[Review] Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Author: Emily Bronte, edited and introduction by Pauline Nestor
Publisher: Penguin Classics 1996, first published 1847
Theme: Two families intermingled in a web of control, vengeance, obsession.
Rating: 5 Stars
This is the second time for me to read Wuthering Heights. The Bronte sisters: Charlotte, Emily, Anne, are at the top of my favorite list of writers. Jane Eyre is my second favorite book. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens is my favorite.
Readers of Wuthering Heights seem to either love it or hate it. Some scratch their head and state, what the what?
Wuthering Heights is not a happily-ever-after story, it is not a love story.
Wuthering Heghts is a dark, dramatic, obsessive, vengeful, emotional hysteria, haunting tale.
Probably not a good story to read if you are already depressed. It is a good story to see a Gothic novel at work.
When Wuthering Heights begins it is 1801, and a tenant named Mr. Lockwood has an unnerving meeting with Mr. Heathcliff his landlord. Dry sarcasm is meant by Mr. Lockwood when he states, "Mr. Heathcliff and I are such a suitable pair to divide the desolation between us. A capital fellow!"
Later, on another trip to Wuthering Heights, Mr. Lockwood spent the night after becoming ill. Mr. Lockwood is placed in a bedroom where he finds a stack of books that includes a journal owned by a Catherine Earnshaw. He reads enough of the journal to become curious about her. He dreams of her and her ghost haunts him. Mr. Lockwood, encourages the housekeeper Mrs. Dean, to share the dark tale of the Earnshaw, Linton, and Heathcliff families.
When the story begins Mr Lockwood is the narrator or voice. About a fourth way through, Mrs. Dean takes over in sharing the events that has transpired over the past "quarter of century". When Mrs. Dean brings Mr. Lockwood up to the present time, her narration is complete, and Mr. Lockwood's voice is heard again.
Heathcliff is a young street urchin whom Mr. Earnshaw felt sorry for and brought home to live with his family. Mr. Earnshaw's wife is angry and unfeeling towards Heathcliff. Son Hindley is jealous and abusive to Heathcliff. Daughter Catherine bonds to Heathcliff. Their bond becomes entwined in obsession.
Some readers believe the relationship between Heathcliff and Catherine is a love story. I disagree. I would imagine it depends on what a readers definition of love is, as to whether or not they define Wuthering Heights is a love story.
Love is unselfish, faithful, endearing, enduring.
Love is not selfish, lustful, controlling, or abusive.
Wuthering Heights is an over-the-top, dramatic, dysfunctional story from the early part of the 19th century. Emily Bronte wrote a new kind of story in the way of a Gothic novel. Since Wuthering Heights, other works have been written in similarity. I suppose a Soap Opera can be compared a bit to a Gothic novel. Both are dramatic in their narration, environment, emotions. The proper definition of a Gothic novel is to join romance and horror in a story. In my opinion romance does not define love and horror can be ghosts and unexplained phenomenon; however, I feel it can also be horror from the fear of a persons words and actions.
Over-all Wuthering Heights is an entertaining read. A person can read this story without being afraid as in a thrasher or horror story. If you're looking for a story to read during Halloween without being too frightened, then Wuthering Heights might be your cup of tea.