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Re: Wuthering Heights

Posted by ESC on October 11, 2003

In Reply to: Wuthering Heights posted by sphinx on October 11, 2003

: What does the book's name show to us? What does heights refer to?
: What does 'wuther' mean? There doesn't seem to have such a word in my dictionary.

: Always appreciate your help!

From Merriam-Webster online at http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary
Main Entry: wuth.er
Pronunciation: 'w&-[th]&r
Function: intransitive verb
Etymology: alteration of whither to rush, bluster, hurl
Date: circa 1825
dialect English : to blow with a dull roaring sound

Spark Notes online has information about the importance of nature and landscape in the books:

The Conflict between Nature and Culture - In Wuthering Heights, Brontë constantly plays nature and culture against each other. Nature is represented by the Earnshaw family, and by Catherine and Heathcliff in particular. These characters are governed by their passions, not by reflection or ideals of civility. Correspondingly, the house where they live-Wuthering Heights-comes to symbolize a similar wildness. On the other hand, Thrushcross Grange and the Linton family represent culture, refinement, convention, and cultivation.

Moors - The constant emphasis on landscape within the text of Wuthering Heights endows the setting with symbolic importance. This landscape is comprised primarily of moors: wide, wild expanses, high but somewhat soggy, and thus infertile. Moorland cannot be cultivated, and its uniformity makes navigation difficult. It features particularly waterlogged patches in which people could potentially drown. (This possibility is mentioned several times in Wuthering Heights.) Thus, the moors serve very well as symbols of the wild threat posed by nature. As the setting for the beginnings of Catherine and Heathcliff's bond (the two play on the moors during childhood), the moorland transfers its symbolic associations onto the love affair.

http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/wuthering/themes.html