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Wuthering Heights was published in 1847, the year before Emily Bronte's death at the age of 30.
Probably the novel that has received the most attention over the years, after critic after critic have disagreed, been left baffled and marvelled at its power.
There is no doubt that this is a powerful book and compulsive read.
The story begins in 1801 when Mr Lockwood rents a house in Yorkshire rom Mr Heathcliff who lives at a remote Yorkshire moors farmhouse, Wuthering Heights. Lockwood spends his first night at his landlord's house. Lockwood, one of our main narrators, has a disturbed night, was he dreaming or visited by the ghost of Catherine Linton. Lockwood returning to his home exhausted and disturbed, beseeches his housekeeper to tell him the tale of the Lintons, Heathcliffs and Earnshaws. A story that begins some 30 years earlier in 1771. Much of the novel focuses on this back story, mostly narrated by the housekeeper. Thus returning from a trip Mr Earnshaw returns with a raggedy, black haired boy who they call Heathcliff. The arrival of the young boy into the family upsets the status quo with Earnshaw's 14 year old son feeling usurped for his father's affections, meanwhile, Heathcliff strikes up a rapport with the younger sibling Catherine.
A twist of fate sees Hindley returning from college when his father dies, now married and master of Wuthering Heights Hindley takes great delight in making Heathcliff a servant and subjecting him to much cruelty and beatings.
The Linton family lived at the house Lockwood now rents. In a childish prank Catherine and Heathcliff spy on the family in their home. Catherine is mauled by dogs and taken in by the Linton family, Catherine stays for a while and undergoes a transformation, gone is the carefree girl, now in her place is a young lady. Catherine receives attention from Edgar Linton and falls for him. Seeing this Heathcliff runs away. For some reason to return a few years later, to discover Hindley's wife died during childbirth and Catherine now married to Edgar.
Running away was obviously good for Heathcliff as he returns a wealthy and cultured man.
A love triangle type situation ensues as Catherine admits to her maid that her love for Heathcliff is eternal, whilst her love for Edgar is likely to change. Catherine's sister in-law Isabella falls in love with Heathcliff and in revenge Heathcliff marries Isabella setting out to ruin the Lintons and get revenge on Hindley.
Jump forward a few more years and Heathcliff orchestrates the marriage between his son and the Catherines daughter. However, his son is poorly and dies, by now Edgar Linton has also died and it is Heathcliff who becomes master of Thrushcross Grange. Catherine dies at the age of 19 and in an act of cruel role reversal, Hindley's son Hareton is forced to work as a servant for Heathcliff. Featuring a carefully worked out chronological order Wuthering Heights set against the backdrop of the moody Yorkshire moors this tale of revenge captivates.
Classic novelists often get a really hard knock in English classes, critical analysis from 14 year olds knocking the unrealistic portrayal of love. Bronte's Wuthering Heights has something a little bit different: it challenges the usual stereotype of romance novels and throws a bit of quirky confusion into the mix.
How many people have fallen in love, or said they have, only to then inexplicably become stubborn, ruin their chances and then insult the person they love so it looks like they meant it; or not started a relationship with something because it 'wouldn't be fair'; or even had that special someone they couldn't get for whatever reason. Bronte manages to put the finger on the button here, making some shocking decisions along the way that actually make you want to carry on reading.
The plot gives me the impression of two grand dwellings: the titular Wuthering Heights and then the Grange, which comes into the fray a little later on. Orphaned gypsy Heathcliff is taken in at the former by the Earnshaw family, where he and Earnshaw's daughter Cathy find themselves somewhat attracted to each other in a pure and coy sort of way. Cathy finds herself looked after by the Lintons at the Grange at one point, where she forms a relationship with the young Edgar Linton whose affections win her over. As the book progresses, so does time, and the love story between Cathy and Heathcliff fades in and out with the whole range of emotions and some completely inexplicable yet believable events.
The skill really here is that what we get is a story told by someone telling a story that they were once told by someone else. This depth of tale comes through very well when you're reading, as you get a feel for the story's main narrator, Nelly Dean, Cathy's aide for much of her life. The clever nature of this is the likelihood of first hand knowledge that this would produce, and the heartbreak that you can read from the story being told. I thought that the emotional rollercoaster experienced by the two main characters came through very well in the book, and at some points I had to pause for a bit as it was getting too much to handle.
I always find it hard to relate to female characters, I imagine most men do. The thing is that in classical romance novels I usually find the same happens with the male characters too. The difference here is that while I anticipated the gruff and rugged handsomeness of Heathcliff to emulate that of Pride and Prejudice's Darcy, what I hadn't counted on was the grumpy, selfish and fickle predatory lure that he actually exudes instead. Male authors are constantly criticised for how poor they are at female characterisation, but I usually find the same works the other way round. The difference for me here is that Bronte seems to have Heathcliff down to more of a T than she does with Cathy, a somewhat airy and overly dramatic character that serves almost as an antithesis to Heathcliff's black and white 'pride comes before a fall' attitude that develops into vehemence and increased passion.
