Saturday, 6 February 2016

Review #32 - Wuthering Heights

Title: Wuthering Heights
Author: Emily Brontë
Published: 1847; 2002
Publisher: Penguin Classics


A brief synopsis; (Via Goodreads)
Published a year before her death at the age of thirty, Emily Brontë’s only novel is  set in the wild, bleak Yorkshire Moors. Depicting the relationship of Cathy and Heathcliff, Wuthering Heights creates a world of its own, conceived with an instinct for poetry and for the dark depths of human psychology.

Born in Thornton, Yorkshire, England, on July 30, 1818, Emily Jane Brontë lived a quiet life in Yorkshire with her clergyman father; brother, Branwell Brontë; and two sisters, Charlotte and Anne. The sisters enjoyed writing poetry and novels, which they published under pseudonyms. As "Ellis Bell," Emily wrote Wuthering Heights (1847)—her only published novel—which garnered wide critical and commerical acclaim. Emily Brontë died in Haworth, Yorkshire, England, on December 19, 1848—the same year that her brother, Branwell, passed away.

 The above information is sourced form

Did you know, I have written a review since July? That's kind of scary. I apologise. So, here's my first review of 2016! Unfortunately, however, it is not a good one. This may contain spoilers- though if you've studied English Literature and A-Level, chances are you've read this book. You might have loved it; I certainly did not.

Nelly Dean, I felt, was a fantastic narrator- the switching between her and Lockwood, I felt, was very effective. There was no stuttering between each person, with Brontë using clear distinctions upon whom was now the primary narrator. Lockwood's narration was infrequent, which made it feel like a breath of fresh air when Nelly halted in her story telling.

Be warned, potential (there's no potential about it) character bashing ahead.  

Catherine Earnshaw. Despicable. I honestly do not know how she managed to win the hearts of two men with that personality; but, I guess, looks were far superior in those days. Brontë's culture, at the time of her writing, is on an entirely different scope to mine (at my time of reading). I was glad when she met her end-

-until Nelly started talking about her daughter, Catherine Linton. Like mother like daughter is not an exaggeration in this case, and I also was not a fan of her. Unlike her mother, though, she had redeeming qualities, of which I was glad.

The only character I felt truly sorry for (besides Nelly) was Hareton Earnshaw. This precious little cub was so wrongfully played, becoming a mere pawn to Heathcliff, being shunned and scorned for something his father did, way before he was born- my contempt for Healthcliff grew at his brainwashing of Hareton.

A novel filled with Gothic features, Wuthering Heights is one of the texts for my A2 Englist Lit course. I doubt I would have read this, had it not been essential, but I'm glad that I have. Brontë's use of pathetic fallacy and her incorporation of the moors into their every day lives was amazing. Her language was spectacular.

This tragic love story is full of ups and downs. The wickedness of love, the overwhelming nature of death. In a way, it was a beautiful read, and although I did not like it overall, I did most certainly enjoy it. I enjoyed feeling so much anger over Heathcliff, the Cathy's, Linton- it was just a pleasant change.

It was abundantly clear that Heathcliff and Cathy were soul mates. But their love for one another was toxic- both went about it in the wrong way. I understand Heathcliff's abhorrence for Hindley, but punishing innocent people (like Hareton) for his actions? Horrendous. There's no denying that Heathcliff's absence warped him into a greedy man, whose new found power hungry nature drove him to madness and, finally, death.

The theme of this novel I cannot fault, and neither can I the execution. For what they are worth, all of the characters are brilliant- they have depth, personal mannerisms (like Joseph's accented speech, for instance) and characteristics that just make them so unique.

 "If all else perished, and he remained, I should still continue to be; and if all else remained, and he were annihilated, the universe would turn to a mighty stranger: I should not seem a part of it. My love for Linton is like the foliage in the woods: time will change it, I'm well aware, as winter changes the trees. My love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath: a source of little visible delight, but necessary. Nelly, I am Heathcliff!"

"“He's more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same; and Linton's is as different as a moonbeam from lightning, or frost from fire.”"

"The red firelight glowed on their two bonny heads and revealed their faces, animated with the eager interest of children; for, though he was twenty-three and she eighteen, each had so much of novelty to feel, and learn, that neither experienced nor evinced the sentiments of sober disenchanted maturity."

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