In Emily Brontï¿½’s Wuthering Heights, the two places of Thrushcross Grange and Wuthering Heights contrast one another in practically every aspect. The way the houses look, the feeling they give off, and the way the characters inside each home think and act, all have an effect on what each house represents for the characters and the themes in the book. The representation of both places creates a difference between two settings and relates to the theme of good versus evil.
Wuthering Heights is a poorly maintained home set up on the top of a hill that endures the greatest of weather conditions. With violent storms coming in full fury that make thunder sound like it growls in the night. The storms have taken their toll on the grasses with “a few stunted firs at the end of the house; and by a range of gaunt thorns” (10). The structure of Wuthering was built rather edgy having “narrow windows deeply set into the wall, and the corners defending with large jutting stones” (10). The name of the home itself “is a significant provincial adjective, descriptive of the atmospheric tumult to which its station is exposed in stormy weather” (10).
When Lockwood enters, he notices the appearance of the inside of the home. It is not very attractive – boring, dull, dark, and gloomy. He says that the furniture was nothing extraordinary “as belonging to a homely, northern farmer” (11). Lockwood sees that the “floors were of smooth, white stone; the chairs, high-backed, primitive structures, painted green; one or two heavy black ones in the shade” (11). Seems to be a very dismal interior with dismal decor. The dog, too, was not very impressive – just a natural, simple, “olive-coloured bitch pointer” (11). The objects in the house appear drab, like not seeing “any glimmer of copper saucepans and tin cullenders on the walls” (11).
Even the way the people act in the house appears to have a negative effect. A very vivid example of this is when Hindley and Heathcliff get into an argument and Hindley tells him to “take my colt, gypsy then! And I pray that he may break your neck; take him and be damned, you beggarly interloper…only afterwards show him what you are, imp of Satan! And take that – I hope he’ll kick out your brains!” (43). Isabella even questions Heathcliff’s decency when she asks, “is Mr. Heathcliff a man? If so, is he mad? And if not, is he a devil?” (134)
Now, as for Thrushcross Grange, even the name bears more prominence than that of Wuthering Heights. It has a better overall atmosphere. It lies inside a small valley surrounded by a stone wall. It seems that the weather is always clear and peaceful; the opposite of Wuthering Heights, which is just, up the hill. This difference gives the reader the sense of being in a preferred area to be in. The setting is a more civilized one than that of Wuthering Heights. When Cathy and Heathcliff run to Thrushcross Grange, they could see that “light came from thence” (51).
So, they peak inside the window and see that “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” (51). The people of Thrushcross Grange are also more elegant and sophisticated. When the Linton’s dog, Skulker, bites Cathy, she is forced to remain there for five weeks. As a result from her visit, she goes there as an immature little girl, and comes back looking “like a lady now” (55) proving the Lintons are a better social class than the Earnshaws.
One can also contrast the people and the way of life in each home. Living at the Grange was admirable, and living at the Heights was inadequate. The book shows how differences in life can make or break someone. It shows how these differences can give someone the opportunity to take experiences along with them that they would have never learned without the chance to see the differences. By Cathy going from one side of the social status to the other, she is able to experience how life is on both sides. She was raised in Wuthering Heights, experiencing the poor quality of living most of her life. She then meets Edgar, a rich, graceful, well-mannered man, and marries him. With that, she gains the aspects of life in a high society. Through this, she could take bits and pieces with her of each way of life.
Throughout the book, many comparisons are made about the two houses. Through settings, characters, and appearances, one can see how each part of differentiating the homes can affect someone or something in the story. Finding these differences helps one determine what each one represents. The two different feelings that each house gives, puts its own spin on how the way the story turns out.