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Wuthering Heights is an important contemporary novel for two reasons: First

because it portrays the life during an early Victorian era very accurately and
honestly hence providing a glimpse of history and second, due to its unique
literary style. The portrayal of women, society, and class may seem foreign to us
contemporary readers as society has changed so much since then, people still
remain the same which is why we can still relate to the feelings and emotions of
the central characters Heathcliff and Catherine as well as those of the
supporting characters. Wuthering Heights is not just a sentimental romance
novel. It teaches us so much about love, life and relationships.

The novel is about two households, two generations, and two pairs of children.
Each of the two main story lines of the two generations comprises 17 chapters.
We find two times of reference:
-a present narrative, that is a kind of present time, when Lockwood rents
Thrushcross Grange, meets his landlord, Heathcliff, and asks Nelly Dean, the
housekeeper, to tell him the story of his landlord.
-a past narrative, that is a kind of past time, where the events told by Nelly
Dean took place.
Both are interrelated and got mixed during the novel, since the action extends to
the present narrative, and the book opens when it is about to finish. The time
reference go backwards and forwards very easily.

Structurally, the narrative is also told from a paired point of view.


Lockwood grossly misjudges Heathcliff on their first encounter. He writes, "Mr.
Heathcliff and I are such a suitable pair to divide the desolation between us. A
capital fellow!" (1.1). We realize pretty quickly that Heathcliff is a lot of things,
but a "capital fellow" isn't one of them, and it takes Lockwood a while to get the
hint. As narrator, Lockwood is very perceptive to details and changes in the
characters. In addition, his personal style, full of descriptions and his constant
misunderstandings, make him a very likeable character.
Lockwoods narrative style and language is remarkably different from Nellys
style. He writes in an educated literary language, with complex sentences, longer
phrases, words of Latin or Greek origin.
Nellys narrative style is very different from Lockwoods; plain language, shorter
phrases; less sophisticated, but not at all worse. It is very detailed and manages
to get our attention. She dramatizes most of her narrative. While Nelly's story
involves less speculation than Lockwood's, her advice to young Heathcliff reveals
an active imagination, the result of reading perhaps one too many Romantic
novels:

Who knows but your father was Emperor of China, and your mother an Indian
queen, each of them able to buy up, with one week's income, Wuthering Heights
and Thrushcross Grange together? [. . .] Were I in your place, I would frame high
notions of my birth.
She talks from her point of view, not only about the happenings, but about the
characters personalities too; she has prejudices against some characters like
Catherine. Her attitude towards the characters seems to depend on her mood,
because she is a little inconstant. Since she is limited by her values and beliefs,
we are likely to believe that we have a better understanding of the events and
the characters than her.
The narrative technique is not easy to analyse. But it would not have been so
fascinating had the action been explained by the comments of the author, or of
an omniscient narrator. The shifts in the time reference, events, narrators, and
the great role of dialogue catch and keep- our attention immediately.
The complicated frame of narrative voices is almost forgotten during the reading
of the novel absorbed in the plot-, but it gives an essential background, because
it makes the story believable in spite of the supernatural happenings.
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Imagery
Bront's imagery undergirds the atmosphere of the novel and the moods of the
characters. Here are examples.
Wuthering Heights
The isolated locale of Wuthering Heights reflects the alienation and isolation of
Cathy, Heathcliff, Hindley, and Isabella. Mr. Lockwood calls attention to the
isolated setting in the first paragraph of the story: This is certainly a beautiful
country! In all England, I do not believe that I could have fixed on a situation so
completely removed from the stir of society. A perfect misanthropist's heaven:
and Mr. Heathcliff and I are such a suitable pair to divide the desolation between
us."
The wind-swept location is also suggestive of the tempestuous relationships in
the novel.
Nature
The weather, the landscape and other aspects of nature generally reflect the
dark, somber mood of the story and the chill that sickens the hearts of the
central characters. Consider, for example, the following passage at the beginning
of Chapter 2:
Yesterday afternoon set in misty and cold. I had half a mind to spend it by my
study fire, instead of wading through heath and mud to Wuthering Heights. . .

[However] I took my hat, and, after a four-miles' walk, arrived at Heathcliff's


garden-gate just in time to escape the first feathery flakes of a snow-shower.
Gothic Atmosphere
Bront cultivates the Gothic atmosphere of the novel with imagery suggesting
that preternatural forces are at work, as in the following passage:
The light flashed on his features as I spoke. Oh, Mr. Lockwood, I cannot express
what a terrible start I got by the momentary view! Those deep black eyes! That
smile, and ghastly paleness! It appeared to me, not Mr. Heathcliff, but a goblin;
and, in my terror, I let the candle bend towards the wall, and it left me in
darkness. . .
Figures of Speech
Following are examples of figures of speech in the novel:
Alliteration
Repetition of a consonant sound
Chapter 2:......the first feathery flakes of a snow-shower.
Hyperbole
Exaggeration not intended to be taken literally
Chapter 27:....every breath from the hills so full of life, that it seemed whoever
respired it, though dying, might revive.
Metaphor
Comparison of unlike things without using like, as, or than
Chapter 10:....the stab of a knife could not inflict a worse pang than he suffered
at seeing his lady vexed. (Comparison of the effect of vexation to a knife)
Paradox
Contradictory statement that may actually be true
Chapter 17:... a melancholy sweeter than common joy.
Personification
Comparison of thing to a person
"But where did he come from, the little dark thing, harboured by a good man to
his bane?" muttered Superstition, as I dozed into unconsciousness. (Comparison
of superstition to a person)
Simile

Comparison of unlike things using like, as, or than


Chapter 5:......We all kept as mute as mice a full half-hour. . . . (Comparison of
people to mice)