How does the setting advance the plot in Wuthering Heights?

Expert Answers
accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

An important aspect of this novel is the conflict that exists between nature in its pure, untrammelled form and civilisation. These two forces are symbolically pitted against each other through the setting, and in particular the two houses of Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange. Let us remember that Wuthering Heights is a house that is exposed to the elements on the moors, whereas Thrushcross Grange is more protected and refined compared to the brute emotions that range in Wuthering Heights. The fact that Heathcliff and Cathy, two characters that are ruled by their emotions and passions and not by ideas of social propriety and custom live at Wuthering Heights is particularly important. In the same way, that the Lintons live at Thrushcross Grange indicates the way that their characters are ruled by convention, society and culture.

These two opposing sides first clash when, in Chapter Six, Cathy is taken into Thrushcross Grange and cared for, being treated like a lady for the first time in her life. It is this that causes Cathy to reject Heathcliff as a husband in Chapter 9, as she values society over her own more passionate instincts. The setting of this novel is therefore crucial to developing its plot and in particular, the central conflict that rages throughout its pages as untamed passions battle with the forces of society and civilisation.