The title of the novel, Wuthering Heights, is taken from the name of the house, upon the hill where much of the action in the novel takes place. It is dark, inhospitable and fortress-like, as if built for defence: "The narrow windows are deeply set into the wall, and the corners defended with large jutting stones... Instead of wading through heath and mud to Wuthering Heights." It is a place, which is hard to get to and where the wind blows around and howls outside it, causing the "stunted" fir trees to "excessively slant." Nothing is cared for and everything is inhospitable: "a range of gaunt thorns all stretching their limbs one way, as if craving alms of the sun, " and utilitarian: "Above the chimney were sundry villainous old guns and a couple of horse-pistols." Nothing is ornamental, everything is there for a purpose: "A huge, liver-coloured bitch pointer surrounded by a swarm of squealing puppies, and other dogs haunted other recesses." There is no warmth or nurturing, they are only there to guard as is shown later when the dog's "lip curled up, and her white teeth watering for a snatch. My caress provoked a long guttural gnarl."I believe at Wuthering Heights the kitchen is forced to retreat altogether in another quarter." Anything that is life-sustaining is forced to retreat and Lockwood, the primary narrator, slowly delves further and further into the core of Wuthering Heights as he discovers the past of this household.
When he finally gets to the core, which seems to be the end, as that is when he understands everything, Cathy and Hareton and left and these two, are a loving couple, who have been forced to retreat and finally they are allowed to come out into the open with the life as they want, as their boundaries are removed. This hostile and dark place is in total contrast to the polar opposite, that which is Thrushcross Grange, being the park, down off the moors, enclosed by walls and parklands, unlike Wuthering Heights, which is out in the open and subject to the harsh moorland weather. "My human fixture and her satellites rushed to welcome me; exclaiming tumultuously, they had completely given up on me; everybody conjectured that I perished last night; and they were wondering how they must set about the search for my remains." Unlike the folk in Wuthering Heights, the staff at Thrushcross Grange are concerned for their guests and seem kind and considerate. Lockwood is sat in front of a "cheerful fire and smoking coffee." There is warmth and hospitality in Thrushcross Grange, which is completely unheard of Wuthering Heights, until the end, when both Thrushcross Grange and Wuthering Heights are combined. These two polar opposites are separated by a boundary, as are all the polar opposites and in this case, the boundary is the moors and the wall, which surrounds the grounds of Thrushcross Grange. Boundaries are a major theme in Wuthering Heights as they separate two opposites, whether they are on a large scale such as the two houses, or just two people.
Doors, thresholds and windows are found everywhere in Wuthering Heights, as these are simple but effective liminal image, showing the boundaries in the novel: "Then, striding to a side-door, he shouted again... (I) arrived at Heathcliff's garden gate... I approached a window to examine the weather." These images are completely consistent throughout the novel, as they are used to segregate all the opposites. "On that bleak hill top the earth was hard with a black frost, and the air made me shiver through every limb. Being unable to remove the chain, I jumped over, and, running up the flagged causeway bordered with straggling gooseberry bushes, knocked vainly for admittance, till my knuckles tingled, and the dogs howled... A sorrowful sight I saw; dark night coming down prematurely, and sky and hills mingled in one bitter whirl of wind and suffocating snow." Once again, a description of Wuthering Heights shows it in a cold and harsh way, displaying the inhospitality of the place, unlike the description of Thrushcross Grange: "It was beautiful - a splendid place carpeted with crimson and crimson-covered chairs and tables, and a pure white ceiling bordered by gold, a shower of glass-drops hanging in silver chains from the centre, and shimmering with little soft tapers." Whereas Wuthering Heights is dark, Thrushcross Grange is pure and bright.
"The idiots! That was their pleasure! To quarrel who should hold a heap of warm hair, and each began to cry because both, after struggling to get it, refused to take it. We laughed outright at the petted things, we did despise them!" The dogs at Wuthering Heights are functional and are used as guard dogs, but in Thrushcross Grange, they are there as pets, to be loved and cared for. Thrushcross Grange is much more civilised and Nellie notes marked improvements in Cathy upon her return for her five-week stay there: "Her manners much improved... instead of a wild, hatless little savage jumping into the house, and rushing to squeeze us all breathless, there lighted from a handsome black pony a very dignified person, with brown ringlets falling from the cover of a feathered beaver, and a long cloth habit which she was obliged to hold up with both hands that she might sail in... Doubtless Catherine marked the difference between her friends as one came in, and the other went out. The contrast resembled what you see in exchanging a bleak, hilly coal country for a beautiful fertile valley." However, as Heathcliff invades Thrushcross Grange, it slowly disintegrates into a place more like Wuthering Heights, and at the end Cathy and Hareton live in flowering Wuthering Heights, while Thrushcross Grange is inhabited, except for cleaners.
