Wuthering Heights Questions and Answers
by Emily Brontë

Wuthering Heights book cover
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What are the Gothic elements in Wuthering Heights?

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D. Reynolds eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The gothic genre is characterized by showing the dark or shadowed side of life. A gothic landscape is anything but bright and sunny. It is far more likely to be dark, stormy, isolated, and foreboding. A classic gothic house would be the creepy haunted house with the loose banging shutter that everyone is afraid of. Gothic characters have a sinister quality, and gothic heroines often find themselves in life threatening situations. Further, the supernatural hovers over the gothic.

While Wuthering Heights is more than just a gothic novel, gothic characteristics or motifs are part of the story. The...

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emsteph | Student

Gothic fiction largely concerns itself with evoking terror and dread via atmosphere and themes related to death, the past, imprisonment, and the supernatural. Wuthering Heights fits easily into this tradition as it can easily be categorized as a ghost story, not only because actual apparitions appear (though the reality of the ghosts is up for debate), but because the novel's characters are haunted by past events and tragedies.

The setting is also decidedly gothic: Wuthering Heights itself is an old house dating back to the sixteenth century and the moors which Catherine and Heathcliff love to spend their time on are wild, untamed territory. Gothic literature thrives on settings which display decay (such as Wuthering Heights itself and the churchyard where Heathcliff digs up Catherine's coffin) or the untamed splendor of the natural world (such as the moors).

Lastly, gothic fiction is concerned with heightened emotional states, such as passion and madness, sometimes equating the two. Catherine and Heathcliff's relationship is one of passionate love. This love motivates them to do dangerous, seemingly irrational things, such as when Catherine locks herself in her room for days or when Heathcliff starves baby birds to get Catherine's attention.

abhisek | Student
  • In true gothic fashion boundaries are trespassed, specifically love crossing the boundary between life and death.Bronte incorporated the gothic elements like imprisonment and escape, flight . the persecuted heroine, ghost ,necrophilia, revenge. The weather buffeted Wuthering Heights represent the Gothic castle and like the conventional gothic hero -villain, Heathcliff is a mysterious figure who destroys the beautiful woman he pursues and usurps inheritances.
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