How does the supernatural portrayal in the novel creates the atmosphere of terror and tension?
mrafiq | Student
Emily Bronte has made a lavish use of supernatural elements in her novel Wuthering Heights to create an atmosphere of horror, terror and gloom. Wuthering Heights is replete with numerous supernatural elements which intensifies the brooding atmosphere of the novel. The very opening scene of the novel leaves an impression on our minds that the novel we are going to read will be a sort of horror movie full of uncanny and mysterious elements. Most of the characters are involved in such events which may be regarded as supernatural. For example, Lockwood’s dreams are full of supernatural elements. In one of his dreams, an icy-cold hand of a little girl, who claims that she is Catherine, grasps his hand. Lockwood is so terrified that he pulls the child’s wrist to the broken glass pane and rubs to and fro until it starts bleeding. He says, “My fingers closed on the fingers of a little, ice-cold hand. The intense horror of nightmare came over me: I tried to draw back my arm, but the hand clung to it, and a most melancholy voice sobbed, “Let me in- let me in! I’ve been a waif for twenty years.” The storm is also another element that adds to the brooding atmosphere of the novel. The storm with all its force blows so furiously just after Heathclif overhears Cathy talking to Nelly that it startles everyone in the Wuthering Heights. In the words of Nelly, it was judgement on us. The very character of Heathclif bears supernatural elements. His behavior gives us a feeling that he has been haunted by evil spirits. There is something diabolic about his character that he is always been described as ghoulish, a devil, a goblin, judas and satan. Hindley calls him hellish and a fiend. Towards the end of the novel, we find him saying that he has managed to lift the lid from Cathy’s coffin and has seen her face. The house, Wuthering Heights, stands for barbarism in contrast to the Thruscross Grange, which is a symbol of peace, refined culture and civilization. All the above mentioned elements create a gothic atmosphere in the novel.