Wuthering Heights is a novel by Emily Brontë. The novel centers around the intense and passionate love between Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff, and how their all-consuming relationship destroys both themselves and those around them. Wuthering Heights is considered one of the great classics of English literature, and has been adapted for film and television numerous times.
Throughout Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte effectively employs weather and environment to provide insight to the reader into the characters’ emotional experiences. While staying at Thrushcross Grange, Mr. Lockwood made a second journey to see Mr. Heathcliff, and the terrible snow storm he encounters is the first indication that he should have recognized about Heathcliff’s personality.
Mr. Lockwood is very well aware of Wuthering Heights and Heathcliff’s relationship with each other, but he “had not anticipated such a dreary, wild welcome” (Bronte 54). The cold wind whipped against his face, and the snow was so high that it formed a wall in front of him, making it impossible to see the house. This weather symbolizes Heathcliff’s unfriendly and unwelcoming personality, which is later emphasized when Heathcliff treats Mr. Lockwood poorly during his stay.
In addition, the setting of Wuthering Heights itself adds to the dark and uninviting atmosphere surrounding Heathcliff. Wuthering Heights is “dark as midnight–not an object visible” (Bronte 54). The house is rundown and old, which reflects Heathcliff’s own dark soul. Wuthering Heights is a place where “the storm never clears up” (Bronte 54), just as Heathcliff’s heart is always full of anger and hatred.
The second time that weather is used to show character development is when Mr. Lockwood is again visiting Wuthering Heights, and he sees Cathy for the first time in years. The scene opens with a description of the bleak and dreary weather, which once again foreshadows the events to come.
Mr. Lockwood sees Cathy walking across the moors, and she appears to be a ghost because she is so pale and thin. The wind is blowing her hair around her face, and she is dressed all in white. This image of Cathy is in stark contrast to the image of her that Mr. Lockwood remembers from when they were children.
She was always full of life and energy, and now she looks like a shell of her former self. This change in Cathy’s appearance is symbolic of the changes that have taken place in her heart. She is no longer the carefree girl who loved to run and play in the fields. Her heart has been hardened by tragedy and loss, and she is now a shadow of her former self.
Emily Bronte uses weather and setting as effective tools for conveying the inner feelings of her characters. The bleak and dreary descriptions provide insight into the dark souls of Heathcliff and Cathy. The reader is able to see how the events of their lives have shaped them into the people they have become.
The moors are one of the novel’s most important symbols because they represent everything that is good and noble in their love story. They’re also quite significant to their friendship, as they symbolize both characters’ strength and determination. It was a bold move for him to take on his own without any assistance from anyone else, but he knew it was the only way forward.
The plot follows Heathcliff, who rises gradually through his past as an antagonist towards Catherine. He becomes a protector and friend when she leaves Thrushcross Grange at the end of Chapter 6, though her death soon causes him to revert back into evil ways again (as depicted by Chapter 31).
Wuthering Heights was not a place that Lockwood ever felt comfortable, and he found the residents to be quite strange. Heathcliff was the only one who Lockwood could somewhat understand, but even then he was often baffled by Heathcliff’s actions. While Wuthering Heights is not a happy novel, it is one that is full of love, loss, and hope. Emily Bronte tells a story that has captivated readers for generations, and will continue to do so for many years to come.
During his second visit, “the snow began to fall in thick clusters” (7) while he was out walking, and this horrible weather should have been a warning to Lockwood about Heathcliff’s, and the other house members’ genuine natures. He had to bang on the door repeatedly until someone opened it out of the cold so he could come in. The dinner Lockwood was given with “the family” was anything but welcoming.
Heathcliff, Catherine, and Hindley all spoke very little, which made for an incredibly awkward meal. Their behaviour only became more bizarre when Hareton earned the ire of Heathcliff and was subsequently dragged out of his chair by his hair and locked in the cellar. This shocking display caused Lockwood to hasten his leave, but not before being warned by Nelly Dean that Wuthering Heights is a house full of secrets and stories, many of which are best left untold.
The next morning, Lockwood awoke to find himself alone in the house after Nelly had left to attend to some errands. Bored and curious, he decided to explore a bit, starting with Wuthering Heights itself. He soon discovered that the inside of the house was as dark and dreary as the outside, with only a few measly candles providing any light. The furniture was old and covered in dust, and there were no pictures or other forms of decoration to be found anywhere.
Lockwood began to feel uneasy, and his unease only increased when he heard someone moaning inside one of the locked closets upstairs. When he went to investigate, he found that the person making the noise was none other than Heathcliff himself! Heathcliff had been locked in the closet by Nelly as punishment for his bad behaviour, but he did not seem to mind being confined in such a small space. In fact, he seemed almost happy there.
Lockwood was so disturbed by what he saw that he decided to leave Wuthering Heights immediately. As he was leaving, Heathcliff warned him to never come back, or else he would be sorry. Lockwood paid no heed to this warning and vowed to never set foot in that house again.
Despite his vow, Lockwood is inevitably drawn back to Wuthering Heights just a few weeks later when Nelly comes to him in distress. She tells him that Catherine has become gravely ill and is not expected to live much longer. Out of pity, and perhaps a sense of duty, Lockwood agrees to go back to Wuthering Heights one last time to say goodbye to Catherine.
When he arrives, he is shocked to find that Heathcliff has transformed the once beautiful Wuthering Heights into an even more dark and foreboding place. The furniture is now broken and covered in cobwebs, the windows are boarded up, and the only light comes from a few candles that flicker in the wind. It is clear that Heathcliff has gone mad with grief over the impending death of Catherine.
Lockwood is only able to see Catherine for a moment before she dies, but in that brief moment he is able to see how much she loved Heathcliff. She says his name with her last breath, and it is clear that she died happy knowing that Heathcliff would always be by her side.