This blog is now retired. My new site is at: Predictably Irrational.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

After reading Jane Eyre last year, a friend of mine loaned me his copy of Wuthering Heights to read.

Over a year later, I finally read the book. The Twilight series peaked my interest since Bella reads Wuthering Heights many times. I decided I needed to know what it was all about.

And now I know. There is no single character in this book with a redeeming quality. Sure, there are moments of it but overall, I did not meet a character that I could sympathize nor empathize with.

I thought Heathcliff would turn out to be a Byronic character, much like Edward Rochester was in Jane Eyre...but oh no! He would not change for the better. In fact, he grew worse and worse until he completely went mad.

The only redemption that comes to light is nearly the end of the book, when Cathy and Hareton hook up. But Cathy had been the cruelest of cruel to Hareton throughout the book and that it all 'ties up' in the end is not a relief for me.

The book is quite good, while very, very difficult to read. The language is hard to keep up with -- I thought this is how it would be reading Jane Eyre, but it was not. And when Joseph or Hareton, or any of the service type folk, were 'speaking', it was far worse to understand:

'And how isn't that nowt comed in fro' th' field, be this time? What is he about? girt idle seeght!' demanded the old man, looking round for Heathcliff.

Those words would make my eyes hurt trying to read them.

But also, the reuse of names: Hindley Earnshaw, Catherine Earnshaw, and Hareton Earnshow, Edgar Linton, Catherine Linton, Linton Heathcliff, and Nelly, AKA Ellen.

Hindley would be "Hindley" or "Master Earnshaw". Catherine was Cathy in her youth, then Catherine, or Mrs. Linton. Linton was Edgar Linton, or master (of Thrushcross), who was married to Catherine Earnshaw then had a child named Catherine (Cathy) Linton.

Catherine married Linton Heathcliff and Edgar Linton died shortly after that marriage. Later, Hareton would be called Earnshaw, or master Earnshaw.

Man-oh-man. I got headaches trying to figure out who was who.

But regardless of the difficulty of reading it, it was a good novel and I was pretty awed by the fact that this could have been written in that era. Mental and physical abuse is abundant and again, ruthless, ruthless people! Who seemed to ail for years then die.

I don't know what else to make of the book. It is awful because the people are awful and they live sad, awful lives. But amazing in the fact that someone in that time period could conceive such a story.

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