One of the things that struck me while reading all of the different types of criticism on Wuthering Heights is the fact that there seems to be a general agreement that the novel is a folktale or fairytale. It is a distinction that seems to transcend typical critical boundaries, and it got me thinking about what makes Wuthering Heights a folktale/fairytale. I forget which article we read said that one thing that the novel shares with fairytales is timelessness, but thinking about it, I see what they mean. I know that the novel is linear, that years pass and one event leads to another, but it does have this quality to it that “Once upon a time” aspect that makes it seem as if it could be happening in any year for the past, I don’t know, 500 years before the modern era. I think one of the things that adds to this unique perception is the fact that Wuthering Heights and the Grange are so completely isolated in the novel from the modern outside world of that time. Only Old Mr. Earnshaw and Heathcliff actually leave the surrounding environs of the Heights and interact with outside society, but the way in which the narrator tells this information, it is almost like an afterthought, like it is inconsequential. Both instances occur to move the plot (Mr. Earnshaw brings Heathcliff to the Heights on his trip, and Heathcliff gains the money he will use later to gamble Hindley out of his property on his) but it is almost as if what happens to them outside of the Heights is inconsequential. It is not important to the main story and so it is left as this shrouded, mysterious journey of the hero that has to come about before he ever meets or interacts with the princess. It makes me think of the Beast’s story in the beginning of Beauty and the Beast, the narrator just tells us that he was selfish and cruel and that he was cursed by an enchantress. His part of the story becomes almost mythic on its own, it is a fable that has to occur for the plot to move forward. And in that story as well, the narrative and action seems to exist outside of a set time or place, it could have happened anywhere in almost any time period, and I think the same thing could be said of Wuthering Heights.


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