Wuthering Heights: The Theme Of Humans Suffering

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Emily Bronte’s novel Wuthering Heights, explains the up and downs of love between each character in the book. Describing the tempestuous life of Heathcliff and his interactions with Catherine, the dynamic between the characters is arduous, full of betrayal, hate, and revenge. Bronte displays how emotions drive people to act irrationally, and their decisions, for some, could haunt them forever. When looking at the novel, nature/weather/seasons motif, we can infer the theme: The human expression of somber emotion inevitably follows suffering.

Throughout the novel, Bronte employs eloquent descriptions of the weather which supports the solemness of the characters. At the beginning of the novel, Mr. Earnshaw “began to fail”, falling ill, breaths away from dying. He eventually “ died quietly in his chair one October evening.” encompassed by his grief-stricken family. Immediately after his death a “ high wind blustered around the house and roared in the chimney” it was described as “ wild and stormy, yet it was not cold” The death of Mr. Earnshaw evokes a somber cloud among the family members. They undoubtedly feel complete agony at the loss of their dad, friend, and companion. The emphasis on sadness is exhibited through the powerful flurry the crossed through the house. Similar to the wind, Earnshaw’s feelings are chaotic, bearing the weight of the tragic situation. The sadness that overpowers every other emotion is just as impactful as the wind they had endured, showing the intense somber emotion after experiencing hardships.

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Later on in the book, Catherine speaks to her housemaid Nelly who Heathcliff and Catherine are close to. Without realizing Heathcliff in hearing distance, Catherine admits to Nelly that “ it would degrade her to marry” Heathcliff. Stunned in sadness and grief he continues to “ rise off the bench, and steal out noiselessly” Heathcliff then goes off and disappears. Eventually Nelly and Catherine venture out in the storm to look for Heathcliff. Nelly illustrates that “ about midnight” there was “violent wind, as well as thunder, and either one or the other split a tree off at the corner of the building”. The turbulent weather continued to inflict calamity, causing “a portion of the east chimney-stack” to fall, and “sending a clatter of stones and soot into the kitchen-fire”. The heightened weather enables the nature of the scene to be portrayed by the destructiveness of Heathcliff’s brokenhearted departure and the storm. Catherine is devastated by his vanishing, her love for him never left and she would also leave heartbroken. She falls into a bleak state since Heathcliff has left her, and she can not bear to live without him. Heathcliff himself is left broken after hearing the words that cut his heart, after hearing the love of his life said how she would be ashamed to be married to him. The betrayal Heathcliff felt sent him into a downward spiral of anguish. After experiencing the traumatic hardship of being betrayed by a loved one, mournful emotion is inevitable.

Finally, at the end of the book, Cathy goes to visit Linton in the midst of Edgar dying. During their excursion, Catherine’s face “was just like the landscape” the “shadows and sunshine flitting over it in rapid succession” however, the shadows rested longer and the sunshine was more transient”. The solemn emphasis of the drowning shadows and the fleeting sunshine on Catherine’s face portrays the inner struggles she has faced in life, the decision to leave her father’s side and take the unwanted trip to visit Linton. She somewhat trusts Linton for his letters bore few or no indications of his defective character.’ Unknowing that she will inevitably be betrayed by him who buckles under into his father’s threats. The use of nature expresses the pain of losing her last immediate family member and the uneasiness on her trip to visit Linton.

Wuthering Heights is a story full of drama and revenge-fueled by one’s personal feelings. Emily Bronte is able to convey a sense of passion is throughout the novel, which is demonstrated through the character and is felt by the reader. The weather/ nature/ seasons motif implements the theme: inevitably, human expression of somber emotion follows suffering. 


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