“Terror made me cruel”
In Emily Bronte’s novel of Gothic fiction, Wuthering Heights, Bronte presents an almost convoluted idea of a supernatural role which would begin to play a significant part in aiding readers to unravel and appreciate the delicate plot of her story. Beginning in chapter three with the dreams explained by Mr. Lockwood, and dispersing amongst the remainder of the book through to the the end, the concepts of ghosts and the supernatural provide us with pivotal information that would lead us to later question the motives of various characters such as Heathcliff, and determine weather we could appreciate the novel in its entirety.With the accompaniment, but the necessity of the belief in such paranormal acquaintances, the reader can further appreciate the character of Heathcliff and the story of Wuthering Heights as a whole.
The character of Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights, can take our sympathy and appreciation to levels of heightened devotion but later deploy them to places of hatred with his cruel actions; it is the belief in ghosts and the supernatural that help us to appreciate his character even after he displays his dark and provincial desires. In Chapter three, Mr. Lockwood, one of the primary narrators of the novel explains a series of dreams that come to him during the night of which he spends in the Wuthering Heights abode. “Terror made me cruel; and finding it useless to attempt shaking the creature off, I pulled its wrist on the broken pane and rubbed it to and fro till the blood ran down and soaked the bed”(30). Here Lockwood explains his encounter with the ghost of ghost of Catherine Linton, which Lockwood regards to as a creature.
It is that this quote and the appearance of Catherine Linton’s ghost that renders a partial explanation for the cruelty that Heathcliff may have inflicted upon all of the characters. If readers can believe in supernatural creatures such as ghosts, the quote can further be appreciated and Heathcliff’s motives are further sympathized because a relation can be built upon regarding the extent of which un worldly creatures can impact truths of reality and an understanding can be developed regarding the drastic measures of which terror pushed him to. Terror made him cruel. The terror that arose from the pain he was burdened with the moment he entered the Earnshaw home; the pain the would grow following the death of Mr. Earnshaw. Once Hindley returned to Wuthering Heights to claim his
inheritance, he immediately commenced on his path of revenge on Heathcliff, provoking Heathcliff’s right of an education, and insisting that Heathcliff spend his days working in the fields like a common laborer. This drastic devouring of Heathcliff’s social class would later lead him to lose the love of his life, Catherine Earnshaw to Mr. Linton, a man lacking in everything but the social graces.
.An undeniable terror would arise within Heathcliff, the terror of losing to an even greater extent whatever is left, the terror of having his heart ripped out again. This terror would bare Heathcliff’s ruthless persona, and desire for unseeingly high levels of control. As opposed to shaking off the memories of his cruel beginnings, he pulled on their wrists, extracting the hatred that would arise from such events, and rubbed his hatred against all of his counterparts until they began to bleed and suffer and until their blood would run to soak the remains of what was once white and pure like a bed sheet, so that is would transform into the contrary, a deep red pool of iniquity.
Wuthering Heights as a whole can gain a heightened appreciation from the belief in the supernatural, the unearthly events that occur throughout the novel add up to represent a lack of closure for lovers. Ghosts are generally defined to be essences that haunt particular locations, objects, or people they were associated with at one point in life.1 People who believe in this may have a finer opportunity to fully appreciate the novel because they can comprehend the events and the reasons for the events, for example the lack of romantic closure. “ Come in!, come in! he sobbed. Cathy do come. Oh do once more! Oh! my heart’s darling! hear me this time, Catherine, at last!”(33).
In this instance, the supernatural is used in Emily Brontes manipulation of the English language. Here in this quote she foreshadows the events to come in chapter sixteen, “And I pray one prayer-I repeat it till my tongue stiffins- Catherine Earnshaw, may you not rest as long as I am living! You said I killed you-haunt me then!”(163). With an understanding in these events and a belief that the ghost the appeared in Lockwood’s dream was real, the literary techniques in Wuthering Heights such as foreshadowing can be appreciated to a greater extent.
“It’s a rough journey, and a sad heart to travel it; and we must pass by
Gimmerton Kirk to go that journey! We’ve braved its ghosts often together, and dared each other to stand among the graves and ask them to come.”(125) United as one, during the period of their youth, Catherine and Heathcliff lacked fear, although anger and violence played large parts in their childhood lives. They had each other, and the ghosts that most tended to fear could not effect their bond. Later, Heathcliff will yearn for Catherine’s ghost to haunt him endlessly.
This situation idealizes the great irony technique Emily Bronte uses in her novel. The love that Heathcliff and Catherine shared would supposedly defend them against the supernatural ghosts that haunted everyone else, but later it is that very same love that inspired Heathcliff to cry for Catherine’s ghost to haunt him as opposed to the events of their youth that were quite on the contrary. Although the reader does not necessarily have to believe in ghosts to catch this ironic occurring, they must believe to an extent in the supernatural to grasp the concept that these events aren’t just insane fictional eventuates, but complex results of a sincere love that could never be. This would become the key to appreciating Wuthering Heights in its entirety.
Throughout Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontes’ use of the supernatural, aids in our appreciation of her complex story. Although the belief in the supernatural is not a pivotal requirement for a readers understanding of solely the plot, it can be necessary when trying the fully appreciate Heathcliff and the book as a whole. With the lack of belief, readers may portray the story as just another gothic novel with an over dramatic, barely romantic plot with a non essential amount of death. But the belief in such supernatural events takes Brontes theatric narrative to a place where love, pain and other principles of life, which are carried out in the novel, coincide with the events that occur outside this world making Wuthering Heights and its character’s unique conceptions of the interactions between worldly and unworldly events.