Wuthering Heights: How Does The Supernatural Theme Contribute To The Atmosphere Of The Novel?
The supernatural theme is a recurrent one in gothic novels, dreams, ghosts and gaps between this world and the next. The paranormal touch adds to the eerie feeling and the extreme circumstances that a novel like Wuthering Heights portrays.
Waking from a violent dream, Mr. Lockwood, who is sleeping in Cathy’s bed, sees a ghost. It is a young girl called Catherine Linton who had been haunting the house for twenty years. Upon her death, Heathcliff begs her to haunt him. This insane passion is part of the extreme circumstances that must take place to prove how passion rules over all.
Nelly dean is the main narrator in Wuthering Heights, she claims that she does not believe in ghosts but she is superstitious. When she refuses to hear Catherine’s dreams we are disturbed, it may have been a bad dream or a prophecy. Cathy dreams about being in heaven but she is flung out by the angels who know she does not belong there, but only with Heathcliff. There is an immense bond between Cathy and Heathcliff that not even death can part. When Heathcliff leaves Wuthering Heights there is a terrible storm that represents nature’s opposition against this act. When the thunderstorm breaks a tree in half, Joseph who represents a conformist and artificial ideal of religion believes it is a sign of the end.
After the fight between Heathcliff and Edgar, Cathy fell ill; and her illness seemed to affect her reasoning, as if to be driving her mad. After her illness was cured she appeared to be barely alive, as if a spirit roaming on earth erroneously, however she still appeared to be beautiful, in a ghostly way. The supernatural is the axis of the gothic genre it is the source of the contorted and sinister atmosphere and creates the spine-chilling extreme feeling that gives a gothic novel meaning.
... death. Cathy and Heathcliff s reunion after death equals a promise of consummation (Stoneman 521-533). The narration scheme in Wuthering Heights has ... to his ill prepared housekeeper (505). Other evidence of supernatural is apparent throughout the novel, such as the ending of ... stays at the heights he has a dream in which the ghost of Catherine Earnshaw frightens him. When Heathcliff responds to ...
After Cathy’s death Heathcliff begs her spirit to haunt him, this action is selfish and unnatural and goes against conventional morality, he does not wish for her to rest in peace but to exist only to be with him. Heathcliff is so obsessed with the dead that Isabella calls him “a goblin” she no longer knows whether she has married “a man, a devil or a ghost” Heathcliff, with no respect for the dead, had the gravedigger open Catherine’s coffin while he was preparing Edgar’s. The coffin was opened, and Catherine’s face looked the same as the day she died, nearly twenty years before. Desperate to be with her in death, he knocked out one side of her coffin, with the instructions that one side of his be knocked out too, so that they might lie together for eternity. He tells Nelly that without this measure, he would likely haunt them all. Heathcliff also confessed to Nelly that right after Catherine’s death he almost dug her up. He wanted to her again, and he had begun to dig when he heard a sigh nearby, and felt a warm breath at his ear. He was certain it was Cathy, not in the grave, but on earth! After that time he was constantly looking for her, and always expected to see her wherever he went. But though he often thought he felt her, she did not show herself again.
Heathcliff knows that he can never exist without Cathy, and his love, or lust reaches enormous proportions, Heathcliff goes to extremes, resorting to morbid and unnatural actions to fulfil his need to be one with Cathy. The supernatural feats accomplished by Heathcliff add to the strange gothic atmosphere of Wuthering Heights.