EVERYONE Has Read This but Me - The Catch-Up Book Club discussion

Wuthering Heights
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CLASSICS READS > Wuthering Heights - *SPOILERS*

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message 1: by Kaseadillla (last edited Jun 01, 2017 05:03AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kaseadillla | 1349 comments Mod
Hello all - starting up discussions for the JUNE 2017 BOTMs. This discussion is for the group's poll selection for the CLASSICS category: Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë.

This discussion will be FULL OF SPOILERS. If you have not read the book yet and don't want to ruin the ending, hop on over to the spoiler-free discussion HERE .

Happy reading!
Kasey


message 2: by Lee (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lee Peckover (leepeckover) | 9 comments I didn't mind this book when I read it way back in my school days. But I didn't like it enough to re-relead it.


message 3: by Lee (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lee Peckover (leepeckover) | 9 comments Or re-read as I actually meant. I might have considered revisiting had Heathcliff had more involvement, probably the character I was most interested in.
I live very close to Bronte territory. So I do love some of the description of setting, it is very accurate.


ePat | 9 comments Like Lee, I read Wuthering Heights for the first time when I was about eighteen (the movie with Laurence Olivier and Merle Oberon had been one of my favorites) and for the most part I remember the book's dark tone, and I remember being bogged down by the local vernacular. I didn't hate it, but I didn't love it either. It'll be interesting to see how it goes over decades later


ePat | 9 comments Lee wrote: "Or re-read as I actually meant. I might have considered revisiting had Heathcliff had more involvement, probably the character I was most interested in.
I live very close to Bronte territory. So I..."


Lucky you to live so close! Have you ever visited the Bronte Pasonage Museum, and if you have, what was your impression?


message 6: by Ana (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ana Reinhard | 1 comments I honestly can say the first time around I wasn't able to finish it because I hated the character and dark mood sooo much....
I mean there is enough trouble in life without beeing depressed over fictional characters lives. :D My teenager brain...
Maybe I was just too young for its concept just yet (18)?

But I gave it a second chance four years later. Now I appreciated it much more.
I love how Heathcliff and Catherine destroy their relationship because of their character but are never really able to let go of each other.
But in a way, my favorite part is the repetition of this with the young generation. I really loved following the changes the kids go through.


J.P. Nicks | 5 comments This used to be one of my favorite movies as a young girl, though I can no longer remember the plot and I never read the novel. I've just started reading it for this challenge (3 chapters in) and I don't think I've ever met a more annoying narrator. Heathcliff laughing out loud at him getting tackled by dogs for stealing a servant's lamp was me.


Phil Jensen | 53 comments J.P. wrote: "This used to be one of my favorite movies as a young girl, though I can no longer remember the plot and I never read the novel. I've just started reading it for this challenge (3 chapters in) and I..."

The unreliable narration is a highlight for me, especially the Nelly chapters. She is the worst servant ever!


message 9: by Stephen (last edited Jun 02, 2017 04:32AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Stephen (havan) | 6 comments Never really cared for this book nor either of the two main characters. Read it during my college years and then again a few years back.

Both Heathcliff and Catherine are remarkably memorable characters but they're not very likeable.

And their overwhelming love seems to be of the selfish variety. They both seem more concerned for themselves that their "beloved." In my opinion, that's what makes this the tragedy that it is.

I do agree with Phil. The narration scenes with Nelly are some of the best parts of the story. That and the way the setting is evoked.

Anyway, I've dusted off my e-book copy and plan to revisit the moors with an open mind. Perhaps this time will be different.


message 10: by ePat (new) - rated it 5 stars

ePat | 9 comments Ana wrote: "I honestly can say the first time around I wasn't able to finish it because I hated the character and dark mood sooo much....
I mean there is enough trouble in life without beeing depressed over f..."


That's why I'm so eager to give this another chance. I think I was too immature to appreciate it. But then, many classics I read as a girl and came across as 'meh' - like Pride and Prejudice believe it or not - but became an entirely different reading experience when I read them again later in life.


message 11: by Dawn (new) - rated it 3 stars

Dawn Podojil I started this book on audio during a 4 hour drive last weekend. On the return trip (another 4 hours) we almost finished it. My husband loved the voices that the reader did for each character. I finally had a chance to finish the last part of the book last night. I have to say that home at Wuthering Heights seems to be a very toxic environment. Nobody was ever happy in that house, except Catherine at the end. I struggled to get through this one and it's dark mood. Happy to have read this one. Another book club I belong to is reading Jane Eyre this summer so it will be interesting to see another Bronte writing style.


