“He shall never know I love him: and that, not because he’s handsome, but because he’s more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made out of, his and mine are the same.”
Title – Wuthering Heights
Author – Emily Brönte
Publisher – Norton
Pages- 464 (Paperback)
Published – December 1847
6 August 2018
Wuthering Heights’ dreary, bleak setting is undoubtedly contrasted by the fierce emotions expressed by the characters in this classic novel. Emily Brönte has no fear of the dramatic, and at times the melodramatic, and this leads to an engaging read.
The characters in Wuthering Heights are very interesting. They all have a sort of moral ambiguousness, never clearly good nor bad, and often not sticking to a solid set of morals. An example of this is Edgar Linton’s love of Catherine, as he proposes to her shortly after she has hit Nelly, her long-time companion, to most, proving her to be a mean and unlikable character.
It is my belief that the most important relationship in the novel is not of romantic love, but the complicated familial love between Nelly and the elder Catherine. Nelly insists that she does not love Catherine Earnshaw because of her “saucy”, strong-willed manner, but cries bitterly at her death, alluding to the fact that she does in fact feel strongly for the girl she has served for so many years.
One of the worst parts of Wuthering Heights were the names, as everyone in the second half of the novel seemed to be named after previous characters. Very confusingly, there is a second Catherine, and another Linton. The Lintons are especially confusing, as there is Mr Linton, Edgar Linton and Linton Heathcliff. Though this is not too much of a problem narratively, (Cathy is interesting as sharing a name with her dead mother proved to be quite emotionally charged) it does add some unnecessary confusion at times, especially as the storytelling was not too clear to begin with.
There’s also the issue of narrators, as the story is told rather strangely. It is from Nelly’s point of view but through the medium of Mr Lockwood in the form of a sort of journal. This leads to great lot of ambiguity when it comes to reliability, as Nelly could be considered to be too close to the events of the book, possibly too emotionally connected, whereas Mr Lockwood is completely unconnected, he is hearing these stories for the first time, and therefore has no idea of their degree of truth.
For me, the best part of the novel was the landscape. The beautiful, haunting descriptions of the Yorkshire moors where what really drew me into the story. The setting provided a sort of magical atmosphere to the novel, especially the passages describing the younger Cathy, who seemed to be obsessed and drawn to the world that surrounded her.
Overall, I think that Wuthering Heights is a very engaging and interesting read, though is can be confusing and a bit tedious at times. I look foreword to re-reading it in the future, as I think that I would enjoy it even more a second time, now that I know what is actually going on.
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And as always, HAPPY READING! xx