Wuthering Heights (fictional location)

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Wuthering Heights is a fictional location in Emily Brontë's novel of the same name. A dark and unsightly place, it is the focus of much of the hateful turmoil for which the novel is renowned. It is most commonly associated with Heathcliff, the novel's primary male protagonist, who, through his devious machinations, eventually comes into ownership both of it and of Thrushcross Grange. Although the latter is by most accounts a far happier place, Heathcliff chooses to remain in the gloom of the Heights, a home far more amenable to his character.

The first description of Wuthering Heights is provided by Mr Lockwood, a tenant at the Grange and one of the two primary narrators:

Wuthering Heights is the name of Mr. Heathcliff's dwelling, "wuthering" being a significant provincial adjective, descriptive of the atmospheric tumult to which its station is exposed in stormy weather. Pure, bracing ventilation they must have up there at all times, indeed. One may guess the power of the north wind blowing over the edge by the excessive slant of a few stunted firs at the end of the house, and by a range of gaunt thorns all stretching their limbs one way, as if craving alms of the sun.

— [1]

Possible inspiration[edit]

Many Gothic houses and manors have claimed or had claimed for them the title of Brontë's inspiration in creating the Heights. The most well-known of these is Top Withens, a local Elizabethan farmhouse which Brontë's biographer Winifred Gérin seems to favour primarily because of its name: the word "Top" suggests "Heights", while "Withens" sounds very much like "Wuthering".[2]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Brontë 1998, p. 2.
  2. ^ Dexter 2008. The latter is actually synonymous "willows": as Dexter notes, "it seems that Emily was inspired by nothing less than the wind in the willows".