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Wuthering Heights

by Emily Brontë
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E. Bronte found consolation "only in sad and rough, but pure and powerful realms of nature." Is this statement true of her novel Wuthering Heights?

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In the opening chapter of the novel the power of nature is something that is described to us by the unreliable narrator of this tale, Lockwood, as he talks about the appearance of the house of Wuthering Heights and where it is positioned. His words create an important contrast between the two central houses in the tale and the ways in which they are used to symbolically create a divide between civilisation and nature. Note how Lockwood describes Wuthering Heights:

Wuthering Heights is the name of Mr. Heathcliff's dwelling, "Wuthering" being a significant provincial adjective, descriptive of the atmospheric tumult to which its station is exposed in stormy weather. Pure, bracing ventilation they must have up there, at all times, indeed: one may guess the power of the north wind, blowing over the edge, by the excessive slant of a few, stunted first at the end of the house; and by a range of gaunt thorns all stretching their limbs one way, as if crazing alms of the sun.

Wuthering Heights, then, is a house that is exposed to the raw elements in all of their fury, and at numerous times in the novel it is shaken by storms, particularly after Heathcliff leaves when he has overheard Cathy telling Nelly she will marry Edgar and why. Throughout the novel, various characters show that they are more suited temperamentally to life in Wuthering Heights with its exposure to the bracing elements of nature, such as Heathcliff and Cathy. It is highly symbolic that after Heathcliff's death, Hareton and the younger Cathy shut up Wuthering Heights leaving it to the "ghosts" that prowl there still, moving to Thrushcross Grange, which is more sheltered and protected.

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