"Wuthering Heights" as a novel
"Wuthering Heights"-Emily Bronte's only novel full of frightening passion makes her readers feel upset,giving a sense of jerk at times.The feelings embodied in the novel is in tune with its title.
"Wuthering Heights" as a novel
Emily Bronte has presented to us a ghost-like figure surrounded entirely by endless moors,cut off from the human society.
In "Wuthering Heights",we get the picture of nineteenth century English society.The novel is brilliant in local colour.We get a graphic picture of the then society.Emily has beautifully depicted the actions and emotions of the middle-class people.We have the details of the scenes,which make the novel realistic.Heathcliff was not born out of Emily's mind.He was born in a Liverpool slum.The language of Nelley,Joseph and Hareton is the language of the local district Yorkshire.The story of "Wuthering Heights" is concerned with the passions of living people,with property ownership,the attraction of social comforts,the arrangement of marriages,the importance or necessity of education,the validity of religion,the relations of rich and poor.
The mists of "Wuthering Heights" are the mists of Yorkshire moors.Her poems are savoured with local quality :
"Heavy hangs the raindrop,
From the burdened spray:
Heavy broods the damp mist,
On uplands far away.
Heavy looms the dull sky,
Heavy rolls the sea---
And heavy beats the young heart,
Beneath that lonely tree."
"Wild the road,and rough and dreary,
Barren all the moorland round:
Rude the couch that rests us weary:
Mossy stone and healthy ground."
Emily Bronte wrote the Gondal poems before 1847.She reduced Gondal into Yorkshire.These poems were written by the inspiration of local impressions.Whatever she felt,she wrote immediately.
The isolated splendours of Thrushcross Grange wear local quality---the world of the eighteenth century house :
"-We saw ah ! it was a beautiful splendid place carpeted with crimson,and crimson-covered chairs and tables ,and a pure white ceiling bordered by gold,a shower of glass drops hanging in silver chains from the centre,and shimmering with little soft tapers."
Besides being its 'universal' quality its tragedy is deeply set in 'local' spirit'.The root of its tragic poetry is in the eighteenth century Yorkshire.After all,"Wuthering Heights" is a vision of life of the then England.We have in it the complexities of its family relationship.
The narrator of the novel talks realistically like the normal Victorian men.He visits "Wuthering Heights" and hopes to have a chat with normal Victorian middle-class family.
The central theme of the novel is the love between Catherine and Heathcliff.This love is not that between of men and women of 1847 in Yorkshire.It is not particular.It is general.It is true that they belong to eighteenth century Yorkshire ;but they also represent the men and women of the world.
The quality of feeling that binds Catherine and Heathcliff is not local.It is not a sexual relationship.It is a love between two great souls.Catherine tries to express her feelings :
"My great miseries in this world have been Heathcliff's miseries,and I watched and felt each from the beginning :my great thought in living is himself.If all else perished,and he remained, I should still continue to be;and if all else remained ;and he were annihilated,
the universe would turn to a mighty stranger : I should not seem a part of it.My love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath a source of little visible delight, but necessary.He is always,always in my mind : not as a pleasure,any more than I am always a pleasure to myself, but as my own being.'' And Heathcliff cries, when Catherine is about to die :
"I cannot live without my life,I cannot live without my soul."
What is expressed here is a sense of affinity deeper than sexual love.
Lord David Cecil describes "Wuthering Heights" as a "metaphysical" novel, where the great characters exist "in virtue of their attitude to the universe and to the huge landscape of the cosmic scheme."The pattern he sees in the novel is "the expression of certain living spiritual principles--on the one hand the principle of storm--of the harsh,the ruthless,the wild and dynamic,on the other the principle of calm--of the gentle,the merciful,the passive and the tame." He sees a cosmic harmony in the combination of those two opposing forces."It is the destruction and re-establishment of the harmony which is the theme of the story."
Energy is an eternal delight and what is called good and evil springs from the same source .Heathcliff is not the embodiment of evil."Lawlessness,discord and violence are the price we have to pay for failure to achieve self-knowledge and to live harmoniously.."