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How Is Figurative Language Used in Wuthering Heights?

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In Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë used numerous examples of figurative language. In such a way, she made the text more colorful and engaging for the reader. Irony, hyperbole, imagery, similes, and metaphors frequently occur in the text.

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Figurative language is what helps the audience to visualize the images created by authors. This novel is not an exception. Emily Brontë used a variety of such devices. In part, this is why the book became so popular with many generations of readers.

If you might be asking yourself what these devices are, here is a list of some of them. Symbolism, personification, irony, and imagery make the text more profound.

Symbolism plays a crucial role in the novel. Dogs and the weather represent the main characters’ traits and emotional states. For example, when Lockwood is caught in a blizzard, it symbolizes the sinister image of Catherine’s ghost.

Metaphor is another frequent device in the text. It aims to create obstacles for the characters. There are many thresholds, doors, and windows. The protagonists strive to see what is hiding behind them. In some cases, windows and doors stand for protection. In other places, houses look like prisons, the inhabitants of which cannot escape. They are bound to stay there forever.

Gaze is another example of figurative language in the book. There are many situations where characters secretly look at each other. People visit each other’s homes to see how they live. Their eyes try to express some thought. There is some intimacy in these gazes, along with anxiety, apprehension, and fear.

Allusions refer to famous figures known to the audience from other stories. Brontë uses philosophical, biblical, literary, and mythical references. In chapter 2, she mentions Shakespeare’s King Lear. In chapter 22, Linton falls into the Slough of Despond – the bog from Bunyan’s story Pilgrim’s Progress. There are many biblical allusions: to Pharisees, Noah, Lot, Jonah, and others. Mythical references are those to Hercules and Milo. The first is mentioned twice in relation to power, and the second is referred to as the one with bad luck.

Similes play a significant role in the novel. They add color and intensity. Heathcliff’s face in chapter 3 is “as white as the wall behind him.” It sounds much better than “his face was white.” In the same chapter, the air is “cold as impalpable ice.” It is easier to imagine than if it was just cold. Simply put, Brontë did not spare her talent to insert as many examples of figurative language as she could. This approach made the story’s details sound more realistic.

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