Sera's Reviews > Wuthering Heights

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
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Jan 29, 2008

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bookshelves: classics, kindle, own, 1001-books

I was really rolling along on this one until I read about 2/3 of the way through and thought "I really don't like any of the characters in this story, except for Lockwood, but he's not in it enough for me to have developed an antipathy toward him." I'm very impressed with Emily Bronte's best known work and find both the story and her writing itself to be top notch - she blows her sister, Charlotte, away. However, I gave Jane Eyre 5 stars, but I can only give WH 3, because by the time that I finished reading this book, I wanted to throw myself off of a 20 story building. Love and hate, love and hate, and love and hate through multiple generations to the point that I fervently wished that one of the characters could get out that vicious family circle and go somewhere new to start afresh.

I believe that I had read at some point that the Bronte sisters were kept locked up in their house. They lived remotely from other people and didn't get out much, due I think, to a controlling father. If my memory is correct, then I can certainly understand Emily's need to portray how destructive it is to one's own psyche to be limited in one's social network to a tiny, circle of people, especially when those people are vicious and cruel.

Even so, I enjoyed Bronte's point about the lack of power that women had over property ownership and appreciated how she weaved that subtheme into the story. I also loved Bronte's creativity, wonderful use of language and flair for high drama and passion; however, at the end of the day, I had a hard time getting excited about this one, because I just wanted the horrible story to end. Some might say, but in the end, everything worked out as it should have and to them I would say - "oh, really? I'm not so sure about that."

I would recommend that everyone read this book, because most love it or hate it, but I have to say, that I can see both perspectives, because throughout my reading of WH, I felt plenty of both.
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Reading Progress

January 29, 2008 – Shelved
November 5, 2009 –
page 1
"Finally getting to this classic."
Started Reading
November 8, 2009 –
0.0% "About half-way through and loving the high drama in this one."
November 8, 2009 – Finished Reading
November 9, 2009 – Shelved as: classics
November 9, 2009 – Shelved as: kindle
January 5, 2012 – Shelved as: own
December 23, 2012 – Shelved as: 1001-books

Comments (showing 1-9 of 9) (9 new)

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Meghan So this is what my first copy of WH said about the sisters:

"There is this about the Bronte sisters: they have always drawn the notice and interest of critics and readers to themselves nearly as much as to their works. They, and not merely their books, have from the time when their identities were divulged, been discussed and written about, to a quite different degree from most writers. Comparatively few volumes have been written about Thackeray, Dickens, Mrs. Gaskell, George Eliot. Jane Austen indeed runs the Brontes close, but even with her it is rather her novels than herself which have been the objects of critical gossip and research. There must be, there must always have been, something manetic about these Irish Yorkshire parson's daughters. One result of this is that every available fact about their personalities and lives is now familiar knowledge, together with some things which are not facts at all, such as the theory which attributes "Wuthering Heights" to the poor ineffectual dipsomaniac brother, Bramwell Bronte, who boasted to friends that it was his work, but who, so far as has transpired, never wrote a good line of verse or prose in his life. It is supposed that he only connection he had with "Wuthering Heights" was that Emily put some of his love-sick raving into the mouth of her Heathcliff....

Charlotte, in her preface to "Wuthering Heights" (and this preface must always be the last and best word of Emily) says that her sister's imagination, fed as it was by the often tragic and sinister true tales of the lives of her neighbours which abound in every countryside, was not checked by any personal intercourse with these neighbours. One's country and village neighbours are, in spite of all the sad true tales of their domestic disasters, in the main cheery and lively souls. Emily Bronte's reserve prevented her even seeking such intercourse with them as the parson's daughter usualy has; instead her imagination brooded over them, and over the lonely, wind-stormed old farmhouse that stood on the heights above Haworth's grey streets; and, out of these by the literary influence of the romantic tales of Hofman, "Wuthering Heights" was born....

"The heredity gloom and austerity both of the Roman Cathlic religion and of the Protestant faith as held in Ulster was in his nature and transmitted to his children, together, perhaps, with the sense of conflict and unrest which mixed marriages in north Ireland engender, together, also with the fire of Cletic mysticism and imagination, and the ability for love of learning which had raised the young peasant Patrick Prunty into the Cambridge scholar and parson. Patrick, however, seems to have had no literary genius; neither had his gentle Wesleyan wife from Cornwall. That was their children's original gift, fostered by their remote life and precocious upbringing. In Emily's case her retired childhood was only broken by two short experiences at school. Away from home she was always desperately homesick. One can imagine the family society, even more sufficient to itself than are most large families--the five motherless, clever, delicate little sisters (the two eldest died under twelve) and the one bad little brother, growing up together in the charge of a quer father and a bored Cornish aunt, reading anything they could lay their hands on, discussing politics and public affairs in the nursery, led by the amazing eldest infant, Maria (who, if at the age of eleven she really talked like Helen Burns in "Jane Eyre," perhaps did well not to survive it) walking through the moorland country in the appalling Yorkshire weather, foreer scribbling, as little girls will, stories and poems."

