Neurotic Fishbowl: Wuthering Heights

 

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Wuthering Heights

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë: I was excited when I was able to borrow this book from a fellow Book Crossing member. I kept thinking, "Tragic, gothic romance. Should be right up my alley!" Unfortunately, I found it not to be.

I know that I've liked other books from this time period (Jane Eyre and Madame Bovary for example), but I found Wuthering Heights to be extremely difficult to get into. I also had a rough time keeping track of the characters and their relationships to one another as well.

To me, I think the biggest problem was that I didn't really like any of the characters. By having no particular character to root for, it became a laborious task to continue with the book. However, around page 200 or so, I finally found a character that I could sympathize with and like and I felt that the book picked up and managed to draw me in since I did want to see how it ended. I don't know, though, if slogging through the first part of the novel made it worthwhile.

(Finished on July 17, 2003.)

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Comments

Wuthering Heights:

Fantastic song by Kate Bush!

Great movie with Laurence Olivier and Merle Oberon!

Hardest book to read. Ever!

.: Buzz said on July 22, 2003 07:07 PM :: link it :.

I absolutely agree with you. The basic premise is so good, it breaks my heart that the book itself is so poor.

.: Somewhat said on July 22, 2003 11:11 PM :: link it :.

I remember having to read that way back in AP 12 English. My teacher said it was one of 'literature's greatest romances'. I have to this day yet to figure out where on earth she got that idea. I trudged through it and found nothing enjoyable. And I agree with you... it was that I couldn't even find a minor character to like.

.: Rebecca said on July 23, 2003 02:33 PM :: link it :.

I was forced to read this book at school when I was about 14.

Unlike the other reviewers above though, I liked it. Or more than that, it put into words what I felt, or feel, that love is.

Yes it is difficult. It is a story (by the narrator) about a story (mainly by Nelly) about other people, mainly Cathy and Heathcliff.

Yes, perhaps the characters are not all that likable. Especially Heathcliff.

Also, the book was originally published serialised in a magazine. And it seems to me that the second half of the book, other than its conclusion, were written to keep the paychecks coming in. The second half is a refrain, a echo, at best a reitteration of the first half, that is not all that relevent to the main story. The film adaptations skip the second half and for good reason.

So what is good about it?

Well...first of all the definition it gives of love, which is: When you really love someone, you are that person. Here are the best lines of the book, for me.


Cathy about Heathcliff, and her future whimpy husband Linton (not knowing that Heathcliff is listening)


"I love him (Heathcliff): and that, not because he's handsome, Nelly, but because
he's more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and
mine are the same; and Linton's is as different as a moonbeam from
lighting, or frost from fire" (p.73).

"Every Linton on the face of the earth might melt into nothing, before
I could consent to forsake Heathcliff" (p.74).

"My great miseries in this world have been Heathcliff's miseries, and I
have watched and felt each from the beginning; my great thought in
living is himself. If all else perished and he remained, I should still
continue to be; and if all else remained, and he were annihilated, the
universe would turn to a mighty stranger: I should not seem a part of it.
My love for Linton is like the foliage in the woods: time will change it,
I'm well aware, as winter changes the trees. My love for Heathcliff
resembles the eternal rocks beneath: a source of little visible delight,
but not necessary. Nelly, I am Heathcliff! He's always in my mind:
not as a pleasure, any more than I am always a pleasure to myself" (p.74-5).

Then later, before Cathy dies, she says
"I'll not lie there by myself: they may bury me twelve feet deep, and throw the
church down over me, but I won't rest till you are with me. I never will!" (p.116).

"I wish I could hold you, till we were both dead! I shouldn't care what you
suffered. I care nothing for your sufferings. Why shouldn't you suffer? I do!
Will you forget me? Will you be happy when I am in the earth?" (p.145).

Heathcliff to Cathy before she dies.

"You teach me now how cruel you've been--cruel and false. Why did you
despise me? Why did you betray your own heart, Cathy? I have not one
word of comfort. You deserve this. You have killed yourself. Yes, you may
kiss me, and cry; and wring out my kisses and tears: they'll blight you--they'll
damn you. You loved me--then what right had you to leave me? What right
--answer me--for the poor fancy you felt for Linton? Because misery, and
degradation, and death, and nothing God or satan could inflict would have
parted us, you, of your own will, did it. I have not broken your heart--you
have broken it; and in breaking it, you have broken mine. So much the worse
for me, that I am strong. Do I want to live? What kind of living will it be when
you--oh, God! would you like to live with your soul in the grave?"

"I forgive what you have done to me, I love my murderer--but yours! How can I?"

Then of Cathy when she has died -

"Why, she's a liar to the end! Where is she? Not there--not in heaven--not
perished--where? Oh! you said you cared nothing for my sufferings! And I pray
on prayer--I repeat it till my tongue stiffens--Catherine Earnshaw, may you
not rest as long a I am living! You said I killed you--haunt me, then! The murdered
do haunt there murderers. I believe--I know that ghosts have wandered on earth.
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 cannot live without
my life! I cannot live without my soul!"

And eventually, Cathy came back from the
dead and meets Heathcliff.

Hence the Kate Bush song.

"Heathcliff, it's me Cathy, I have come home now."

And another thing... It also perhaps points out a problem of love. Love has two elements.

1) We love those that we identify with, that we are as in "I am my Heathcliff."

2) We are at the same time attracted to that which we are not.

The tragedy, that Cathy chose to marry this other guy, Linton, with his cash and upper-class charm, inspite of the fact that she said "I am Heathcliff" is one which is going on all the time.

Don't get too freindly with a girl! She will marry someone else instead! And ladies too, vice versa.

Cathy and Heathcliff's love is incestuous. They were brought up as brother and sister. They played together, they dreamed together. They were each other. They were too close.

If Kate Bush liked it, it can't be bad.

Tim


.: timtak said on September 2, 2003 08:42 AM :: link it :.

I absolutely adored the book.
It broke my heart.

.: Katrina said on July 6, 2004 09:18 PM :: link it :.

We are in the process of reading this book adn doing a report on it now. I am currently in Highschool and I have no idea where to begin. If I would have taken an intrest in the novel this would not be so difficult. The novel to me seems like a 19th centurl soap opera and thats what it was probably intended to be (Due to its original print in magazines.) Many of the females, in our class like it becasuse they can relate. But as for the males we are just doing it to get by. I dont know what to do about my Analayis. My thesis is on "The effects of relationships on the characters in Wuthering Heights" Thats were it ENDS if anyone can help me i would appreciate it.

.: Marcus said on August 18, 2004 07:29 AM :: link it :.

You're too early! Come back at July 22, 2003 06:33 PM to see this post.

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