusement to run away to the moors in the morning and remain there all day, and the after punishment grew a mere thing to laugh at. Much of the wildness Heathcliff and Catherine experienced was traced back to the time spent upon the moors. This freedom describes the free-existence of Wuthering Heights. Hindley, another main character, is motivated not towards love by his emotions but towards revenge. When Heathcliff first arrives at Wuthering Heights, he is prepared to give his affection but is quickly shunned by all except Mr. Earnshaw and Catherine. He seemed a sullen, patient child, hardened, perhaps, to ill-treatment; he would stand Hindley s blows without winking or shedding a tear Hindley is jealous, his father s love and affection is bestowed upon a gypsy vagabond and he is turned away. Heathcliff s silence during this brutality is an indication of why he is inclined to be brooding, sullen, and vengeful. A seed of hatred is planted into each one of their hearts. Hindley attempts to take revenge by making Heathcliff a servant to the house when Mr. Earnshaw dies. Years later Heathcliff plots revenge against Hindley by marring Isabella, his sister. Quite the opposite of Thrushcross Grange, Wuthering Heights is no place for the weak. From the beginning of her life at Wuthering Heights, the change in Isabella is evident. But she already partook of the pervading spirit of neglect which encompassed her. Her pretty face was wan and listless, her hair uncurled, some locks hanging lankly down, and some carelessly twisted round her head. She has become dirty and slatternly, and has lost all values bonding herself to Thrushcross Grange. Wuthering Heights has destroyed her past and her present happiness. Everyone who enter the house is affected by the emotions it produces. Isabella consecutively leaves the Heights and takes her son Linton with her. Heathcliff is on a downward spiral. Revenge is breeding revenge and he cannot stop himself. It is an emotion that becomes out of control and does not stop even when he has acquired all that he ever wanted.
Thrushcross Grange is an area of lush vegetation and constrained emotion, Wuthering Heights has unrestricted passions mixed among dark and gloom, and for true love and happiness, a balance must be found. Catherine Linton and Hareton Earnshaw are the balance. She was the most thing that ever brought sunshine into a desolate house a real beauty in face with the Earnshaws handsome dark eyes, but the Lintons fair skin, and small features, and yellow curling hair. He spirit was high, though not rough, and qualified by a heart sensitive and lively excess in its affections. That capacity for intense attachment reminded me of her mother; still she did not resemble her; for she could be soft and mild as a dove, and she had a gentle voice and pensive expression; her anger was never furious, her love never fierce it was deep and tender. Young Cathy appears to be the apple of her father s eye, as well as Nelly s. She has the perfect blend of her father s tender heart and her mother s high-spirited nature. She has the Earnshaws dark, beautiful eyes and the Lintons fair hair and complexion. She is a true reflection of good in the Heights and Thrushcross Grange. Despite Heathcliff s cruelty to Hareton, he cannot extinguish his inner goodness. Still, I thought I could detect in his physiognomy a mind owning better qualities than his father ever possessed. Good things lost amid a wilderness of weeds, to be sure, whose rankness far overtopped their neglected growth, yet, notwithstanding evidence of a wealthy soil, that might yield luxuriant crops under other and favorable circumstances. Nelly had left a positive influence on him and left an impression inside. Hareton wants to learn and Cathy teaches him. True love begins to emerge. I saw she had persuaded him to clear a large space of ground from currant and gooseberry bushes, and they were busy planning an importation of plants from the Grange. The uprooting of Joseph s blackcurrant trees and the substitution from them of flowers imported from the Grange symbolizes the balance created. A part of the Grange is incorporated with the old passing world of the Heights, a perfect blend.
Emily Bronte s masterfully constructed novel of character inciting emotions of passions. Love, hatred, and revenge were major themes throughout Wuthering Heights. Two contrasting places are used to show that extremes of emotions are destructive and happiness is found in balance. Thrushcross grange is a sheltered house where superficial characters develop. Their lack of emotions hurts them in the end. As spoiled children they did not receive love and because of that are not able to give it so freely. Wuthering Hirghts on the other hand has emotions, extreme and intense, getting in the way of true happiness. Harmony is achieved when the second cross generation of Lintons and Earnshaws come together. Cathy and Hareton exemplify the good and true essence of both houses, which have so much to offer. Therefore balance is only achieved when a mid-point between two extremes can be discovered.