The Juxtaposition Between Nature And Man In Wuthering Heights

1281 words - 5 pages

Set at the end of the eighteenth century, Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë is a mysterious book that maintains the reader on the edge of their seat as Brontë explores the dark side of love, revenge, and the juxtaposition between nature and man. But had Wuthering Heights been set in another time period, many situations-from Heathcliff’s arrival to the Earnshaw family to the union of Hareton and Cathy-may not have occurred. It should also be noted that many events consisted of an eerie, strange feel to them-a similar style seen in many Gothic novels, a popular genre in the eighteen and nineteen hundreds.
One of the most important occasions in Wuthering Heights was the fateful day when Mr. Earnshaw came back from Liverpool with a homeless child, who was named Heathcliff. In the nineteenth century, the economy of England had suffered after the war against Napoleon’s France and Liverpool did not have the best reputation, having problems such as being the home of 1,200 thieves under the age of 15 and houses that were in disgusting conditions, as well as overcrowded. As soon as Heathcliff had arrived, the Earnshaws (excluding Mr. Earnshaw) and Nelly were repulsed by his dark appearance, a feature of his that followed him until the day he died. His dark appearance matched his dark nature as he got older and it is possible that Brontë purposely made Heathcliff-the gypsy orphan from Liverpool-the cruel misanthropist who gained power over those who once scorned him. The upper and middle classes worried that those of lower class would one day gain power and money, and those of the upper classes feared what would occur. Brontë frequently compares Heathcliff to the devil, introducing him as “a gift of God; though it’s as dark almost s if it came from the devil.”
Social classes were very important in Brontë’s time. The statuses back then simple to understand. At the top of the hierarchy there was royalty. Next up were the aristocrats, which consisted of those who owned of a large amount of land and people such as baronets and knights. Below them were the gentry, who had enough assets to live on and many came from families of ancient lineage. The bottom consisted of the working class, which was where most of the people belonged in. In Wuthering Heights, we can assume that the Earnshaws and Lintons were seen as gentry. Both families inherited their estates from their antecedents (noticeably, both “Hareton Earnshaw” and “1500” are engraved at the entrance of Wuthering Heights). But even though both families would be gentries, there is a striking difference between them. Thrushcross Grange and the Lintons would appear to be more elegant and sophisticated as opposed to the wild nature of the Wuthering Heights and the Earnshaws, and when describing Wuthering Heights, Lockwood mentioned that it would appear to belong to a “homely, northern farmer.” The differences between the two families are also made evident by Catherine’s selfish thoughts when she spoke with...

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