Saturday, June 18, 2011

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte's only novel, is one of the pinnacles of 19th-century English literature. It's the story of Heathcliff, an orphan who falls in love with a girl above his class, loses her, and devotes the rest of his life to wreaking revenge on her family. (from GoodReads)

Wuthering Heights is an interesting novel. I liked it as much as you can like a book where you hate all the characters and nothing really happy happens. It's kind of the way you felt while reading A Series of Unfortunate Events: everything is depressing but you still like the book.

Wuthering Heights is supposed to center on Heathcliff and Catherine and their love, and I say "supposed" because Catherine dies half-way through the novel. I like how the summary says that Heathcliff focuses his life on making Catherine's family miserable, because that's pretty much his life mission. He is just a nasty, grumpy, mean-spirited person, but you want to keep reading and see if there's anything redeeming about him. And the only redeeming thing I could find was his love for Cathy, even though it was a passionate, angry, and tempestuous love.

Another interesting thing about the novel is that the whole story is told second-hand. The narrator is a character named Mr. Lockwood who decides to rent a house from Heathcliff. Mr. Lockwood hears the story of Heathcliff and Catherine and their families from an old maid Ellen Dean. Ellen, fortunately, is present for most of the events involving the cast of characters and she acts almost as an omniscent presence because she knows everything.

Wuthering Heights reminded me a lot of Jane Eyre, because they are both gothic novels, so that made me like it even more. And hey, the authors were sisters! What a coincidence! Really, though, I did like Wuthering Heights even if it wasn't always pleasant to read. The love between Heathcliff and Catherine was more of an example of what you don't want, however, there is a somewhat happy ending for Catherine's daughter.

Rating: 8 out of 10.
FTC: borrowed from a friend.

1847/Barnes & Noble Classic/290 pages.

1 comment:

We Heart YA said...

"I liked it as much as you can like a book where you hate all the characters and nothing really happy happens."

LOL. So true, so true. But isn't that an amazing feat on Emily Bronte's part?

We liked Jane Eyre better -- Jane and Rochester are such immensely likeable characters -- but Wuthering Heights definitely has a similar feel.