What is the significance of the title, Wuthering Heights?

The title of Wuthering Heights points to the central setting, the house, Wuthering Heights. This house is symbolic of the internal life of Heathcliff, its main inhabitant. The setting establishes this novel as an ideal example of Romantic and Gothic literature. Therefore, the title is significant because it highlights the central location and themes of the novel.

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The first explanation of Wuthering Heights is given by Mr. Lockwood, who says,

"Wuthering" [is] 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...

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The first explanation of Wuthering Heights is given by Mr. Lockwood, who says,

"Wuthering" [is] 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 firs at the end of the house; and by a range of gaunt thorns all stretching their limbs one way, as if craving alms of the sun.

This shows that Wuthering Heights is a place of extreme, harsh weather that leaves the landscape "stunted" by its force, as well as sharp and thorny, craving the scant sunlight. This description of the landscape serves as a metaphor for how the harsh, dysfunctional Earnshaw family living in Wuthering Heights stunts people like Catherine and Heathcliff, making them unusually "thorny," hard, and difficult people.

Later, when Lockwood asks Mrs. Dean about whether the Earnshaws are an old family, she says yes, and they discuss Heathcliff. A product of the rough environment of the isolated moors, he is, according to Nelly,

Rough as a saw-edge, and hard as whinstone! The less you meddle with him the better.

Wuthering Heights is also a name intimately connected with the moors. People on the moors, Nelly says again, are different from others, stronger, hardier, and more self reliant, because of the circumstances that have formed them. Both Catherine and Heathcliff, who spend so much time on the "wuthering" or windy moors, are "wild" children, according to Nelly.

Finally, Catherine shows the extent to which she is joined to the harsh, "wuthering" moors when she says to Nelly that she does not wish to go to a gentle heaven. She states,

I was only going to say that heaven did not seem to be my home; and I broke my heart with weeping to come back to earth; and the angels were so angry that they flung me out into the middle of the heath on the top of Wuthering Heights; where I woke sobbing for joy.

The formation the moors and Wuthering Heights offer set Catherine and Heathcliff apart. As Catherine goes on to explain to Nelly, she is different from people like Edgar, who are softer and more gentle because they have not had to face the harsh circumstances that she and Heathcliff have. The much more conventional Edgar is like the changeable foliage to her, while Heathcliff is, like her, made of the sterner rock of the moors.

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Emily Brontë’s 1847 novel Wuthering Heights is frequently used as a standard example of Romantic and Gothic literature. This is because one of the defining features of Romantic and Gothic literature is the setting, which is used to create the dark and foreboding atmosphere. The title of this novel is significant because it refers to the setting of most of the novel the house Wuthering Heights. This house is set in the moors, which also creates the eerie atmosphere.

In the opening of the novel, Brontë’s narrator, Mr. Lockwood, describes the setting:

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...Before passing the threshold, I paused to admire a quality of grotesque carving lavished over the front, and especially about the principal door (chapter 1).

Throughout the novel, the details about Wuthering Heights further cement it as a Gothic setting. The house reflects its inhabitants, which is another common element of Romantic literature. Heathcliff, the master of the house, is frequently shown in the guarding the doorway of the house. There is power in controlling property, as is displayed with Heathcliff’s actions.

His tumultuous emotional life and his need to show dominance are exhibited by his actions concerning Wuthering Heights. He was not initially welcomed into Wuthering Heights, so he continues this behavior by barring others from entering his emotional and physical sphere. This distancing of himself based on an emotional scar is a frequent element of Gothic literature.

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Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë is a fundamentally Gothic novel. One of the standard devices of this genre is to create an emotional mood through the use of picturesque landscape. This notion of landscape as reflecting the emotions of characters is sometimes known as the "pathetic fallacy" by literary critics, as nature does not actually respond to our moods. Nonetheless, it is a technique not intended to be accurate but emotionally evocative. 

In particular, the local windy and inhospitable microclimate surrounding the house is intended to suggest the character of those who live within it, including their erratic behavior, strong passions, and unhappiness. The use of the house's name in the title emphasizes that the protagonists of the novel and the plot have an emotional center in this house rather than Thrushcross Grange. 

The term "wuthering" is an actual word meaning windy or blustering weather. It is, however, not a common term but rather one associated with Yorkshire dialect, and thus it serves to localize the novel. The narrator mentions this in the following passage:

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. 

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As is usually the case with authors, Bronte chose her novel's title carefully. The title actually represents more than one important aspect of the novel.

The setting of Wuthering Heignts is the northern English moors, a rough, inhospitable climate prone to the harshest of winters.  The house by the same name sits high on a hill near some rocky crags.  The word "wuthering" means, as Lockwood tells us, being prone to "...atmospheric tumult...in stormy weather" (Bronte). The area is pummeled by high winds throughout most of the year.

As a result, the architecture of the house must be such that can deflect the wind's damage.  Deeply inset windows and jutted corners are two examples; this particular architecture can make the house appear dark and cold, both outside and inside.

The windy, stormy weather and the necessary architecture reflect of the lives of the family who lives inside.  Their relationships and situations are stormy and dark, just as their home and setting are stormy and dark, as contrasted with neighboring Thrushcross Grange, situated in a grassy, lower-lying area. Thus the reader is focused on the harsher setting and asked to consider its effect on the inhabitants of the home.

 

 

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