Sarah | 729 comments Not reading the spoilers yet, but I just want to say that I'm so intrigued by this oak paneled bed! I think I need one.


Daphne (daphne2163) | 3 comments I have read the book twice and it makes me question if you need to have characters with redeeming qualities to like a book. Can you enjoy reading about the wicked ways of all of the characters or does there need to be someone in the story that has some good attributes? I want to like this story but the characters put me off.


message 14: by Phil (new) - rated it 5 stars

Phil Jensen | 53 comments I love this book because the characters are terrible, terrible people.

Here is my appropriately weird review:

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


Kaseadillla | 1349 comments Mod
On that note... about halfway through. I would have pushed Catherine out that open window just to give her something real to complain about.


Joanna Loves Reading (joannalovesreading) | 1108 comments Daphne wrote: "I have read the book twice and it makes me question if you need to have characters with redeeming qualities to like a book. Can you enjoy reading about the wicked ways of all of the characters or d..."

I need a likable character to like a book. I don't need them to feel strongly about a book, which I have heard is the mark of a good one.


Joanna Loves Reading (joannalovesreading) | 1108 comments It took several times to for me to get through this book probably 10 or more years ago. I am not going to re-read. I did find it rewarding that I finished and, it finally made sense, though still an odd story. I'm not really sure if I like the novel or not, but it is intriguing.

Prior to reading, I had seen a film adaptation and thought Heathcliff was supposed to be a romantic hero. I was shocked to learn he was a villain and horrible person. I do not understand the fascination with him. If anyone can enlighten me on that score, please do so.


message 18: by Phil (new) - rated it 5 stars

Phil Jensen | 53 comments Joanna wrote: "thought Heathcliff was supposed to be a romantic hero. I was shocked to learn he was a villain and horrible person. I do not understand the fascination with him. If anyone can enlighten me on that score, please do so. "

There's a lot of confusion on that point. A great debate that sometimes happens is Pride & Prejudice vs. Jane Eyre vs. Wuthering Heights, and within that debate is Darcy vs. Rochester vs. Heathcliff. I'm with you-- I don't see how anyone could pick Heathcliff as the swooniest man in 19th century literature. Even though WH is by far my favorite of the three books.


message 19: by ePat (new) - rated it 5 stars

ePat | 9 comments Sarah wrote: "Not reading the spoilers yet, but I just want to say that I'm so intrigued by this oak paneled bed! I think I need one."

lol. I love it, too. It's the perfect little hideaway.


message 20: by ePat (new) - rated it 5 stars

ePat | 9 comments For myself, I like the anti-hero or anti-heroine, the villain with one or two redeeming qualities. I don't like characters in the book to be too perfect because people aren't perfect, but so far I have to admit that Heathcliff and family seem pretty horrible.


Joanna Loves Reading (joannalovesreading) | 1108 comments I'll be interested to hear if you find any redeeming qualities for Heathcliff or some of the others.


Joanna Loves Reading (joannalovesreading) | 1108 comments Christina wrote: "For those who have read the book~~~
How important is it that I read the introduction, biographical notice of Ellis and Acton Bell, and the Editor's Preface to New (1850) edition of Wuthering Height..."


Christina - just go for it. I rarely read intoductions prior to starting books, because I would rather experience my reaction with as little outside influence as possible.


message 23: by Phil (new) - rated it 5 stars

Phil Jensen | 53 comments Christina wrote: "For those who have read the book~~~
How important is it that I read the introduction, biographical notice of Ellis and Acton Bell, and the Editor's Preface to New (1850) edition of Wuthering Height..."


They're interesting, but in no way essential. Ellis and Acton Bell were gender-neutral pseudonyms that the Bronte's wrote under. The 1850 is slightly revised, mainly by translating Joseph's Yorkshire into a slightly more intelligible gibberish.


Kaseadillla | 1349 comments Mod
Just finished. Surprisingly just meh.
It's definitely a cast of unlikable characters, which is interesting, but I guess not my brand of unlikable. I eye-rolled at every overly dramatic character making themselves sick for attention or pity.
It's dark, dreary, maybe haunting (I don't know didn't really feel the horror outside of bad behavior)? I can see how it is a favorite, but it felt like a mandatory high school read. again. hahah.
Give it stars for eliciting some emotion out of me, but it was mostly annoyance, soooo not many.


