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THE DESTRUCTIVINESS OF LOVE IN WUTHERING HEIGHTS

Andra Georgiana JIANU Universitatea din Pitesti, Facultatea de Litere, Romana-Engleza, Anul II

Abstract: Emily Bronte s WUTHERING HEIGHTS describes love in the most uncommon way ever possible, in a special language and rhythm, and the process of destructiveness of love as poetical as the former.
Wuthering Heights is the only novel by Emily Bronte and it was first published in 1847 under the pseudonym Ellis Bell. The postum secound edition was edited by Emily Bronte s sister, Charlotte Bronte. In this novel, the author creates themes regarding love, hatred, revenge, rage, supernatural elements, images and a lot of symbols that all in all are circled in the book which title comes from the Yorkshire manor on the moors on which the story centres: as an adjective, wuthering is a Yorkshire word that referrs to turbulent weather. This turbulent weather at its best height prepares the reader to understand the beauty within the destructiviness of love. However, it is not easy to decide whether Bronte intends the reader to condemn these lovers as blame worthy or to idealize morality (www.sparknotes.com/lit/wuthering/themes.html). Charlotte Bronte in the editor s preface of Wuthering Heights emphasizes the rusticity of Wuthering Heights , saying that: It is all through. It is moorish, and wild, and knotty as a root of heath. Nor was it natural that it should be otherwise; the author being herself a native and nursling of the moors (Emily Bronte, 1994, p 14). In other words, in Emily Bronte s novel appear images of her dark side, of what she lived, talked with and saw in her childhood, all gathered in a romantic ensemble, where the reality of the place creates its own story that never changes, as the wind does. << Wuthering Heights has always been understood as a provincial novel, portraying violent and brutal extremes of behaviour and set in a wildly romantic landscape>>( Patrick Parrinder, 2006, p 261). In Wuthering Heights there are some major themes, like love,hatred and a minor theme, that of revenge. Moreover, in the background of the novel can be noticed another theme the Supernatural as a theme. In order to colour the th th frame of the action, the author sketched the precariousness of social class of the late 18 century and early 19 century British society, a new theme which it is to be considered as a class status that is crucial in the character s motivations. The major theme of the novel is love. This theme regards the special affinity that exists between Heathcliff and Catherine. Their own strong personalities, coupled with their various mistakes and failures, compound their problems. Consequentyly, life keeps them apart, even though they both pledge their love and devotion to one another (www.pinkmonkey.com/booknotes/monkeynotes/pmwuthering73.asp). Catherine is set between her own class and upbringing. Some may say the passion of Catherine and her adopted brother, the orphan Heathcliff (a significantly unChristian name), is an elemental affinity rather than a romantic sexual love. As children, they play together on the moor in a portic landscape more firmly visualized than any before those of Thomas Hardy ( Patrick Parrinder, 2006). A part of her loves Edgar and his kind of life he represents, but another part of her knows that her love for Heathcliff is very special and beyond comparison. Catherine tells the housekeeper, Nelly Dean, who is a witness to all that love, hatred and revenge, of her love for Heathcliff, even if she takes the decision of marrying Edgar Linton: My love for Linton is like the foliage in the woods. Time will change it, I m well aware, as winter changes the trees my love for Heathcliff resembles the ethernal rocks beneath: a source of little visible delight, but necessary. Nelly, I am Heathcliff he s always, always in my mind - not as a pleasure, any more than I am always a pleasure to myself, but as my own being (idem). Because of marrying Edgar, their feelings turn into bitterness,

