Analyse the techniques Emily Bronte uses to explore the good and evil that can exist in human nature
In the gothic novel “Wuthering Heights” Bronte explores a range of emotions, including the theme of good and evil.These emotions are often of a blatant disperse, in which the reader can almost see it coming.However sometimes the novel takes a sudden twist and Bronte shocks the reader by the characters changing there usual attitude and bring out new emotions.
This makes the novel more thrilling and mind blowing. Characters also convert their emotions and way of doing things by the way they have been brought up, a typical example of this is Heathcliff.
We also see either more, or a change in emotions in the characters when loved ones around them change, or are shockingly took away from them. We know this is a gothic novel because of its features, although we do not have the traditional castle there is a mysterious house and one with hidden secrets. We have a villain, Heathcliff who is passion driven and wilful. The weather plays a part in Wuthering Heights, with the stormy weather and the endless cold nights, this doesn’t create a nice image and shows that it is dark and evil. Through Nelly, Bronte tells us of the brutal acts of evil played on by Hindley.
In this particular extract he is physically and mentally tormenting his young son Hareton. We can tell Hareton is terrified of his father when Nelly says he was “squealing and kicking” This relates to the gothic genre of the novel as it seems as if the devil has captured him and he cannot break free. Literary techniques such as “frighten child into fits” sends shivers through your spine, and you as the reader wants Hareton to be ok and dislike Hindley. However, not all is evil in this event, we see an episode of kindness from a character, which is in fact usual torturer Heathcliff.
This sudden act has Heathcliff catch little Hareton from a quick escape, jumping over the banister from his fathers tight grasp. This is a shock to the readers. I also think that Heathcliff himself is astonished by what he has done after all the years of Heathcliff torturing Hareton. “By a natural impulse he arrested his descent” this just shows that Heathcliff is not all evil, and if someone was truly in trouble, he would come and help them, even if he did despise them. Its not just the characters that display this confusion over good and evil, it also has a lot to do with the atmosphere around them.
At the beginning, Lockwood is exploring the “Grotesque” “Wuthering Heights”, by first look we would automatically come to the conclusion that it is an evil house, finding all of its “Grotesque carvings” and “Shameless little boys”. This displays the uncared for place unfit for a normal human life. He shows the gothic features of the house by saying “a swarm of squealing puppies” which could relate to the hounds of hell, which makes this house scary and full of hatred. However in the mask of evilness, lays a side of the Heights witch we wouldn’t think existed.
A clean liveable place, which is not visible from the first look at the house. We know this is a better side of the house by the language Bronte uses such as “splendidly and immense” which says that the house isn’t all gothic and evil and can be a good place, this house is full of secrets. In comparison to the Heights, Thrushcross Grange is an upper class beautiful palace. The language Bronte uses such as “splendid”, “beautiful” and “Heavenly” makes it seem as if the house and the people in it are perfect and could never do anything bad.
Something that is quite significant about this house is the amount of crimson, in this time it was deemed you would have this if you where upper class. Below the surface of the “Heaven” lays a twisted evil side. In fact we find evilness in a little girl, Isabella who lives at the Grange. Heathcliff tells us that she was “Shrieking as if witches where running hot needles in to her”, this makes it seem as if she is in brutal pain and must lead a horrible life.
We then find out that she is really just having a tantrum over a little puppy which is trembling with fright. This shows a different sort of evil, this girl is so spoilt she wouldn’t know what it would be like to truly be upset. In the Grange Bronte uses this house to show that the upper class isn’t always perfect and there nature can be very false. Overall I think the houses are almost mirror images. The Heights seems gothic and evil on the surface, but when explored deeply shows protection and a sign of kindness.
Whereas the Grange seems to be a heavenly place, but the residents have been around luxury for so long, they have become evil, it just shows that not everything is what meets the eye. When Catherine dies we see both a good and evil side to Heathcliff. When we first hear about Catherine dying, we believe that Heathcliff is miserable and so upset to see the person he loves dying in his arms. We can tell he is truly upset when he is “looking absolutely desperate”. This seems as if Heathcliff is really caring for Cathy when they are “locked in an embrace. We believe that Heathcliff has changed his usual mean ways and is really upset for Catherine. Even though Heathcliff is trying to protect Catherine we see that Nelly is very upset in this scene as she cannot say the goodbyes to Catherine she wants too, this is because Heathcliff is smothering Catherine, Nelly is describing him as a horrible possessed man, he “gnashed at me” and “foamed like a dog”. I would describe this scene as beautifully evil, because even though Heathcliff is showing such evil actions, he is still trying to care for Catherine and doesn’t want her to die.
This is their passionate goodbye But we couldn’t be more wrong; this passion disappears and is twisted. Heathcliff turns on Catherine and becomes evil. He make her seem as if she is worthless and deserves to die. He blames her for everything bad that has happened to him. He snaps at her “I have not broken your heart – you have broken it” this is nasty and bitter towards Cathy, especially since she is about to die. Cathy sobs for him to leave her alone, begging for his forgiveness. This shows much evil in Heathcliff because he will not let her rest in peace.
In conclusion, I believe the theme most dominant in this novel is evil. Although, most of the characters are either good or evil, this is not always dominant as characters such as Heathcliff and Hindley are evil, but we can see a good side to them. On the other hand characters such as the Linton’s look really good on the surface, but there evil side can show when something doesn’t go their own way. There are many ups and downs in this novel, and each character has a different way of showing there emotions.