All in the Setting: Part Two

        I have examined the impact of the setting on the central characters in Emily BrontŽís 1847 Wuthering Heights, filmed in 1939 by William Wyler, but it is also an important aspect in the conflict and mood of the entire story. The weather in the novel really stood out to me as being quite important. The opening of the book and movie with Lockwood (Miles Mander) coming to the desolate Wuthering Heights in the snowy cold set the gloomy mood and atmosphere that would carry on for the rest of the novel. There were also frequent storms throughout the story that reflected the characters and what was going on in the plot at the time.

        The moors, which the estates of Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange are located on, are an open and desolate place. This gives a sense of isolation to the whole story; like nothing else in the world is going on but what is happening on these moors during the novel. This is a very strong aspect of the novel and movie as it, in my opinion, accentuates the other facets of the book and movie. The moors are also a very important place for the two main characters, Heathcliff (Rex Downing/Laurence Oliver) and Catherine (Sarita Wooten/Merle Oberon). The moors represent the love they have for one another. At no other place during the novel and movie is their love on display as it is on the moors. It is the reason Catherine wishes to see the moors one last time before she dies; so she can see the place that represents her love with Heathcliff before she passes away.

        Another aspect of the setting that is instrumental in the proceedings of Wuthering Heights is the time period in which it unfolds. There were strict social classes in England in the 1800s. This prevented Heathcliff from marrying Catherine in the first place. He was an orphan stable boy who was not good enough to marry Catherine. This was the reason he left Wuthering Heights; to go make himself a gentlemen, and a wealthy one at that. This conflict of social classes present in England during the late eighteenth, when the book was set, and nineteenth century, when the movie was set and the author lived, is a main component of the plot in Wuthering Heights. There would have been no story if these two people were both wealthy and upper-class who fell in love and got married.

        The setting in Wuthering Heights, like no other literary work I read this semester, was instrumental to the story, as it was in the movie. It was a character within itself. When you have a setting this strong other pieces of the story do not have to be so forceful, and this worked tremendously well for Wuthering Heights.

Darryl Brandon Clark