hatred and rage. As a result, Catherine dies after giving birth to Cathy, her and Edgar s daughter, who is her double, a motif that is often showed in Emily Bronte s book. Without Catherine Earnshow or Linton, Heathcliff becomes a bitter, revengeful man. His emptiness is accentuated by her death, when previously by her parting, and he, with his devlish looks outside and inside, encourages her soul to never rest in peace, but to come and hunt him forever. This is somehow showed as a supernatural theme. It is only through death that they can be eternally united. Appropriately, after Heathcliff s death their spirits are seen wandering together on the moors ( www.pinkmonkey.com/booknotes/monkeynotes/pmwuthering73.asp). Some say that: Heathcliff s death sums up the novel s themes of dynastic succession, sin and punishment, excommunication, and devilworship ( >>( Patrick Parrinder, 2006, p 264). The theme of revenge, as a minor one, is also very important, because Heathcliff, being abused by his brother Hindley, he promisses to get revenge on the Earnshows and on the Lintons, when Cathy betrays him by marrying Edgar Linton. Heathcliff becomes a cruel and unfeeling demon as he carries out his plan. In vengeance, he marries Isabella, the simple and infatuated sister of Edgar Linton. He mistreats Hareton, Hindley s son, in the same way he has been mistreated and he takes advantage of the drunken, gambling Hindley, winning Wuthering Heights from him as the collateral for his gambling losses. In fact, it is revenge that dominates Heathcliff s life and the secound half of the novel (www.pinkmonkey.com/booknotes/monkeynotes/pmwuthering73.asp). In the end, Heathcliff is unable to fully carry out his plan of revenge against Hareton and Catherine s daughter, Cathy, because they are the doubles of him and Catherine Earnshow. He waits for death to reunite him with his lover Catherine. This is how the destructiveness of love between the main characters in their pittyful life becomes undestructive in their spiritual life, hunting the earth - they are now more alive then dead - and by leaving their doubles live their love at full length. Moreover, in the editor s preface, Charlotte Bronte talks about her sister and her determination to create such characters. Her imagionation, which was a spirit more sombre than sunny, more powerfull than sportive, found in such traits material whence it wrought creations like Heathcliff, like Earnshow, like Catherine[ ] . The characters seem to be spirits so lost and fallen; if it was complained that the mere hearing of certain vivid and fearful scenes banished sleep by night, and disturbed mental peace by day , it is all about complainant of affectation (Emily Bronte, 1994, p 15). Furthermore, she puts her in the author s place when creating the example of constancy and tenderness of Edgar Linton as a type of character, by saying that even though these qualities do no shine so well incarnated in a man as they would do in a woman , that her sister, Emily Bronte, thought of this, because nothing moved her more than any insinuation that the faithfulness and clemency, the long-suffering and loving-kindness ehich are esteemed virtues in the daughters of Eve, because foibles in the sons of Adam (idem). When talking about the supernatural element in Bronte s work, of the unseen world, beyond the tangible, visible earth, it is shown that a connection with this world of darkness is vital for the dark side of the devil character , when Heathcliff declares: I have a strong faith in ghosts[ ] I have a conviction that they can, and do, exist among us (idem). Also, when Catherine is delirious, she vows that she will not lie in the churchyard alone without Heathcliff, and she keeps her word, for her spirit haunts him in his mortal life(www.pinkmonkey.com/booknotes/monkeynotes/pmwuthering73.asp). When referring to symbolism and imagery in Wuthering Heights , Emily Bronte uses them to make a parallel between the two houses, Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange, the former representing a storm and the latter the calm. Moreover, animal imagery is used by the author to project her insights into human character. Catherine describes Heathcliff as wolfish man, Isabella Linton compares him to a tiger, or a venomous serpent, Edgar Linton is a lamb that threatens like a bull, while Linton, Heathcliff s son, is a pulling chicken. In the novel, the symbolism is shown on the night when Heathcliff departures from the Heights, when the storm comes emphasizing his fury. It symbolizes the storm that eventually destroys the love of Cathy and Heathcliff and also their life on this earth. Another one appears when after three years, on Heathcliff s return, he and Catherine meet by the light of the fire, symbolizing the warmth of their love, or when she appears in the night, in the kitchen when it is again a storm, the lightning makes her seem a ghost; this scene emphasizes the fact that she will die and she will become a spirit later in the novel. Another symbol in Wuthering Heights and maybe the most important one are the moors, which are wide, wild expanses, high but somewhat soggy, and thus infertile. Moorland cannot be cultivated, and its uniformity makes navigation

difficult. Thus, the moors serve verry well as symbols of the wild threat posed by nature. As the setting for the beginnings of Cathy and Heathcliff s bond (the two play on the moors during childhood), the moorland transfer its symbolic associations onto the love affair (www.sparknotes.com/lit/whutering/themes.html) . The novel, Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, starts and ends round by structure, action and characters, has in the end a happy ending, where Emily Bronte s sister, Charlotte, would say that much of <<Wuthering Heights>> broods <<a horror of a great darkness>>; that, in its storm heated and electrical atmosphere, we seem at times to breathe lightning[ ]; where there are clouded daylight and eclipsed sun still attest their existence (Emily Bronte, 1994, p 15), and others would just satisfy their reading by saying that the novel s greatness comes from the beauty and the poetic destructiviness of love.

Bibliography: Alexander, Michael, A History of English Literature, Palgrave Foundations, Hampshire, 2000, 2007 Bronte, Emily, Wuthering Heights, Penguin Popular Classics, Berkshire, 1994 Parrinder, Patrick, Nation & Novel. The English Novel from its Origins to the Present Day, Oxford University Press, New York, 2006 www.pinkmonkey.com/booknotes/monkeynotes/pmwuthering73.asp www.sparknotes.com/lit/wuthering/themes.html

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