Imagery is an important concept in Emily Bronte s novel, Wuthering Heights. Imagery revolves around two main ideas throughout the story. The first is the contrast between the setting of Thrushcross Grange and Wuthering Heights and their associations with animals, books, darkness and light, and heaven and hell. The second idea is the images of locked doors, windows and gates. Theses two main ideas center on imagery and play a key role in the novel. Thrushcross Grange is symbolic of heaven in many different ways.
Physically, Thrushcross Grange is very light and therefore associates with heaven. When Heathcliff looked at the Grange he thinks its heaven with its pure white ceilings, and colors of gold and silver. Characters that live at Thrushcross Grange are also light skinned and have light hair. The characters of the Grange are civilized and sometimes considered weak characters.
When Catherine fell sick at Wuthering Heights, she was taken to Thrushcross Grange to recover. The Grange is a place of healing and security to many characters, much like heaven would be. Overall, the Grange is superior to Wuthering Heights. Wuthering Heights is associated with hell in many aspects. At the beginning of the novel, Hareton is at Wuthering Heights with a pitchfork. This is directly symbolic to hell and Hareton being associated with hell and the devil.
In many ways, Hareton represents a devil. Wuthering Heights is physically a dark place. This is very different from Thrushcross Grange. Even those who live at Wuthering Heights have darker hair and skin color. Many of the characters living at Wuthering Heights are uncivilized and represent hell. When Bronte describes Wuthering Heights she uses descriptions such as gaunt thorns and grotesque cravings.
Later on in the novel, Catherine appears to Wuthering Heights as a ghost. This represents hell and the supernatural. Violence, anger, and danger are common themes seen at Wuthering Heights. It is a terrible place to live and many that live there are much like their environment. Nature is found in both settings although are very conflicting. At Wuthering Heights, the ruthless climate makes it more difficult to survive.
It is very unpleasant and makes life challenging. There are moor and marshes there, but nothing that is pleasant or pretty. Characters at Wuthering Heights are more associated with nature and are carefree without limitations. On the other hand, characters at Thrushcross Grange are more associated with art instead of nature. These characters are well behaved but are less free. Thrushcross Grange has a lot of flowers and vegetation.
The atmosphere and climate is very easygoing and pleasant. Animals are also very different in each setting. At Wuthering Heights the animals are as violent as the people that live there are. Heathcliff has teeth that are like animal teeth. Wolves are associated with Wuthering Heights.
In contrast, characters at Thrushcross Grange are represented with mild, gentle animals. For example, Isabella is like a sheep. Sheep are weak and can easily be taken advantage of. Edgar is also like a lamb because he too is weak.
Books at Thrushcross Grange are used for educational purposes and are kept in an orderly fashion. The large number of books represents the educated, civilized people that live at the Grange. On the other hand, books at Wuthering Heights are misused and not even used for reading or learning purposes. Instead, characters at Wuthering Heights use books as a diary to write their own personal thoughts and pictures. All of the books there are falling apart and abused. The lack of books at Wuthering Heights represents the lack of educated, civilized people living there.
The second main theme of imagery occurs with the recurring theme of locked doors, windows, and gates. Heathcliff locks people into rooms and kidnaps them. This obsession with locks may be tied to the feeling of having control and being superior. The gate at Wuthering Heights is always locked when Heathcliff is alive. As soon as he dies, Cathy and Hareton keep the gates and doors unlocked and allow others to come in. The barriers are broken down.
Locks are also used for security purposes. Cathy locks her personal notes and letters in a drawer so no one can read them. Nelly does and secrecy and security is lost. Windows are often described as the barrier between social class.
At Thrushcross Grange they won t let Heathcliff in because he is of lower class. Eyes are also the windows of souls. Windows represent the connection between the supernatural and the real world. When Cathy is about to die, she asks Nelly to open the window. This shows the connection between the living and the dead.