The setting of Wuthering Heights is instrumental to the readers understanding of the characters by conveying ideas of their attitudes and emotions which are tied to different places throughout the novel. The story is anchored and atmosphere is created by the setting.
Wuthering Heights is set on the Yorkshire moors in the 18th century. The moors are the basic setting in which Bronte begins to establish the lonely atmosphere which penetrates each of the characters at some point in the novel. The idea of the moors being lonely is created early in the book when Lockwood asserts that the moors are a “misanthropist’s heaven” and describes it as “desolation” which gives the reader an understanding of the bleakness of the moors and because Lockwood mentions this so early on in the story it becomes a central focus of the book. The moorland setting creates a place that appears away from civilisation and rationalisation of the rest of the world and so therefore establishes a perfect setting for the strange and sometimes supernatural events which unfold in Wuthering Heights by making the characters seem far away from the social norms which would have prevented the characters from behaving in a certain way as it would have been seen as inappropriate in a civilised setting. It is a place where freedom is felt by Cathy and Heathcliff as there are no expectations there.
The two houses situated on the moors not only house the characters in the novel but also represent different qualities within them. The characters are constantly moving between the two houses, Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange, and the behaviours change depending on where they live. Wuthering Heights embodies the harsh, uncivilised and frequently violent nature of some of the people in the book. Its geographical setting places it in aggressive winds and storms which symbolises the actions and passionate attitudes of the inhabitants and creates an understanding for the reader that it is practically the opposite of Thrushcross Grange which is in a sheltered valley, again, giving a sense of protection. The building itself is a large, gothic farmhouse which is mysterious and ominous. It creates a gothic atmosphere in the first three chapters which is important to make Lockwood’s dream of Cathy’s ghost seem plausible. The intense weather conditions the building is subjected to are similar to the intense passionate natures of Cathy and Heathcliff who both live there in their childhood so it appears that the setting of the character is very influential on their behaviour.
Thrushcross Grange is a place of civility and luxury where the Lintons live at the beginning of the story. It represents different ideals from Wuthering Heights in that social norms are expected rather than uncultivated behaviour. Status is highly valued there and so Heathcliff who is degraded to a servant by Hindley does not feel welcome there. The scene in which Cathy returns to Wuthering...