Literature – WH and ATSS – Belonging

Hello, I’m back with more Wuthering Heights and A Thousand Splendid Suns. These notes are on the theme of belonging, which can easily be linked to various other themes. Also, if you’re reading or studying even one of these books, the comparisons are very light, as in, I use the comparative language but make statements about the books, so you can easily read the bits you need to without not understanding what’s going on. Anyway, here you go.


Wuthering Heights focuses on location as belonging rather than the people around you or acceptance. This is inspired by Emily Bronte’s life: Emily Brontë lived not in a mythical moorland vastness but in a rapidly industrialising world. Her home, Haworth Parsonage, looked down on a small Yorkshire mill town and backed onto the moors. The bleakly beautiful West Yorkshire moors have often helped to define in important ways how readers and critics have interpreted Wuthering Heights – as a strange and wild book about a remote and unfamiliar landscape. Yet it is important to remember that Haworth was a modern working town, with several mills and a good deal of industrial unrest. Although it might have seemed distant from London, it was not so far from Manchester and the busy metropolis of Leeds. It was part of a world in rapid motion that witnessed the dramatic mid-Victorian transformation of nature and work in both town and country, changes powered by the railways and by the mills that surrounded them.

The moors mattered, particularly to Emily, who was fascinated by their austere beauty and by the destructive and consoling powers of the natural world that they embodied. An early essay by her saw nature as essentially destructive and indifferent to human purposes and needs: “All creation is equally mad… Nature is an inexplicable problem; it exists on a principle of destruction. Every being must be the tireless instrument of death to others, or itself must cease to live, yet nonetheless we celebrate the day of our birth, and we praise God for having entered such a world.” Wuthering Heights has at its heart these contradictory qualities and constantly binds together the deadly and regenerative qualities of nature: even the level-headed Nelly Dean is “seldom otherwise than happy while watching in the chamber of death”.

In A Thousand Splendid Suns, however, belonging is focused on the people around you, your family. When Mariam first moves into Rasheed’s house, she doesn’t like the kitchen as she doesn’t know where everything is, like she did at home. Due to this, she feels loneliness and so she doesn’t belong. The same happens when Laila’s mother rearranges the kitchen. They are not close and when Mammy rearranges everything, it is no longer Laila’s and she doesn’t belong in it anymore. Laila and Mariam also don’t feel relaxed until they work in the kitchen together. Although it is to do with positions, the kitchen is also ‘the heart of the home’ and belonging or not begins here for the main characters.

Aaaand we’re done. Good job on reading, I find these a little difficult to read because there’s so much, but they are useful because a comparison just needs to ‘happen’ I think. You know, it just needs to compare and explain because that’s really what it is. So, sorry it’s not highlighted or anything, and I’m sure there are hundreds of other points to be made, so please comment anything you have below, as it helps me, you and everyone else that reads this. Thanks again, and have a nice day.

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