ANALYSIS OF THE NOVEL WUTHERING HEIGHTS
ANALYSIS OF THE NOVEL WUTHERING HEIGHTS
Wuthering Heights is apparently a compelling story about love and passion. However, the novel is wide in scope as it goes beyond sexual attraction, romance, and mutual dependence. This is because Emily Bronte also provides her readers with powerful comments and insights on matters related to death, morality, and class. The author used illustrations from the Earnshaw and Linton families to demonstrate what happens when societal norms and established order are out of balance. At the heart of the novel is the love between Heathcliff and Catherine. However, the author used a complicated approach to expressing her ideas about love, passion, and romance. The following extract from Chapter 15 provides a good summary of the novel’s main themes and illustrates its complexity: “That’s the grave of Catherine Earnshaw? I loved her long ago and was wretched to lose her, but it is past. I’ve loved many others since my children are dearer to me than she was; and, at death, I shall not rejoice that I am going to her: I shall be sorry that I must leave them!” Will you say so, Heathcliff?’
In chapter 29, Emily Bronte brings a clear picture of events after Edgar is buried. It is evident that Heathcliff wants Cathy back to Wuthering Heights as soon as he arrives at the Grange. The themes of love and passion are effectively expressed in the chapter. Heathcliff’s thirst for revenge is dominant in chapter 29 but Cathy’s responses are used to portray the importance of the themes of love and passion to the author’s story. Notably, Cathy demonstrates that Heathcliff is alone and loveless. In this sense, the author successfully creates a strong relationship between the themes of love and conflict in the chapter. This is specifically seen in Cathy’s response to Heathcliff: “However miserable you make us, we shall still have the revenge of thinking that your cruelty arises from your greater misery.”
Emily Bronte used emotive language to stir the emotions of her readers regarding Heathcliff’s cruelty. The author did not have to show Heathcliff’s acts of vengeance against Linton in Chapter 29 to make her point. The linguistic techniques of the author are effective in eliciting the imagination of the readers on Cathy’s love for Linton and on Heathcliff’s spitefulness. The author makes it clear in the chapter that Linton is unlikely to cross Heathcliff again. Emily Bronte effectively juxtaposes passion and hate in the chapter, as shown by Cathy’s expressive words about Linton: ‘I know he loves me, and for that reason I love him”. Cathy then tells Heathcliff “Nobody loves you—nobody will cry for you when you die! I wouldn’t be you!’
The author successfully applies perspective to enable her readers to develop specific views of events and characters in chapter 29 of her novel (Kusch, 2016). For example, Heathcliff’s revenge-dominated mind is clearly exposed as he narrates his transgressions against Linton. The author’s language in relation to love, passion, and death is far-reaching, as seen in this extract: ‘Why not let Catherine continue here,’ I pleaded, ‘and send Master Linton to her? As you hate them both, you’d not miss them: they can only be a daily plague to your unnatural heart.’ Heathcliff is mostly viewed as an individual without feelings due to his punitive actions against his son and Cathy. However, Heathcliff is apparently tormented by the death of Catherine. It is notable that the author juxtaposed two different traits of Heathcliff to reveal that he is not utterly heartless. The author also used irony to efficiently denote the roles that the main characters should play in the context of the love relationships within the two main families in the novel. For example, Heathcliff tells Cathy “You must come: he’s your concern now; I yield all my interest in him to you.” This statement is ironic because Heathcliff should also show concern for the well-being of his son.
The simile is effectively used in Chapter 29 to denote the bitterness and passion that surround love relationships in the story. For example, Heathcliff says “he’s as bitter as gall at your desertion and its consequences: don’t expect thanks for this noble devotion.” The use of simile adds to the complexity of the author’s thoughts. Regardless of the novel’s complexity, the traits of the main characters are presented in a straightforward manner through the use of similes. For example, Cathy confronts Heathcliff by saying that he is “lonely, like the devil, and envious like him?”
The author fruitfully established relationships between, passion and gothic elements, especially the supernatural in Chapter 29. It can be argued that Emily Bronte is a little excessive with scenes of the supernatural and ghosts in the chapter. It is evident from the larger part of the chapter that Heathcliff is passionate about being followed by Catherine’s spirit because of his love for her. The dominance of the supernatural in the chapter is also seen when Heathcliff says this about Catherine: “You know I was wild after she died; and eternally, from dawn to dawn, praying her to return to me her spirit!” He also says “I looked round impatiently- I felt her by me- I could almost see her and yet I could not!” Here the author states that love is eternal, beyond the natural elements of the Earth.
The themes of love and passion are presented in Chapter 29 in relationship with other themes in the rest of the book, such as conflict and imprisonment. During their conversation with Heathcliff, Cathy and Nelly seem hopeful of their dream that Linton would come and live with them at the Grange regardless of the fact that this would result in major alterations. The conflicting views and desires expressed by Cathy are motivated by both love for Linton and hate for Heathcliff. Cathy reveals her hate for Heathcliff for making her a prisoner. Her passionate hate for Heathcliff is seen when she tries to run as soon as he enters the Grange. Heathcliff grabs her and says “Where would you go.” This shows that Cathy is a prisoner of Heathcliff as much as she is a prisoner of love for Linton.
Brontee, E. (1996). Wuthering Heights. Kusch, C. (2016).
Literary analysis: the basics.