(There was a lot more, but it's more a love letter than biography.)

Sera Thanks for the information, Meghan. What an interesting family! I really liked WH; I just hated the characters in it :)

Meghan I thought it was interesting that Heathcliff was modeled after the brother. What a brother, eh?!

But I wouldn't mind reading a biography on the family. I'm looking forward to January and trying to keep an open mind about it all. heh

Sera I think that a biography about the Brontes would be fun to read. Let me know if you come cross anything worthy.

I'm hoping to start Agnes Gray tonight. I've had such a hectic week and it's not over yet. What's thrown me off is that Joe and I have been invited to one of my boss's house tomorrow night for a holiday gathering with a bunch of big wigs and holiday attire is requested. Of course, I have nothing, and I could use to lose 20 pounds. So I've been running around trying to find something. Our kitchen is almost done, but we have to find new backsplash, because now that everything's getting installed, what we picked, no longer goes. So a little nutty, but hopefully, will start calming down over the weekend. As the holidays get closer, I start using vacation, which I am so looking forward to.

How are things on your end?

Meghan Sera wrote: "I think that a biography about the Brontes would be fun to read. Let me know if you come cross anything worthy.

I'm hoping to start Agnes Gray tonight. I've had such a hectic week and it's not..."

Agh! I hate those moments. I've finally have two outfits that fit any ocassion that I need (one pants and one skirt). There's nothing to make a girl sweat a bit than a dinner and no outfit. (Although, just throw a holiday pin or necklace on whatever outfit you have and then you're all set! But seriously, what does one wear to a Veteran's Day party? ha ha kidding)

I'm very excited for pics of your new kitchen. You better send me one! It sounds like it's very nice so just hang in there. It's almost done!

We're doing fine. Trying to do last minute stuff to get Fang ready to leave. I have two weeks before I have to get myself ready so that has made things a bit easier. It's a little nuts when we're both trying to scramble around packing. Life in Beijing is good in general. I'm looking forward to the warm weather of South Asia, but I'm kind of sad to be leaving Beijing. Jade's really enjoying her music class and I'm sad we won't be around to complete the whole course. But it snowed again today, so my sadness is lessening as the weather continues to drop! heh

Enjoy your magazines and tv shows though. And then enjoy Agnes. I have to admit I'd put Agnes down in favor of magazines and tv. ha!

Ok, good news is that I found an outfit - I paid out the wazoo for it, but it's ok, because I can wear it over and over. It's a dressy black jacket with beaded buttons, with a cream colored shell underneath, with a pair of gray colored pants with tiny, cream colored specks in it. The jewelry is the part that really dresses it up. I bought a fancy necklace with matching earrings, and there you go.

I also picked up a red cordory jacket that I can use for more casual holiday fare. I'm sure that folks will be dressed to the nines tomorrow night, but I will be good enough and comfortable - I'm just glad that I found something that I don't feel awkward in :) Plus, if I'm a sloppy eater or drinker, no one will be the wiser. I had originally picked up the same jacket in creme, which looked really sharp, but I was nervous about getting it dirty. Especially if I have to hold Alex for some reason.

Do you know that I read that the reason that it's been snowing in Beijing is b/c the goverment tried to make it rain by putting energy into the clouds there, but that they put too much so that it snowed instead?

Also, don't forget that there's a football game on tonight - Denver vs. SF. So don't forget to put your line up in!


Meghan Sera wrote: "
Ok, good news is that I found an outfit - I paid out the wazoo for it, but it's ok, because I can wear it over and over. It's a dressy black jacket with beaded buttons, with a cream colored shel..."

Oh crap. I missed this. Too late for football. Hopefully I didn't have anything bad in. I generally have my line up semi-fixed on Tuesday because I know I sometimes forget. But thanks for the heads up.

And the outfit sounds fantastic. Sometimes, you should just splurge on yourself. I know it's hard, especially with the kitchen redo and Alex. But you deserve some nice stuff too once in a while! And something I've learned is if you're comfortable and happy, you're going to look fantastic. If you had gotten something uber fancy but were uncomfortable, it'd actually probably look worse because it would show that you were uncomfortable.

And I don't doubt the snow theory. We had drought like conditions this summer and they're pretty worried. It's VERY unusual for this area to be having this much snow. Already a bunch of people have died and been injured due to roofs caving in. It's really sad because a lot of them happened at schools. The buildings here are built to withstand earthquakes but not heavy snow sitting on top of them. I told Fang the first time it snowed, I hoped the people knew they better shovel their roofs as I was pretty sure they weren't built to withstand much snow.

Alison So much love. So much hate. I really like the film adaptation (1939) with Merle Oberon & Laurence Olivier. I have a huge crush on Olivier and supposedly they truly hated each other during the filming of this all that love & hate translates to the big screen.

Glad you can mark this one off your list! I'll be waiting to hear from Agnes Gray...

Sera Thanks, Alison. It is a good feeling to have finally read this one. You know, the more that I think about this book, the more that I appreciate what Bronte did. But the characters are so unlikeable that I would have a difficult time recommending the book to someone else to read.

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