Jennifer (jenck) | 47 comments I reread WH (first time since high school), and absolutely despised everything about it. Catherine and Heathcliff are both loathsome and pathetic at the same time. I was constantly rolling my eyes. I wished someone would just murder Heathcliff so he could go be with Catherine instead of taking his unhappiness, which was well-deserved, out on everyone else. I don't know how anyone could feel anything but disgust and loathing for him over the way he abuses his son. I do not AT ALL understand the reverance for this book. Is it because the author was female? Because the characters were "human"? Don't care. One of the most hated books I have ever read.


message 26: by Rose (new) - rated it 1 star

Rose I recently read this novel and I must say I really disliked it. From the hair pulling, gnashing of teeth to the chest pounding, eye gouging teenage drama, I was disappointed. I really had to struggle to get through it. Meh.


message 27: by Rose (new) - rated it 1 star

Rose Jennifer wrote: "I reread WH (first time since high school), and absolutely despised everything about it. Catherine and Heathcliff are both loathsome and pathetic at the same time. I was constantly rolling my eyes...."

My thoughts exactly!


message 28: by Phil (new) - rated it 5 stars

Phil Jensen | 53 comments Jennifer wrote: "I do not AT ALL understand the reverance for this book."

For me, it's schadenfreude.

I enjoy this book because the characters are grotesque and inhuman. They are bad, then bad things happen. It's like a Halloween parade. And the book keeps topping itself and becoming more gothic and intense as it goes along. The characters start off bad and get worse. The relationships start off unhealthy, then they combust.

I also enjoy the puzzle aspect of the unreliable narration. The narrator spends the first chunk of the book making laughably inaccurate assumptions about everybody, then he spends most of the book listening to Nelly spin rumors about her employers. How much of it is true? Isn't it a little suspicious that Nelly is the only person who sounds sane in her version of the story?

And buried in the midst of this madness, Bronte plants emotional speeches of searing intensity. I was never bored while reading it.


aPriL does feral sometimes  (cheshirescratch) | 559 comments Everyone focuses on the damaging rotten romance of Heathcliff and Cathy, ignoring Hindley's utter depravity and his role in beginning this generational horror. When Heathcliff was brought home to the Earnshaw home, Cathy was six years old, and Hindley twelve. Heathcliff was also a child, tucked inside Earnshaw's coat, because he was that small when Earnshaw brought him home. Hindley not only was jealous, he was the oldest child thus he must have been more aware of what choices of behavior he could make. He proceeded to beat and deprive Heathcliff whenever he could get away with it. Hindley was finally sent away until after his father died. At that point, he was a young man, a college graduate and married when he takes over Wuthering Heights.

I think Heathcliff was something like twelve or thirteen when Hindley decides to stop his education and reading of books, banning him from the house to go live basically the same as a homeless person under a freeway.

As I read, I looked for the given ages of the main protagonists - most of the action occurs to them when in our time we would call them children. At several points, Nellie and other adults were narrating about them and reacting to them and punishing these main characters, severely blaming them and holding them to account for behaviors which were actually self-defensive reactions to vicious cruelty and injustice - all the while Heathcliff, Cathy, Hareton - were not even 15 years old, and beatings and being thrown down and threatened began when they were not yet even ten years old. In Hareton's case, as a baby he was shaken violently for crying and thrown down to the floor.


message 30: by aPriL does feral sometimes (last edited Jun 07, 2017 04:00PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

aPriL does feral sometimes  (cheshirescratch) | 559 comments Plus, did anyone notice that the adults NEVER explained to Cathy, Catherine, Linton, Hareton ANYTHING of what was going on between the Lintons, Earnshaws and Heathcliff until too late? And they only told the truth after their children (and they were children between 14 and 18) had fallen in love, unable to believe their lover was wicked or after their money?


Sarah | 729 comments This book took me over a week to read due to the language and some of the dialect. I was totally ready to 4 or 5 star the book until little Linton came into the picture. What started as a mysterious and intriguing introduction of complicated characters and the narration to unveil the mystery of it all, turned into a dragging story of very whiny characters and a plot for revenge that went on too long. I felt the part about young Cathy and Linton could have been shortened. What April said should be taken into consideration, these are very damaged and traumatized children growing from the way they have been nurtured. And I liked what Phil said about Nelly being one of the main narrators and depicted as the most sane of all. I did love Nelly though. Anyway, I liked the dark and mysterious tones of the book, and while I didn't like Heathcliff, I did find myself wanting the story to revolve more around him. The ending... when he loses the want to fulfill completely his in depth revenge plot, that kinda made the whole point of the story disappear. They could have played more on a change of heart that brings hope and beauty to the ill of heart finding their way. I gave it 3 stars. Towards the end I was just skimming and I can't even remember what happened to Linton!


