How does Emily Bronte use different setting to illustrate important ideas in Wuthering Heights? Essay

In this coursework I am going to take about the contrast of Wuthering heights and Thrushcross Grange. I am going to talk about the different Settings of Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange. I am also going to talk about the contrast of nature and civilisation, the destructive effects of the social class system and self less and social love.

The contrast of Nature and civilisation is a major part in illustrating the different settings of the two houses. Firstly the names of the houses say a lot about them, ‘Wuthering’ meaning a fierce, harsh wind, and ‘Heights’ means on a hill, this shows that this house is a house on a hill which is exposed to the elements and that it is a wild and primitive place and represents nature.

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“No wonder the grass grown up between the flags, and cattle are the only hedge cutters.” This shows how natural the house is, they don’t cut the grass themselves, they just let the cattle do it.

Thrushcross grange is quite the opposite, ‘Thrush’ is a small, soft, fragile bird and ‘cross’ is a sign of Christianity, this is showing that this house is soft, well kept and civilised.

“And planted ourselves on a flowerpot under the drawing-room window.” The fact that they have flowerpots is a big difference from Wuthering Heights, is shows that nature has been civilised by man.

Wuthering heights has thick walls with reinforced corner stones, this suggests that it needs to be defended from nature. Emily Bront� uses personification to show how desolate and windswept the house is.

“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 it is a very strong wind that the house has to withstand so you can understand why the corner stones are reinforced.”

Thrushcross Grange on the other hand is in a park, this is a place where human has tamed and civilised nature. “We ran from the top of the heights to the park.” The fact that Thrushcross grange is in a park shows that the owner mush b rich.

The first impressions of both houses are very powerful. When Lockwood goes to Wuthering Heights he is struck by the ‘grotesque’ carvings above the door

“Before passing the threshold, I paused to admire a quantity of grotesque carvings lavished over the front”

When young Heathcliff is describing what he sees through the window at Thrushcross Grange he exclaims,

“Ah! It was beautiful-a splendid place carpeted with crimson, and crimson covered chairs and tables, and a pure white ceiling bordered by gold, a shower of glass drops hanging in silver chains from the centre and shimmering with little soft tapers.” This description of the room is amazing coming from a little boy; it shows how amazed he was when he saw it. He also says

“We should have thought ourselves in heaven” this connects the name of the house to Christianity once again.

The rooms in Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross grange are very different and have very different purposes. At Wuthering Heights, you arrive straight into a functional room. There is no lobby or passage. Lockwood notices functional items,

“pewter dishes, interspersed with silver jugs and tankards, towering row after row,

on a vast oak dresser” These objects are meant to be used. The ‘Villainous old guns’ Are a sharp reminder of the struggle for survival.

The rooms at Thrushcross grange are used more for leisure. The Children peer in through the ‘drawing room’ window; this is a room which is used to entertain guests. Drawing rooms are for people who don’t have to work.

In Wuthering heights there is a lack of luxury, the floors are flagstones

“The floor was of smooth white stone” there is no carpet. The chairs are hard and painted rather that upholstered.

The items in Thrushcross grange on the other hand are very luxurious; they have chandeliers, a sofa. And the chairs are covered in crimson cloth.

This leads straight onto a discussion of materials and colours and materials. At Wuthering heights all of the colours are natural, oak dressers and stone floor, the colours mentioned is green. The colours mentioned at Thrushcross grange are crimson, a rich red, gold, silver, and white, these are all colours of royalty, civilisation, and wealth. This is echoed by the sound effects of the words, the writer chooses soft sibilants sounds “a shower of glass drops hanging in silver chains from the centre, and shimmering with little soft tapers” There is a contrast between hard at Wuthering heights and soft at Thrushcross grange.

Several of the descriptions at Wuthering heights suggest massiveness, “Large, jutting stones”, “immense pewter dishes”, “vast oak dresser”, “huge liver-coloured bitch pointer”

The descriptions of Thrushcross Grange are much daintier, “shimmering with little tapers”, “little dog” This could be to reflect the emotions and passions at both places, at Wuthering heights passions are grand and eternal, but at Thrushcross grange they are small tame things.

It is noticeable that at Wuthering heights the food is hearty and sustaining, not fancy food, they eat oatcakes, legs of beef or mutton. They eat this food because they work hard in the fields, and do lots of physical labour, and they need this kind of food to keep them going and fill them up. At Thrushcross grange they eat fancy food; Cathy is given “a plate of cakes” and has a jug of Negus, this kind of food is for people who don’t need to eat a lot because they don’t do any physical work that makes them need sustaining food that hey have at Wuthering heights.

Perhaps one of the strongest contrasts between the worlds of Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange is in the people who live there. Cathy and Heathcliff who live at Wuthering Heights are very energetic ” we ran from the top of the heights to the park” which was about 4 miles, and Cathy ran without shoes because she lost them in the bog, this shows that the two children are very lively and hardy, in contrast to this Edgar and Isabella who live at Thrushcross Grange are first seen inside the house.

Both children from Wuthering heights are brave, when Cathy is attacked by a huge guard dog she does not cry out. Heathcliff says, “she would have scorned to do it, if she had been spitted on the horns of a mad cow”. The Linton’s children however are described as cowardly, we see them crying because they have been fighting over a little dog, and they cry and scream then they see Heathcliff and Cathy at the window.

Cathy and Heathcliff are amazingly loyal to each other, they both put the other before him/herself, when they try to run from Thrushcross grange they are holding hands, when Cathy is caught by the guard dog she says “run, Heathcliff, run, “even thought she is in a lot of pain and probably very scared she is still thinking about Heathcliff, she wants him to get away, but Heathcliff refuses to leave her, he braves all to stay with her and swears that he would ” shatter their great glass panes into a million pieces” if she wants to come home with him. Edgar and Isabella on the other hand are seen as selfish, they fight over pointless objects just for the sake of possession. Heathcliff is bewildered by this “when would you catch me wishing to have something what Cathy wanted?” this shows how loving Heathcliff is towards Cathy, he would never take anything that she wanted.

The language used by the two sets of children is very different, Heathcliff swears and curses a lot, which shows that he is violent and wild he is, whereas Isabella is describes as lisping “frightful thing!”.

Thrushcross grange has a civilising effect on Cathy. As soon as they get her inside, they clean her up; they wash feet, then dry and comb her hair.

Heathcliff is not welcome at Thrushcross grange, He is not Earnshaw’s child, and he is dismissed as a ‘gipsy’, ‘that strange acquisition’, “frightful thing”, “a little lascar, or an American or Spanish castaway”, Heathcliff is ordered away from Cathy, and he remarks that Cathy “was a young woman and they made their distinction between her treatment and mine”, Heathcliff feels that Cathy is too good for him, because she is a young woman now.

Both houses have dogs. The dogs at Wuthering heights seem ferocious and turn on Lockwood, “was sneaking wolfishly to the back of my legs, her lip curled, and her white teeth watering for a snatch”. The first dog we see at Thrushcross grange is described as “a little pile of warm hair” shaking its paw and yelping after the Linton’s children have been fighting over it. However Skulker, the guard dog at Thrushcross grange actually mauls Cathy and cripples her for some weeks, The Linton’s seen much more civilised than the Earnshaw’s, but in fact they are no better when it comes to protecting their property and privilege.

In conclusion, I think that Emily Bront� is saying that nature is better than civilisation. As a child she was a revenants daughter and she spent a lot of time walking in the moors and being close to nature, she believes that just because you have a big lavish house you are better than anyone else.


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