Book/Author:Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
Publisher/Year: Published May 14, 1998 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 1847)
Genre: Fiction, Classics, Literature
“Wuthering Heights is a wild, passionate story of the intense and almost demonic love between Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff, a foundling adopted by Catherine’s father. After Mr Earnshaw’s death, Heathcliff is bullied and humiliated by Catherine’s brother Hindley and wrongly believing that his love for Catherine is not reciprocated, leaves Wuthering Heights, only to return years later as a wealthy and polished man. He proceeds to exact a terrible revenge for his former miseries. The action of the story is chaotic and unremittingly violent, but the accomplished handling of a complex structure, the evocative descriptions of the lonely moorland setting and the poetic grandeur of vision combine to make this unique novel a masterpiece of English literature.” (Goodreads)
This was a reread for me; the first time I read this I was 18 and fresh to university. Rewind seven years, I gave this book 2/5 stars. Now I am hovering around a four. What’s changed? I appreciate Brontë’s ability to create the most detestable characters known to the literary world.
If you’re looking for drama and some characters to despise, look no further because Wuthering Heights offers you a plethora of options. When I was 18, I would have told you that the insufferable characters were the worst part. But now I can appreciate how terrible and flawed each of the characters are, and acknowledge that I do not need to like the characters to understand them.
What I enjoyed most about Wuthering Heights is Brontë’s ability to make you really hate (and I mean hate!) Hindley Earnshaw, and sympathize and root for Heathcliff; then, Brontë turns that world up-side-down and makes you feel sorry for Hindley and loath Heathcliff. All the characters are flawed and nobody is perfect.
Normally if a book got me this worked up with the characters I would have concluded that I disliked the book. However, the way Bronte writes about these characters gets under your skin; you understand each of them to a degree but at the same time you want to hate them all for the terrible things they do to one another. But isn’t that our (the human species) cruel nature? People do manipulate, abuse, beat, seek revenge, and keep this vicious cycle of violence carry from generation to generation.
I think the reason why this book gets so much hate is because people detest the characters and how uncomfortable it makes readers. But if you go into the book knowing you’re supposed to hate them, maybe you’ll appreciate the uncomfortable truths about human behaviour. I know I noticed these things the second time around.
“He’s more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.”
“Be with me always – take any form – drive me mad! only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you! Oh, God! it is unutterable! I can not live without my life! I can not live without my soul!”
“I have not broken your heart – you have broken it; and in breaking it, you have broken mine.”
“Treachery and violence are spears pointed at both ends; they wound those who resort to them worse than their enemies.”