Not a chance that this one's going to end smoothly, to be honest, although I'm clearly not going to explain what happens. It starts off sombre with grumpy people, and finishes off with a similar mood. The tale in between is interesting and believable, and makes you keep turning the pages. The intensity is somewhat off putting if you don't give yourself chunks to read at a time as opposed to devouring the lot in one go (or attempting to) and really it's a novel that deserves the accolades it usually gets. I can't believe it took me so long to read it, but I'm just glad I wasn't one of the 14/15 year olds trying to rip it to pieces in search of a GCSE. Highly recommended.
By Emily Bronte
Heathcliff is a wild, untamed boy brought in from the cold and into the heart of the Earnshaw family. The young boy grows to be a catalyst for extreme reactions and his presence unleashes a myriad of human emotions within the family, from jealousy to love to hatred. Heathcliff abandons his former home and in his absence many things change but on his return passions are reignited and they provoke far reaching consequences for generations.
I must be the only literature student who has managed to avoid having to read 'Wuthering Heights'. It has never featured on the syllabus of any of the courses I have studied so far and I think that places me in a good position in terms of review writing. This review will be based on my experience of 'Wuthering Heights' as a reader, rather than a student. I think being forced to read a book at school alters your perception of it and so I am pleased to be writing this review without any educational preconceptions.
Despite never having read the book I knew it was about Cathy and Heathcliff-everybody has heard of them, right? I have constantly heard about those two characters and the intensity of their love for one another. I expected this to be a classic love story, along the line of 'Pride and Prejudice' and I expected Heathcliff to be a strong and silent Darcy-esque kind of guy. I couldn't have been more wrong. The characters throughout this novel were definitely surprising. Human nature has been captured perfectly by Emily Bronte. She highlights the human condition in various forms throughout the characters from the rough and ready worker, Hareton to the ever forgiving, gentlemen Edgar Linton. There are a wide range of characters throughout this novel, all well established, believable and more importantly, all dislikeable in their own way. This novel is a great example of how to create sturdy characters. The novel is primarily narrated by Nelly Dean, Catherine's aide. A judgemental character who I wasn't always sure I could trust-a very interesting choice of narrator.
The plot concerns the repercussions of a great love affair. The plot was far more sinister in places than I had anticipated and it is much more than a love story, in fact I wouldn't describe it as a love story at all. It is a novel about the effects of love, both good and bad. It is a slow moving plot, partly due to the long-winded style in which the novel is written and partly due to the fact that I lacked the motivation to pick it up. Once I got reading I found it quite easy to get involved but it wasn't a gripping page turner where I couldn't wait to get home and start reading. I plodded along rather than raced. When I read I want to enjoy a book so much I can't put it down-this didn't do it for me. The language was a little tough to get to grips with but a few pages in and I had got the hang of it, it wasn't the language itself what bothered me, it was the pace.
The book is famed for it's descriptions of the moors and I feel the novel deserves this praise. Emily Bronte has done a fabulous job with the imagery in the novel. I have a clear idea in my head of what the houses look like, what the grounds are like and what the characters look like. I even have an idea of what the places smell like.
In conclusion, the setting for the story is very emotive, the characters are strong and believable and the language used isn't too much of a barrier. The things that let it down for me are the pace and the length. It felt like it took an age for anything to happen and when it did, it felt like it was talked about too much. I didn't find the book a page tuner but I enjoyed discovering the truth about Cathy and Heathcliff and I do think the novel explores the psychology of people in relationships very well. It was darker than I expected and it surprised me and has led me to believe that Emily Bronte was a wise, if not troubled, woman. I would recommend it as classic literature but I wouldn't recommend it you are looking for a light hearted, entertaining read. If I could give it a bang in the middle 2.5 stars I would but I can't so I'll be generous and give it 3 stars.
My specific copy.
There are some wonderfully elaborate editions of 'Wuthering Heights' available- mine is not one of them! My version is the Penguin Classics edition (ISBN: 978-0-140-62012-2) and cost me £2 from Amazon. It has a bright green front cover and is quite flimsy. The text is quite dense and could be difficult to read for some. It's fine for a one time reading but it won't stand up to much wear and tear. I imagine for a one time read you could try your local library. Those with a kindle can get a free copy of 'Wuthering Heights' via Amazon.
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte possesses a uniqueness and passion still unrivalled by any other work in the English Language.
The wildness of the novel can very much be attributed to the personality of Emily herself. Her sister Charlotte described her as having a 'secret power and a fire'. She perceived her as stronger than a man and simpler than a child. Her nature stood alone.
Like her sisters Anne and Charlotte, the only outlet Emily had from the tediousness of Victorian life was books and writing. They were able to get their greatest stimulus and pleasure from novel writing.
Wuthering Heights was Emily's only novel, and in my opinion and many others, it far surpasses any of Charlotte's in brilliance.
The novel's imagery has seeped into popular culture through TV, film and song - probably much to the disdain of the fiery tempered, defiant, fiercely independent Emily had she be around today.
