The Setting is Instrumental to the Understanding of Characters in Wuthering Heights

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The setting of Wuthering Heights is instrumental to the readers understanding of the characters by conveying ideas of their attitudes and emotions which are tied to different places throughout the novel. The story is anchored and atmosphere is created by the setting.

Wuthering Heights is set on the Yorkshire moors in the 18th century. The moors are the basic setting in which Bronte begins to establish the lonely atmosphere which penetrates each of the characters at some point in the novel. The idea of the moors being lonely is created early in the book when Lockwood asserts that the moors are a “misanthropist’s heaven” and describes it as “desolation” which gives the reader an understanding of the bleakness of the moors and because Lockwood mentions this so early on in the story it becomes a central focus of the book. The moorland setting creates a place that appears away from civilisation and rationalisation of the rest of the world and so therefore establishes a perfect setting for the strange and sometimes supernatural events which unfold in Wuthering Heights by making the characters seem far away from the social norms which would have prevented the characters from behaving in a certain way as it would have been seen as inappropriate in a civilised setting. It is a place where freedom is felt by Cathy and Heathcliff as there are no expectations there.

The two houses situated on the moors not only house the characters in the novel but also represent different qualities within them. The characters are constantly moving between the two houses, Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange, and the behaviours change depending on where they live. Wuthering Heights embodies the harsh, uncivilised and frequently viol...

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...es Heathcliff passionately, she is not blind to his faults and asserts that he is violently natured and rough. The natural imagery is also useful to the reader as it links the setting to the characters’ natures and gives insight into other characters views of people within the story.

The setting in Wuthering Heights is infinitely important to the development of the characters as it aids the readers understanding through imagery and symbolism. The symbolism of the two houses is helpful as it tracks changes not only in where the characters live but what values and morals they hold. The natural imagery is very effective due to the understanding it gives to the reader of the complex natures and relationships of the characters. The setting is instrumental to the reader getting an insight into the characters and the overall comprehension of the story.

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