The mood of Wuthering Heights is gloomy, foreboding, and often bitter. From the novel's first pages, the vast, sparsely populated, storm-tossed moor creates a lonely atmosphere, distanced from the civilized world, that forces readers to focus on the minute details of the characters' lives and heartaches. The Gothic architecture of Wuthering Heights itself contributes to the gloom, its old, gargoyle-studded exterior hinting at a long, troubled history within. Wind-blasted trees and thunderstorms add to the feeling of foreboding, like the storm that erupts the night Heathcliff fatefully runs away from the Heights.
The dark, bitter exchanges between the residents of Wuthering Heights likewise add to a mood of disharmony, domestic dysfunction, and even hatred. As Nelly Dean unfolds the story to Lockwood, a mounting sense of inevitable fate and impending tragedy continues to build, climaxing with Cathy's imprisonment by Heathcliff at Wuthering Heights and Heathcliff's descent into madness as he nears death.
By the end of the novel, however, there is a shift toward a more hopeful mood. After Heathcliff dies, the characters and the very atmosphere seem to sigh with relief. Where there used to be misery, there's the promise of domestic harmony with Cathy and Hareton's playful exchanges (exchanging kisses as rewards during reading lessons) and the abundance of springtime light and colorful accents around the protagonists' graves. The mood shift suggests that the people of Wuthering Heights aren't fated to be unhappy, and that the lonely moors can yield peace and prosperity.