Symbolism are objects or figures that artists use to represent an idea. In Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte uses many symbolism. A few notable ones are as follows:
Ghosts are spirits used to represent souls, memory and the past in Wuthering Heights. The symbols represent different themes love and obsession, good and evil. Cathy’s ghost disturbs Heathcliff based on the stored memory of shared past. The love of Cathy turns into an obsession for revenge. Heathcliff and Cathy curse and fought each other giving each other no peace. They rejected heaven and God. The two were angry with each other and proclaimed no peace in life or death; this explains why their spirits and souls were wandering haunting or getting haunted. Ghosts cannot separate from the good or evil. The main characters (Mrs. Dean, Heathcliff, Joseph and Cathy) believed in ghosts. The children of the main characters did not believe in ghosts representing a new beginning. Hareton, Catherine, and Linton chose not to speak of ghosts. Cathy’s ghost may be a figment of the imagination, probably just a representation of memories.
(ii) Weather, Wind and Trees:
Weather, wind, and trees are natural events used in the novel to represent different emotions and tone of the circumstances in the novel. The blowing wind and rain naturally represent a storm that depicts anger and violence. A cool breeze represents peace, hope, and goodness. The author has used pathetic fallacy skillfully using weather patterns to reflect emotions and events at any given point in time. The weather can change one’s feelings symbolically. Rain and snow represent violent emotions. Snow represents coldness of the heart, a murderer.
(iii) The moors:
A moor is a barren land unsuitable for farming. Moor symbolically represents the concept of a place between life and death, a grey area between good and evil. Wuthering Heights represents the epitome of evil while Thrushcross represents the good physically. The moors would be a place between Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange. The moors to Cathy and Heathcliff represent freedom from religion, social barriers, and their happiness. The two are neither in heaven nor hell but roaming the moor without inhibitions. A moor is a place of no rules, no culture, and no social class. A home with no rules a safe place.
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The dog is used symbolically with great insights. A dog represents protection as well as violence. A dog trained is obedient to its master. Hareton loyalty to Heathcliff shows the aspect of symbolic devotion. An unfriendly dog barking to Lockwood represent, Lockwood being in a new environment. Cathy likened to a “dog in a manger.” A dog taking care of hay that is useless and inedible to the dog is heavy with symbolism. Isabella was treated as less valuable, a possession, an instrument of control and abuse. Cathy treats Heathcliff as a dog, as something of no value. The motivation of Heathcliff towards revenge is acting like “a dog in the manger.” Hindley treatment of Heathcliff by dispossessing him an opportunity to education and a better life was inhuman. Hindley treated Heathcliff as a dog, a lesser being. He violently abused Heathcliff as the new boss of Wuthering Heights, There is a big difference between how dogs are treated in Thrushcross Grange and Wuthering Heights. Dogs are pets in Thrushcross Grange first and then security while in Wuthering heights dogs are security and are meant to be vigilant. Dogs in Wuthering Heights scavenge for food that is why the oatmeal Isabella poured on the floor was cleaned up by a dog.
The color of hair represents prejudice associated with people, the society similar to race. The blonde hair represents the Thrushcross Grange. In Thrushcross Grange the Lintons family represents the good, gentleness, and education. The blond hair is a key to privileged social life. The family described by Edgar, Isabelle, Catherine, and Linton. Black hair symbolizes the old in Wuthering Heights, the Earnshaw family. The family privileges were taken down the evil path of rejection and obsession. Rejection and obsessions represented by Cathy and Heathcliff. The climax of the evil and good tussle ends with Catherine a blond loving Hareton a dark-haired person representing good triumph over evil giving forth to peace, unity, and happiness.