"Miss Linton moped about the park and garden, always silent, almost in tears." This shows the changing attitudes and developing storm in the once cheerful Thrushcross Grange Park. "She rung the bell till it broke with a twang: I entered leisurely. It was enough to try the temper of a saint, such senseless, wicked rages! There she was dashing her head against the arm of the sofa, and grinding her teeth, so that you might fancy she would crash them to splinters." Throughout the novel, Heathcliff is described often like an animal ("growled Mr Heathcliff... his whiskers encroached bearishly... he's a fierce, pitiless, wolfish man") or the devil. This second reference can be linked to the polar opposites of heaven and hell, which recur throughout the novel: "He interrupted with an almost diabolical sneer...
At this diabolical violence, I rushed at him furiously... Though it's as dark almost as if it came from the devil... Imp of Satan." Heathcliff often strikes in extreme violence, sometimes in ways that would be considered completely out of order for a gentleman. This is part of his animali sation and likeness to the devil himself, however it is also due to his extreme cruelty, which he puts upon many of the characters, like Linton and Cathy, who he only uses as tools to get his revenge. This is shown in his discussion with Nellie, in which he comes out to her.
The polar opposites of heaven and hell are similar to those of life and death. These two are crossed in a few occasions in the novel in the form of references to both and in infernal images, these often being through Heathcliff: " 'You " ll go to hell!' ... By heaven and Hell... But by the help of Satan." As the novel progresses, the church at Gimmerton degrades, and religion is abandoned as Cathy and Heathcliff find their separate heaven. This is on the Moors, where they are found at the end of the novel walking together: " 'They's Heathcliff and a woman, yonder, under t'Nab,' he blubbered, 'un' Aw darn ut pass " em." A main feature within the novel is Cathy's old bedroom, which Lockwood sleeps in. This is where he meets Cathy's ghost, but the point is that it is a room from essay bank.
co. uk within a room, so boundaries within boundaries with a window, symbolizing the barrier between the outside and inside: "I fastened my door... The whole furniture consisted of a chair, a clothes-press, and a large oak case... It formed a little closet, and the ledge of a window, which it enclosed, served as a table. I slid back the panelled sides, got in with my light, pulled them together again, and felt secure against the vigilance of Heathcliff, and every one else." This is like a coffin, in its wooden structure, and is in fact the place of Heathcliff's death: "Having succeeded in obtaining entrance with another key, I ran to unclose the panels, for the chamber was vacant - quickly pushing them aside, I peeped in. Mr Heathcliff was there - laid on his back.
His eyes met mine so keen, and fierce, I started; and then he seemed to smile. I could not think him dead - but his face and throat were washed with rain; the bed clothes dripped, and he was perfectly still." The open window shows the open gateway to Heathcliff and Cathy's heaven, he dies and is now able to join Cathy in their heaven. Cathy has been seen outside the window, when Lockwood has his dream: "Stretching an arm out to seize the importunate branch: instead of which, my fingers closed on the fingers of a little, ice-cold hand... 'Catherine Linton' it replied." Heathcliff was, at this stage, separated from her through life and death, but now he is able to pass through these states into his happiness in heaven. Life and death is also crossed in the graveyard at Gimmerton, when Heathcliff disturbs Catherine's grave, and encounters her spirit. However, while both were alive, they seemed to believe that they were connected together, through the fusion of their live souls: "He's more myself than I am.
Whatever our souls are made of his and mine are the same, and Linton's is as different as a moonbeam from lightening, or frost from fire." Occasionally, the boundaries are crossed to form new happenings: Cathy goes outside the walls of Thrushcross Grange and is taken off to Wuthering Heights, Heathcliff and Catherine are joined together on a number of occasions and even the outdoors manages to intrude indoors, at the stormy Wuthering Heights: "There was a violent wind, as well as thunder, and either one or the other split a tree off at the corner of the building; a huge bough fell across the roof, and knocked down a portion of the east chimney-stack, sending a clatter of stones and soot into the kitchen fire." This is also the case, when Cathy opens the window, which separates her from her beloved moors, and the ice-cold wind rushes in: "And sliding from the bed before I could hinder her, she crossed the room, walking very uncertainly, threw it back, and bent out, careless of the frosty air that cut above her shoulders as keen as a knife." This can be linked to the dream, in which the glass cuts her wrists with the icy wind swirling round outside Wuthering Heights. Apart from Heathcliff, the main characters are made up of Lintons and Earnshaws, who have completely different characteristics, which are polar opposites. These can be seen through the younger generations as the two families merge, and different characters inherit certain characteristics from each side. Catherine says to Edgar: "Your cold blood cannot be worked into a fever - your veins are full of ice-water - but mine are boiling, and the sight of such chillness makes them dance." Catherine is an Earnshaw and Edgar is a Linton and these two families are completely different, in both inner characteristics and what can be seen on the outside.
