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How Is Imagery Used in Wuthering Heights?

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Imagery is one of the essential components of the novel. The author gives symbolic meaning to many household items. She also uses such stylistic means as, for example, metaphor, hyperbole, and opposition.

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Wuthering Heights contains the features of a Gothic novel. Its plot builds on mysterious events in an old family nest, the estate called Wuthering Heights. It is located in the middle of the moorland. The heroes see ghosts and monsters from the first pages of the novel to its end. The reason for saving a child of unknown origin is also mysterious. The weather in the story is often cloudy, rainy, and gloomy.

After analyzing the novel, several dominant themes can be identified. The first theme is the feelings between Heathcliff and Catherine. A father and child theme emerges in the relationship between the estate owner, Mr. Earnshaw, and his son, Hindley. The theme of orphanhood is also critical. Hindley, Catherine, and Heathcliff lost their parents early. The novel describes a whole generation of children: Hareton Earnshaw, Catherine Linton, and Linton Heathcliff. Revenge is another essential topic, which is linked to the image of Heathcliff.

Heathcliff is the main character of the novel. The author portrays him in detail in the very beginning. The narrator notices some common features between himself and Heathcliff but then finds significant differences. There is a contrast between the dwelling and its owner in the novel. It allows the readers to reflect on Heathcliff’s nature.

The book contains many lexical expressive means, such as antithesis, oxymoron, and epithet. The verbal portrait of the hero is dispersed throughout the text. The stylistic means help the readers to create a complete and colorful impression of the characters. They allow us to focus on the dynamics of their images.

The novel contains a system of oppositions and duplication of images. Hindley is Heathcliff’s antipode, and Heathcliff is Linton’s opposite. Catherine’s double is her daughter Katie, and Heathcliff’s double is Hareton Earnshaw. The moors is a consistent detail, which is a symbol of freedom for the main characters.

The symbols are numerous: furniture items, windows, doors, and even the gate of the old estate. The oak panel structure becomes a symbol of various experiences for Catherine, Heathcliff, and Lockwood. There are examples of personification: Lockwood believes that the gate, like Heathcliff, does not want to let him in. The oak panel bed window is a symbolic border in the novel. It represents the edge of violence and cruelty.

Multiple episodes make us perceive the estate as a prison, and its inhabitants – as captives. Inner harmony finally returns to Wuthering Heights at the end of the novel. Then, Lockwood believes the prison is no longer there. These devices reveal the characters’ images and enhance the gloomy atmosphere.

The writer speaks to the reader using two first-person storytellers, Lockwood and Ellen Dean. The narrators take turns. The housekeeper Nelly continues the story and ends it in chapter thirty. Lockwood then becomes the sole narrator of the story. The author uses the storytellers’ speech to hide her own voice from the readers. It is also worth noting that the characters’ speech is symbolic. It reflects their nature, behavior, and education.

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IvyPanda. "How Is Imagery Used in Wuthering Heights?" June 1, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/q/how-is-imagery-used-in-wuthering-heights/.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "How Is Imagery Used in Wuthering Heights?" June 1, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/q/how-is-imagery-used-in-wuthering-heights/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'How Is Imagery Used in Wuthering Heights'. 1 June.

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