Comparing Setting and Mood in "Frankenstein" by Mary Shelley, and "Wuthering Heights" by Emily Bronte

Essay by Anonymous UserHigh School, 11th grade May 1996

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The two most powerful elements used in any gothic novel are setting and mood. In the novels Wuthering Heights and Frankenstein, setting and mood are the two most effective elements employed. Bronte and Shelley use desolate isolation, untamed geography, death and passionate revenge to identify these components.

The setting of a gothic novel has been described as, 'usually a large mansion or remote castle which is dark and foreboding: usually isolated from neighbors' In Wuthering Heights, Bronte has used Thrushcross Grange and Wuthering Heights to depict isolation and separation. The dark and foreboding environment described at the beginning of the novel foreshadows the gloomy atmosphere found in the remainder of the book. Wuthering Heights is an ancient mansion perched on a high ridge, overlooking a bled, windy. sparsely inhabited wasteland. The harsh, gloomy characteristics of the land are reflected in the human characters. In Frankenstein, Victor's country house near Geneva is described as isolated, dwarfed by massive, snow capped mountain ranged and hunted by the emptiness of a calm lake.

Victor also describes it as 'an unusual tranquillity'(page 27) This effect of isolation and tranquillity leads directly into the dreary element of mood. Victors apartment at the university also conveys a feeling of dread with its piles of books, scattered equipment, dust and unkemptness. Shelley's novel takes us on a tour of the wildest, most isolated geography in Europe: the Swiss and French Alps, the Rhine valley, the Outer Hebrides of Scotland, Northern Ireland, Russia and the Arctic. In these places, where humans are dwarfed by uncontrollable nature, the protagonist is helpless and alone.

The element of mood in a gothic novel has been described as, 'gloomy, dark, terror, death, revenge, hate, mystery, horror.' In Wuthering Heights, the two most convincing elements of mood are death and revenge. Every character...