A tale of undying love inspiring the Romantic within almost every reader's soul, Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights is on the one hand a vivid and morbid love story, and on the other a tale of the redemptive power of love. One critic writes, "Emily Bronte's sense of the parable residing beneath her melodramatic tale guides us throughout: for we are allowed to know, despite the passionate and painfully convincing nostalgia for the Heights, the moors, and childhood, evinced by Catherine and Heathcliff, that their values, and hence their world (the Heights) are doomed" (Oates 2). The Romantic ideals, the Romantic diction and syntax even--the use of words intended to inspire thoughts of love, melancholy, chaos, childhood--all gather to create a novel seemingly of gothic romance. The scene of Heathcliff bribing a sexton to dig up Catherine's grave; the final sentence, "I lingered round them, under that benign sky; watched the moths fluttering among the hearth, and the hare-bells; listened to the soft wind breathing through the grass; and wondered how anyone could ever imagine unquiet slumbers, for the sleepers in that quiet earth" (Bronte 334); the descriptions of the wild moors--all these are powerful Romantic images. However, none of these things are valued in Bronte's novel. Wuthering Heights is a novel that almost mocks Romantic conventions in its attempt to deny completely Romantic values. It does this through the character of Catherine, the character of Heathcliff, and through the two types of love found in the novel.
Wuthering Heights and the Rejection of Romanticism