Ivy's Reviews > Wuthering Heights

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
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Aug 29, 09

really liked it
bookshelves: classic-literature
Read in August, 2009 , read count: 1

It took me a few days to get over my initial distaste for the main characters, and this book in general, before writing a review. This book was not well received in its time and I understand why. Victorian England was not interested in perusing books with such irascible characters, as it didn't fall within their idea of how ladies and gentlemen of the period should behave. Heathcliff and Cathy are two people who are as twisted and tempestuous as the moors in which they live.

Heathcliff is brought to live in Cathy Earnshaw's family as a small child by her father. He is greatly disliked by Earnshaw's son, Hindley, because he regards Heathcliff as an upsurper, and does all he can to torment the newcomer. Cathy takes Heathcliff on as her playmate and from that moment on the two are inseparable, running as wild and unchecked as the windy moors surrounding them. Heathcliff grows to love Cathy fiercely as he becomes a young man, but Cathy begins to take an interest in the quiet, refined way of life at Thrushcross Grange, the home of their wealthier, more respectable neighbors.

Upon returning from an extended stay at Thrushcross Grange, Cathy is transformed from the wild, ill-mannered and incorrigible girl, to a seemingly calm and civilized young lady. She has caught the eye of her neighbor's young son Edgar and has designs to marry him. Cathy confides this to her servant, Nelly, who asks her if she does not care then for Heathcliff. Cathy expresses disdain for Heathcliff and remarks that she could never marry him. Unbeknownst to her, Heathcliff has heard this conversation and quits the house. Cathy continues to elaborate upon her feelings and reveals that though she finds Heathcliff coarse and unrefined, she loves him deeply to the extent of proclaiming herself to be Heathcliff. She cannot see herself ever separating from him because loving him is like loving herself--both are as one person. Nelly is exasperated with her talk and tells her that Heathcliff has overheard their conversation. Cathy panicks and stays up all night waiting for him to come home. He never returns and does not come back to Wuthering Heights for another 3 years.

By then Cathy has married Edgar, but pines for Heathcliff. She is immensely happy with Edgar until Heathcliff comes back bent on revenge. He takes that revenge by running away with Edgar's younger sister. Despite the fact that both have hurt each other deeply, Heathcliff and Cathy continue to love one another with a dangerous, wild and destructive passion. That passion consumes and destroys everything around them and when Cathy finally succumbs to her end, Heathcliff continues his embittered path of hatred and destruction, revenging himself on his wife, his brother-in-law and their descendants.

This was such a hard book to read because I internalized all the horrible feelings Cathy and Heathcliff exuded. I didn't like Heathcliff, I resented his love for Cathy. How is it that he can hate in such reckless abandon with the same heart that he uses to love Cathy and then treat her daughter with such contempt? How dare he profess to love when he hates and despises so cruelly. He has no compassion and, by God, I would have shot him if I was Cathy Linton.

Emily Bronte wrote a book that breaks convention and draws comparisons between men and women, society, religion and class. It is superior to Charlotte's "Jane Eyre" and Anne's "The Tenant of Wildfell Hall" which though well written, are products of convention.



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message 1: by Ivy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ivy Fulfills category: Read a book written more than 50 years ago--5 pts.


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