Sarah | 729 comments Closing note: I do think this was a creative story and original for its time. Props for that.


message 33: by Tania (new) - rated it 1 star

Tania (geoluhread) | 25 comments I'm having a hard time reading this, not because of the language or story (which are both surprisingly pleasant).
It's Ramadan this month and I can hardly focus on one line of thought for too long, having two jobs and fasting makes me want to waste time watching stuff rather than reading.
Sorry for the misplaced rant.. I guess I'm not in the correct mindset to read this atm, it might take me a lot longer to finish..


Sarah | 729 comments I would have a hard time concentrating without food as well!


Maria (mia_reese) | 4 comments I actually really liked this... There wasn't a single character I found particularly endearing, but I appreciated that Brontë was able to make me sympathize with and hope for them.


Kristin B. Bodreau (krissy22247) | -2 comments Totally fair, Tania! :)

I've been in this group for two months. I've been looking forward to expanding my horizons to the classics since I have always avoided them. So far, that aversion is still holding strong. Oh well. Maybe next month I'll like the classic pick.

I have a few thoughts about the book, numbered for my own weirdness.
1. I also want that bed. Though I am appalled that books were left so carelessly near the window where they could be affected so much by the weather.
2. The narration was super weird. I didn't dislike it exactly. Though I have never been a fan of the type of story where it is relayed by a narrator who somehow remembers exactly every word people said, even years later. It's an odd choice. And, if it's being retold anyway, do we really need to keep Joseph's strange dialect?
3. Catherine and Heathcliff are horrible people and I wish they had gotten together as teens just to save Edgar and Isabella from them. They would have deserved each other.
4. Edgar was an idiot. He almost deserved what he got. Isabella wasn't much brighter to start, but at least she figured it out quick enough and had the good sense to hate Heathcliff.
5. I know he was kind of awful at times, but I adore Hareton. In my head he's kind of a big, dopey teddy bear.
6. Reading books based out of this time period always throws me off when it comes to people's health. It was just totally normal for a person to get so upset that they died. Happened all the time. I'm really glad modern medicine has advanced.
7. Most of my enjoyment in this book came from my misplaced amusement from the use of the word "ejaculation." I know vernacular has changed. But I have the sense of humor of a twelve year old most of the time. My particular favorite was it's first use when Joseph uttered a "pious ejaculation." (Right, sorry. I'll stop being immature now.)(Maybe)


message 37: by aPriL does feral sometimes (last edited Jun 10, 2017 11:42PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

aPriL does feral sometimes  (cheshirescratch) | 559 comments I've been in this group for two months. I've been looking forward to expanding my horizons to the classics since I have always avoided them. So far, that aversion is still..."

It wasn't until after college lit/mythology/Western Tradition (European history) classes I finally liked classics.

Most of your comments I agree with though. I wanted the bed, too, and I felt irritated at the mistreatment of the books, especially since I know books were extremely expensive when this novel was written. I knew then these people were terrible.


Kaseadillla | 1349 comments Mod
Kristin - HAH I had the same reaction to "ejaculation" hahaha


Sarah | 729 comments I of course had to Snapchat the ejaculation use to friends. 😂 There's also a Harry Potter book where Ron ejaculates loudly! I guess Rowling is a fan of classics, lol!


message 40: by Phil (new) - rated it 5 stars

Phil Jensen | 53 comments I read a lot of Edgar Rice Burroughs as a youth. I remember reading one of his Tarzan books right after we had Sex Ed at school, and one character kept ejaculating every time a woman entered the campsite. I was seriously confused!


Sarah | 729 comments 😂😂😂 Lol, Phil! I can see where that would throw the whole lesson off!


Kristin B. Bodreau (krissy22247) | -2 comments aPriL does feral sometimes wrote: "It wasn't until after college lit/mythology/Western Tradition (European history) classes I finally liked classics. ..."

I've been out of college for 11 years, so I'm not sure I'll get there. :) But I was an environmental science major, so I didn't take many literature classes. Maybe I just need to read a few more.


message 43: by Taz (new) - rated it 4 stars

Taz | 75 comments First off, this thread makes me giggle.

I agree that the treatment of (all) the books in the story was ghastly. Setting them on the ledge of a window for perhaps years? Throwing them into the fire?! These are expensive things! Though, if I understand correctly, during this time period many were of the disposition that books were poisonous to the mind and should therefore be abhorred. This might help explain Joseph's immediate detest of seemingly all written material.

