What Are Some Literary Devices in “Wuthering Heights”?

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Some literary devices used in Emily Bronte’s “Wuthering Heights” include motifs and symbolism. Some of the novel’s motifs include doubling and repetition, and some symbols in the book include moors and ghosts.

Many of the components of Bronte’s novel are organized into pairs, including characters, settings and themes. Catherine and Heathcliff are similar characters who see themselves as identical. Catherine herself is divided in half by her desire for both Heathcliff and Edgar. The two houses in the novel, Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange, form an inverted reflection of each other, representing different worlds and values. The novel also embodies this duality in its two narrators, Nelly and Mr. Lockwood.

Repetition is another motif in the novel, creating a narrative that occurs in cycles. Character names are repeated and scrambled between generations, indicating how the past repeats itself. Characters also mimic and repeat each other’s actions. For example, Heathcliff degrades Hareton, repeating Hindley’s degradation of Heathcliff, and Catherine’s mockery of Joseph’s religious enthusiasm mimics her mother’s own mockery.

The moors that form the novel’s backdrop serve as a potent symbol. This soggy, monotonous terrain makes navigation difficult and presents the possibility of drowning, symbolizing the dangers posed by nature. Ghosts also appear through “Wuthering Heights,” serving to symbolize the reappearance of the past and the persistence of memory.