Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte
Wuthering Heights explores human passions and fundamental human emotions, such as love and hatred. There is a strong correspondence between the violent passions of the characters and the wild natural landscape which is a Romantic characteristic.
Another topic is the opposite principles. The novel is built around the contrast between the two houses, Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange. The first reflects the Nature of Heathcliff, severe, gloomy and brutal in aspect and atmosphere, firmly rooted in local tradition and custom; the second is the home of the bourgeois Lintons and reflects their conception of life, based on stability, kindness and respectability. They stand for two opposite forces; the principle of storm and energy on one hand, and that of calm and settled assurance on the other. Although they are opposite, they are complementary and ideally tend to unity.
Death is a very important theme in the novel. It is not seen as an end, but as liberation of the spirit.
Romanticism in the novel
Romanticism is in the human passions and emotions the novel expresses. Romanticism is shown by the correspondence between the violent passions of the characters and the wild natural landscape. The desolate scenery is, in fact, reflected in the psychological conflicts of the characters.
Heathcliff is also a “Byronic hero”, moved by irresistible passion, finally tending to a complete identity with his love, Catherine. But Heathcliff, in his inhuman treatment of others, is also the villain of some Gothic novels. Other Gothic elements are the sinister atmosphere of Wuthering Heights, surrounded by wilderness: Catherine’s ghost and the often mentioned dreams and superstitions.
Finally, we find Romanticism in the struggle between love and hate, order and chaos.
Tradition and supernatural
The supernatural is given by Catherine’s ghost and the dreams and superstitions that are often mentioned. For instance, Catherine’s dream, when she is in heaven and the angels are angry at her, and the final image when a boy is afraid because of the two figures, the young man and woman, wandering together over the moors.
In contrast to the superstitions, there is the tradition to which the old aristocracy was also closely linked; they could not renounce for example their privileges.