The Lintons are fair, with blood hair and blue eyes, often seeming very weak, while the Earnshaws have dark hair and eyes. Heathcliff is completely different again, as although he also has dark hair, he has black "devilish" eyes and has dark skin: "He is a dark-skinned gypsy... I distinguished a tall man dressed in dark clothes, with a dark face and hair... A ray fell on his features; the cheeks were sallow, and half-covered with black whiskers; the brows lowering, the eyes deep set and singular." Isabella is a Linton and is described as: "I never feel the hurt at the brightness of Isabella's yellow hair, and the whiteness of her skin; at her dainty elegance." Linton is Linton completely through and seems to be the weakest character in the novel, as he is very frail and in the end dies young: "A pale, delicate, effeminate boy, who might have been taken for my master's younger brother, so strong was the resemblance, but there was a sickly peevishness in his aspect, that Edgar Linton never had... He put his fingers to his eyes to remove incipient tears... surveying with regret the white complexion, and slim frame of my companion, and his large languid eyes." Hareton seems to be more like Heathcliff, who has brought him rather than the Earnshaws, who are his family, although this reference compares him to Catherine: "By the fire, stood a ruffianly child, strong in limb, and dirty in garb, with a look of Catherine in his eyes, and about his mouth.
These younger generations have crossed the boundaries, due to the fact that the two families have mixed and so now, some characters have mainly characteristics from one family while other characters take characteristics from the other. Two other polar oppositions are movement and stillness, often reflected in nature, but also mainly in the characters, especially in the married couple of Catherine and Linton, who are so completely different that the relationship seems absurd. Catherine's mother says: "I wish I were out of doors - I wish I were a girl again, half savage and hardy, free." This is what the young Catherine is like and when she and Linton describe their dreams, they are so different, it seems hard to believe that Catherine really has any feelings for Linton: "One time, however, we were near quarrelling. He said the pleasantest manner of spending a hot July day was lying from morning till evening on a bank of heath in the middle of the moors, with bees humming dreamily about the bloom, and the larks singing high up over the head, and the blue sky, and bright sun shining steadily and cloudless ly... mine was rocking in a rustling green tree, with a west wind blowing, and bright, white clouds flitting rapidly above; and not only larks, but throstles, and blackbirds, and linnets, and cuckoos pouring out music on every side, and the moors seen at a distance, broken into cool dusky dells; but close by great swells of long grass undulating in waves to the breeze; and woods and sounding water, and the whole world awake and wild with joy. He wanted all to lie in an ecstasy of peace; I wanted all to sparkle, and dance in a glorious jubilee." This final sentence really displays the incompatibility of the couple and how absurd the relationship seems, due to their differences.
The differences between stillness and movement are often shown in the weather, often in the form of a storm in Wuthering Heights and the calm at Thrushcross Grange, although this changes as the novel progresses. However, the stillness at Heathcliff's death can be compared to his extreme violence at times during his life: "I could not think him dead - but his face and throat were washed with rain; the bed-clothes dripped, and he was perfectly still." This contrasts completely with his violent temper: "He shall have his share of my hand... Wait till I get hold of those elegant locks - see I won't pull them a bit longer... He raised his missile to hurt her...
'Cathy, this lamb of yours threatens like a bull!' ... 'It is in danger of splitting its skull against my knuckles.' " Wuthering Heights is a novel, completely full of liminal imagery and polar oppositions. They appear everywhere, as even two small things can be considered as two polar opposites, while any boundary is a form of liminal imagery, and Emily Bronte uses these to form a certain atmosphere and style, which is completely different. These image ries can be found on almost every page in this novel, as the story is all about the separations within two families and their struggle to encounter and overcome the outside, this being Heathcliff and the storm surrounding Wuthering Heights.