Thursday, February 10, 2011

Review: Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Pages: 416

Source: & Audio book from library
Interest: Classics, Romance Week
Challenge: 111 Challenge, Library Challenge
Buy the Book: Amazon | Chapters | Book Depository

Virginia Woolf said of Emily Brontë that her writing could "make the wind blow and the thunder roar," and so it does in her only novel, Wuthering Heights. The story is that of an orphan who falls in love above his class and the consequences that drive all of his subsequent actions. Wuthering Heights presents both the implications of strict social and class boundaries as well as the timeless subject of a love that will not be denied. Catherine Earnshaw, Heathcliff, and the windswept moors that are the setting of their mythic love are as immediately stirring to the reader of today as they have been for every generation of readers since the novel was first published in 1847
-from Chapters website
Well first off, I have never read any of the classics other than Shakespeare. Even in school I chose to read other books when given the chance and I actually regret it a bit as I am realizing that I may have missed out on some good reading. 

As I'm hosting Romance Week on my blog I decided it would be a good idea to read one of the Classics and chose Wuthering Heights as I have read mixed reviews on it and really didn't know what it was truly about. You hear little references to it all over the place, but I had no idea what they really referred to until now.

At first I could not understand why it was considered a romantic novel as it seemed all doom and gloom. But as I continued to read on I realized that for the time it was written, it was actually quite well done. It is from the Gothic period in which the stories are written to horrify us and draw our fascination with the scenes of such ardent passion and cruelty, a few elements of the supernatural involving ghosts and such descriptive detail of their dark and sorrowful surroundings. 

The theme of love in this story is actually shown in different ways through the characters relationships. Heathcliff and Chatherine Earnshaw first start with a love of each other as children and as they grow so does their love. 
It would degrade me to marry Heathcliff now; so he shall never know how I love him; and that, not because he’s handsome, Nelly, but because he’s more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same, and [Edgar’s] is as different as a moonbeam from lightning, or frost from fire.  -Catherine Earnshaw Linton
Sadly, Heathcliff is not chosen to be her one and only and he broods over this for much of the first part of the book. Their love was doomed from the beginning and is melodramatic in it's outcome. Sadly, though they felt they were soulmates, yet they did not choose to be together.Though in the end Catherine seems to haunt Heathcliff for the rest of his life, so as to be close to him always.
That, however, which you may suppose the most potent to arrest my imagination, is actually the least, for what is not connected with her to me? and what does not recall her? I cannot look down to this floor, but her features are shaped on the flags! In every cloud, in every tree—filling the air at night, and caught by glimpses in every object by day, I am surrounded with her image! The most ordinary faces of men and women—my own features—mock me with a resemblance. The entire world is a dreadful collection of memoranda that she did exist, and that I have lost her! - Heathcliff
Catherine Earnshaw Linton loves her husband Edgar, but in more of a dutiful way. She loves him because he loves her, provides for her and is the right kind of man she should marry. During their marriage she still has feelings for Heathcliff though she tried to tell herself that they are feelings of friendship. This causes much despair between all parties involved.

The only part that seems to me to really show any true happiness is in the last chapter of the book where young Catherine Linton (daughter of the late Cathy Earnshaw Linton) is with Hareton Earnshaw - finally living the life they should have always had, though circumstances had always prevented any of them from being truly happy. I do not think they would have ended up together if things had happened any other way and they may not have known true happiness had they not suffered through what they both endured.

This story is of love and loss. It is quite dark and dreary, which makes it hard to see at first how it could be a story of love. In the end, the story is of the love that transcends time and space - Heathcliff and his lovely Cathy - both in life and in death.
'May she wake in torment!' he cried, with frightful vehemence, stamping his foot, and groaning in a sudden paroxysm of ungovernable passion. 'Why, she's a liar to the end! Where is she? Not there—not in heaven—not perished—where? Oh! you said you cared nothing for my sufferings! And I pray one prayer—I repeat it till my tongue stiffens—Catherine Earnshaw, may you not rest as long as I am living; you said I killed you—haunt me, then! The murdered do haunt their murderers, I believe. I know that ghosts have wandered on earth. Be with me always—take any form—drive me mad! only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you! Oh, God! it is unutterable! I cannot live without my life! I cannot live without my soul!' -Heathcliff

I feel like I just wrote an essay for school.


  1. My goal is to eventually read the classics. I actually own this one and a few others. I might just try to accomplish them this year. Will keep fingers crossed.

  2. Ya I am hoping to read a few more classics each year as I really haven't read many at all.

  3. Have you read Jane Eyre? I much preferred it to Wuthering Heights -- though that's really just a personal preference. And I do respect Wuthering Heights. :)

    1. Hi Jillian! I have not rad Jane Eyre yet, but I am hoping to this year as I have a copy of Jane (a YA book to read that is based on Jane Eyre) and thought it would be interesting to read them back to back and review. :)

      I have not read many classics at all, but am always looking for recommendations for great classics to read. :) Thanks for stopping by!


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