Nature and Culture in Wuthering Heights
In Wuthering Heights there is a clear battle between human nature, and the attempt to control it with civilization and culture. The conflict between nature and culture which is a part of the thematic structure of this novel is presented in the relationship between two residences: Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange as well as its inhabitants. Wuthering Heights represents the wildness of nature, passion and life, where as Thrushcross Grange stands for a refined way of life, civility and culture.
Wild, dark and mysterious appearance of Wuthering Heights is a symbolic of its inhabitants.
Heathcliff a distinct member of Earnshaw family symbolizes the wild and natural forces which frequently appear to be amoral and dangerous for society. And Catherine a representative member of Earnshaw family may be a lovely charming girl, however is rarely as civilized as she pretends to be. In her heart she is always that wild girl playing in moors with Heathcliff. On the other hand Thrushcross’s positive and comforting appearance is a symbolic of its inhabitants who grew in a pleasant way of living.
The Linton family in contrast to the Earnshaw , are too cultured and refined.Edgar Linton in contrast to Heathcliff is an educated, refined, noble man.
In the novel the setting and weather reflect the mood of the characters and their actions.The environment in which they live is another way to understand the conflict between nature and culture in this novel.
Wuthering Heights first appears in a stormy ,coldness and dark scene.The Heights have wild, windy moors, and its inhabitants possess the same characteristics. Opposite to this is often the calm, orderly parks of the Grange and its refined inhabitants.Thrushcross Grange is located in the valley with none of the features that appear in Wuthering Heights.The characters at the Heights are more at home outside in the moors, while those at the Grange pass the time with quiet, solitary endeavors such as reading.
Wuthering Heights is linked to aggression and violence both through the stormy weather as well as its inhabitants. Where as Thrushcross embodies comfort and civilization protected against the violence and stormy moors.
In this novel Emelie Bronte points out the problems with both wild and egocentric ways which might be natural to human kind, and the extremely secured ways of the elite class of the Victorian world. It is this exciting and thought-provoking theme that sets this novel aside from many other Gothic novels of its time.
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