Foreshadowing in Wuthering Heights Foreshadowing is a very common literary device used in classic literature. It gives a yearning of what may come ahead and an intriguing tie from the present to the past and vice versa. To foreshadow is "to shadow or characterize beforehand" (Webster's Dictionary). Wuthering Heights as a whole serves as a large-scale example of this foreshadowing effect and it contains many other examples within it.
In the first half of the book, Emily Bronte gives the account of the foundational characters, the first generation. The account is given in a diverse way, it is stated as from the eyes of an outside observer with an inside scoop named Nelly Dean. Nelly had lived in both Thrush cross range and Wuthering Heights and had a first hand account of all that had happened in their inhabitants' life. The actions and decisions of the first generation were also very eminent in their descendants; they both had their share in heartache and disaster. Though the same mistakes were not made they suffered just the same. The fact that Heathcliff never rectified his relationship with Catherine and all the others he hurt the hurt carried on down the family line.
The repetition of events was revealed in everything that occurred. The way that the first generation was treated was how they treated the next. For example Heathcliff's deprivation of Hare ton repeats Hindley's deprivation of Heathcliff. Even the first Catherine shows this, she mocked Joseph's earnest evangelical zeal and soon so did her offspring. It is even said that Heathcliff trying to "open" Catherine's grave was repeated. All things were "predicted" and eminent of reoccurring in the future.
The foreshadowing device was also used yet another time, to explain the basis of the whole story. In the time of Heathcliff and Catherine's journey through turmoil many things were said. Often when you are in a fit of rage or a time of passion you say things and some are meant and others are not. Emily Bronte to advantage of that fact. Through the many pieces of dialogue found in the story between Catherine and Heathcliff there was one thing said amidst it all that was meant and prevailed through the story. Heathcliff in a fight cursed Catherine's soul to haunt him until he died and Mr.
Lockwood saw that ghost and the ghost ended up haunting Heathcliff to insanity and eventually death. Bronte gave us that foretelling to intrigue us to see the depth of the relationship that Catherine and Heathcliff had shared, Heathcliff cursed her and Catherine carried it out until revenge was achieved. There are many examples that can be found of foreshadowing if you only look deeper into the story. Emily Bronte had such a talent of trickery in her writing, if you take the literature at face value you can learn from it, but when you look at it with detail you see so much more of the story, a story of revenge on both sides and a conflict of the culture and nature of that time. The characters lives were so complicated if they could have only seen the professed future or had looked and learned from the past it would have been different. The obvious foreshadowing in this novel is what may agitate and frustrate its readers because the story is either given away or you slap yourself for not realizing what was coming..