I did find it interesting to see how the way each of the children were treated effected their attitude and behavior as they grew. Heathcliff seemed a very sweet boy and then he grew into a brute that took his misery out on others. He and Catherine deserve each other and it is a tidy ending to the novel that they finally end up together after causing so much misery.

All in all, this novel was not what i expected. Before reading, I knew it to be a gothic romance, but I expected more gothic and/or more romance. Aside from the ending and the brief appearance of spectres, I do not understand how it fits into this category. I did enjoy the read though.


Sarah | 729 comments Speaking of the treatment of books, I was appalled by the treatment of dogs in this book!


message 45: by Jen (last edited Jun 12, 2017 06:33AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jen Lewis | 18 comments Just finished this book and phew, was it a difficult one to get through. While I was intrigued in the plot, it was a grinding challenge. It was like the 1800s version of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.


Sarah | 729 comments LOL, Jen, GREAT description!!


message 47: by Aley (new) - rated it 2 stars

Aley (aleyh) | 6 comments I'm about 3/4 way through the book. I was told when I started it (I was rather self-righteous about announcing to some bookish friends that I was reading Wuthering Heights - and felt very sophisticated through I knew nothing about it) that I would either love it or hate it, but I would probably hate it.

My friends were so right. I really am not enjoying this at all. It's leaving a dirty taste on my brain.


Kristin B. Bodreau (krissy22247) | -2 comments Aley wrote: "It's leaving a dirty taste on my brain. "

^ This


Sheldon Dustman (thruamiro) | 2 comments I finished Wuthering Heights tonight. I liked it very much, it was not quite what I expected. I thought it would be dreary, dismal, dim, but it was more violent & angry than I expected -- & scary also that part where Lockwood drags the girl's wrist across the broken window glass sets the tone early on.

Thr story was good, I feel much is implied & much is left to the imagination (especially when it comes to the realm of the occult & supernatural). The story os told from a perspective, noy quite of an outsider, but of a witness, not a major actor or participant in the passion (she is (humbly?) serving to keep her room & board, & is occupied with survival concerns), & all is not told from the point of view of a omniscient narrortor, leaving room for question & interpretation. This is all suiting of the obscure & mysterious atmosphere & setting.

I fealt sympathy with most of the characters, though not so much the Lintons, although Edgar became more tolerable after Catherine died. From the dog scene early on I knew I could not love the Lintons, but I suppose I can imagine how Catherine could have developed the relationship she had with Edgar. What did you think about the dogs in the story? They seemed important & symbollic to me.

I sympathisezed with Heathcliff, though he perhaps took things to an extreme at times, I thought he was relatable & understandable & rarely (if ever) unreasonable. He is also honest, which should not be underestimated.

Do you think Heathcliff could have represented the moors & the land itself? Not cruel, but harsh; perhaps cursed, but beautiful; the moors which Catherine loved, more than the man (Edgar), no matter how charming & intelligent he may be; the moors which gave young Cathy rugged Hareton Earnshaw & took the weak & spoiled Linton Heathcliff?
I think there is a moral in this story, perhaps about womens power to improve men & men's necessity to be not merely nice but strong, & also I think, ultimately something about environment, a kind of nature beyond nurture argument.

There's more I could say, & I'll read some prior comments & maybe make replies, maybe comment again later, but for now I want to say I was glad for the happy ending~~ I thought it possible midway through, yet doubtful. I was glad Cathy & Hareton fell in love & were able to be together, the land was returned to the Earnshaws & Lintons, & I appreciated the juxtaposition of the young love & vivacity of Cathy & Hareton & the old practicality & supersticion of Nelly & Joseph. I am glad Heath found (or made) peace with his madness & died rapturously, haunting the moors of which he had become such a part.


Melissa (morapello) | 10 comments Ugh, could Linton be more annoying?!?! I wanted to reach through the pages and end his misery myself! I couldn't stop imagining a 16 year old boy throwing himself on the floor like a 2 year old and writhing around.

I haven't seen this opinion yet, but I think my favorite character was Hareton. I felt genuinely sorry for him because of his circumstances. Nelly leaving him as a young child, being brought up in a house with Heathcliff holding a grudge because of his father, getting his "education" from Jospeh. And then Catherine comes along and he tries to educate himself and be a nice man, but she immediately shoots him down when she finds out he's actually the help of the house.

I was very happy for the ending only because of Hareton. I found all of the other characters rather insufferable. I thought I would like Heathcliff after the first few chapters, but he runes out to be a monster! How anyone would think he was "romantic" is beyond me! He was a very selfish person who only wanted Catherine, it felt, as a prize, like he won her.


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