Wuthering Heights: Ideas Revealed In The Novel
Wuthering Heights is a Gothic-fiction classic written by novelist Emily Brontë (30 July 1818 – 19 December 1848) about a man named Lockwood who rents Thrushcross Grange, one of two manors which his bitter landlord, Heathcliff, owns. He asks his housekeeper, Nelly Dean, about the story behind Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange and she narrates the complicated relationships and conflict between the two affluent families who previously owned them. Contemporaneous reviews created controversial opinions on this novel, as it defied the strict Victorian rules regarding social classes, religion, gender inequality, and moral principles. Brontë effectively incorporates ideas of value to her and the audience of the period in which she lived.
Wuthering Heights communicates the ideas of religion and spirituality, which are of value to the author through the characters and their relationships. Brontë makes several references to both her strict Anglican bringing-up and her unorthodox Christian adulthood. In the 19th century, Christianity was followed devoutly but God was more feared than loved. However, Brontë has expressed her opposing views on this system by employing allusions to the Bible, such as “ She also introduces Joseph, a character whose strong adherence to ritualistic Christianity leads the main characters to make wrong decisions. These ideas are of value to the modern audience because after reading this novel, they can understand how religion, specifically Christianity, was followed in the past. The idea of spirituality is shown by Catherine and Heathcliff’s passionate romance and their relentless desire for union, which suggests that they fulfill this through transcendent means. Brontë uses a paradox when Catherine says “he’s more myself than I am”, to show how great Catherine’s love for Heathcliff is. Brontë is well known for being a possible follower of mysticism, a religion in which one strives to attain a connection with God through contemplation and self-surrender. Her beliefs are shown when Lockwood has a nightmare of a specter of a young Catherine Earnshaw, who attempts to enter his bedroom through the window. After he wakes up, Heathcliff comes to know of Lockwood’s dream and wails desperately for ‘Catherine’ to return.
Wuthering Heights also communicates the idea of social classes, which were very rigid in the 19th century because if one’s parents were of a higher class, they would be treated with the same respect, and the same for lower-classed people. However, several of Brontë’s characters change their classes, including Heathcliff, who was treated with contempt by the Lintons because of his unknown heritage, He then disappeared for a few years and came back with great wealth and land, which raised his social status.
Overall, Brontë has successfully communicated the ideas of religion and spirituality, and class in Wuthering Heights. She has incorporated these themes to express her views to both the coeval and present audience, and to show how they were relevant to her at the time.