Four Motifs in Wuthering Heights
A Master Thesis by Louise Hsin-Ling Wang from
The National Taiwan Normal University. Four Major Motifs In Wuthering
The book plays
functions in this novel. In Wuthering Heights, the book is not a source
of spiritual comfort and guidance but a torment for Catherine and Heathcliff.
The book (Bible) becomes a symbol of arbitrary constraint. In Thrushcross
Grange, the book not only is a chief source of knowledge and experience
for the people, but also is their spiritual refuge. Later on, book also
has a reconciliation function between two opposite places (Wuthering Heights
and Thrushcross Grange). Although the book does not succeed in reconciling
the first generation (Catherine and Edgar), it does succeed the second
one (Cathy and Hareton).
two different world (The ghost of Catherine canít get into her room in
Wuthering Heights, Heathcliff was watching Catherine out the window of
Thrushcross Grange). Window also is a communication for Catherine and Heathcliff
(she crept through the skylight to talk to him in the Christmas night).
Close and shut the window reflects Catherineís mind. The window is a symbol
of some obstacle or limitation to Linton Heathcliff and also is a symbol
of escape to Catherine.
Nature plays a
very important role in Wuthering Heights. The weather reflects the characterís
mind and face and it also can predict the future condition. When the character
is very worry, sad and unhappy, there is always cloudy and rainy. If there
is any miserable thing happens, it always is stormy or snowy with heavy
rain or wild wind outside. When there is calm and no any sorrow, the weather
is fine. Besides the images of cloud, wind and water, the image of fire
also is very important in the novel. Fire image is connected with strong
emotions. It reflects the strong feelings experienced by different characters
and also it is a symbol of reconstruction after destruction (After the
destruction of the books by Heathcliff, Cathy bring others to Hareton from
Thrushcross Grange). Since there lacks motherly love in the novel, nature
plays a mother for the children to give them happiness (Catherine and Heathcliff
feel happy in the moors). Nature is also a symbol of reconciliation. It
reflects the love of Cathy and Hareton for each other (Cathy plants the
flowers in Wuthering Heights with Hareton).
The animal is
among the major images that make up the metaphorical context of Wuthering
Heights. A large portion of the subconscious forces in man is expressed
by means of the passions of animals. Nearly every character suggests or
is compared to a certain kind of animal.
the general ideas of four motifs (book, window, nature and animal) from
the Four Major Motifs in Wuthering Heights. If you want to
know more detail about them, you can read this book.