Literary Device in Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

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Literary Devices In Ethan Frome Edith Wharton’s timeless novel Ethan Frome not only displays in plain sight the faults in human nature, but also contains many literary devices to aid the reader in comprehension. Wharton uses symbolism, internal conflict, and theme to help the reader connect with and understand Ethan and his motives. The novel Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë also uses these literary devices to give insight into the lives of Heathcliff and Catherine and their violent love affair. Symbolism, being used heavily in both works, comes first in Ethan Frome in the form of a simple boundary. Wharton introduces us to Ethan by showing his immediate infatuation with his wife’s exuberant cousin, Mattie Silver. Ethan gazing at Mattie through a church window while she was at a dance exemplifies this. “Thence, still hugging the shadow, he edged his way cautiously forward to the nearest window, holding back his straight spare body and craning his neck till he got a glimpse of the room” (Wharton 20). The window he stood looking through represents the boundary that separated his life from Mattie’s. Windows can be symbolic often, as we learn from Brontë’s tale. Purely out of curiosity, Heathcliff and Catherine peered through a window to watch their neighbors, Edgar and Isabella Linton. Edgar and Isabella were from a very rich family, while Heathcliff and Catherine were poor farm children. The window once more symbolizes a wall thrown up between two very different lifestyles. The landscape in Ethan Frome also proves an important symbol throughout the novel. The book takes place in the gloomy New England town of Starkfield, Massachusetts. “During the early part of my stay I had been struck by the contrast between the vitality of the ... ... middle of paper ... ...arried him. Then she would return to Wuthering Heights and be struck by the difference in their lifestyles. Without the looming presence of Edgar’s manipulation, Catherine may very well have followed her heart and married Heathcliff instead. After all, Catherine did claim that her love for Edgar can and will change with time, but that she loves Heathcliff so much that he seems to be a part of her own being (Brontë 82). All in all, the novels Ethan Frome and Wuthering Heights are two whose points will forever remain relevant to human nature. Their brilliant authors provided us with a whole new layer to the story by including the extremely effective literary devices of symbolism, internal conflict, and theme. Both novels have much to be learned from them, especially in the way of realizing the faults in human nature and the all-consuming phenomenon that is human love.
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