Wuthering Heights Questions and Answers
by Emily Brontë

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Discuss the irony/symbolism used in Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights.

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It is indeed ironic that Heathcliff should be regarded as the epitome of barbarism—of all that is wild, impulsive, and savage—when it is the supposedly respectable Hindley Earnshaw who behaves abominably, not just towards Heathcliff but towards everyone else as well. On the surface, Hindley appears to be the ideal representative of so-called civilized society; he has education, wealth, and prospects. However, the abusive way he treats others (especially Heathcliff) is anything but civilized and reveals a heart of darkness beneath his respectable exterior.

With regards to symbolism, ghosts are used by Brontë to represent the persistence of memory in people's lives. The bleak moors which form the backdrop of most of the book's action are haunted, both literally and figuratively. Whether the sightings of ghosts are meant to be real or merely a figment of overactive, superstitious imaginations—there's no doubt that, within the narrative, ghosts symbolize the way in which the very...

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