Wuthering Heights

Humanuty versus Nature

Provide an explanation of how the theme operates within the novel. Use complete sentences.

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Humanity versus nature

Brontë is preoccupied with the opposition between human civilization and nature. This is represented figuratively in her descriptions of the moors, but she also ties this conflict to specific characters. For example, Catherine and Heathcliff resolve to grow up "as rude as savages" (46) in response to Hindley's abuse, and Ellen likens Hindley to a "wild-beast" (73). The natural world is frequently associated with evil and reckless passion; when Brontë describes a character as 'wild,' that character is usually cruel and inconsiderate––take for example Heathcliff, Catherine Earnshaw, and Hindley. However, Brontë also expresses a certain appreciation for the natural world; Linton and Cathy Linton's ideas of heaven both involve peaceful afternoons in the grass and among the trees. Likewise, Hareton is actually a very noble and gentle spirit, despite his outward lack of civilization and his description as a "rustic" (299).