But this 'seeping' holds testament to the enduring love affair readers have with this book and the key to this, in my opinion, is people can get out of it what they wish to.
The majority of readers focus on the love story between Cathy and Heathcliff which transcends all things, even death. Their love can be seen as the perfect love, of finding that 'other', a soul mate.
Cathy is driven mad by it leading to her untimely death and Heathcliff goes on a rampage of cruelty and brutality to rival any character in British fiction.
But this is a more simplistic view of the text. It in actual fact incorporates far more genres than romance and escapism. It is also in part realism, fantasy and horror.
Far from a love story of perfect love, the novel can be read as depicting what an impossible concept this is to achieve.
Cathy believes she understands Heathcliff completely but she misjudges how he will react to her marrying Edgar. She believes he will be accepting.
Heathcliff is the cuckoo in the nest. He has no history. He also completely reinvents himself during his absence. The characters in the novel, including Nelly, desire to invent a past for him and as a result he becomes a receptacle of other people's fantasies.
Cathy's love for Heathcliff is childlike. She does not want to choose between him and Edgar. She wants it all. When Edgar forces her to choose she collapses before falling into the madness that leads to her death. While Heathcliff is haunted by his lack of satisfaction in his love for Cathy.
There are high levels of violence in the novel thus challenging the retraining limits on civilised behaviour Heathcliff is at times described both as the devil and a beast.
Even Linton wishes he was capable of cruelty and Isabella is attracted to Heathcliff's violence.
The second half of the novel is often overlooked. It can be read as a restoration of order through the next generation. Catherine marries Hareton, thus encapsulating the natural world of the Heights with the cultivation of the Grange. But as a reader we are warned that there is always a threat of a reversion.
The world of the Grange is longing for stimulation. They practically drag Cathy in through the doors after their dog injures her. In the same way Edgar is drawn to Cathy despite warnings.
While Heathcliff is unable to fully nurture Hareton to a life of brutality because of his attraction to Catherine.
Wuthering Heights will live on and on in people's hearts and imaginations as the perfect love affair or as a source of constant interpretation and understanding. One of the greatest novels ever written in my opinion.
Set in the yorkshire moorlands this is a true classic from Emily Bronte. It has themes of loves, the supernatural, jealousy and fate. It tells the story of a young orphan from Liverpool who is bought to live with the Earnshaw family by the head of the family Mr Earnshaw, and called Heathcliff. Fast becoming the father's favourite, Mr Earnshaws son becomes jealous and when he becomes head of the house after Mr Earnshaw's death send him back down to his humble begingings as a servant at Wuthering Heights.
The novel centres around the mystifying relationship between Mr Earnshaws daughter Cathy and Heathcliff. They both hold one thing in common, there love for freedom and there passion for life, they both have a connection with nature- Heathcliff's being as the novel suggests his gypsy roots and Cathy being animalistic as she is fustrated to live as a women.
When Cathy is injured on one of her and Heathcliff's escapades she stays with the Linton family for a while. The Lintons live in the Grange and are very posh and proper comapred to Cathy and Heathcliff however the young Linton takes a shine to Cathy and when Cathy returns to Wuthering Heights she is a lady and Edgar Linton is in love with her.
Dazed by the idea of being wealthy and respected she struggles to choose between a life of true love with Heathcliff or a life of luxury with Edgar however she is not given time to make a choice. When Heathcliff overhears her saying that it would 'degrade her to marry him' he runs away. Thus she is left heartbroken and marries Edgar, hence making herself the caged bird she never wanted to be.
Years later Heathcliff returns to Wuthering Heights a wealthy man and a gentleman however he is extremely cruel, much crueler and harder then he has ever been, as it seems that Heathcliff is able to take any knocks in life apart from the rejection of Cathy. He proceeds to reekrevenge on the whole family through the next generation of Earnshaws and Lintons, however the passion that bubbles between himself and Cathy is too much for either of them to cope with.
This is the true tale of absolute love the tradegy and exhilaration of it. Everyone should read this novel at least once.
Written by Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights is set in the Yorkshire moors and details the love between Catherine Earnshaw (the lady of Wuthering Heights) and Heathcliff (the 'gypsy brat' brought home by her father). Through the narrator, the reader can witness their most turbulent relationship through its highs and lows that destroys them in many ways.
Thoughts / Opinions:
Wuthering Heights - the classic novel depicting true love, lost love and every love in between - the intelligence and power with which Emily Bronte writes makes this novel, allows the reader to feel the emotions and experience the love between Cathy and Heathcliff, after all as is said within the novel, "I cannot live without my life! I cannot live without my soul!'" The use of the dark and foreboding hero along with the stubborn heroine makes for a fiery mix of action and passion, with their similarly flawed characters making amazing fiction - unnatural perhaps for this era of writing. It may be because of these characters that it has become so successful; Bronte does not correct or empower them, she merely lets the reader make of them what they will, leaving the pair at the mercy of the reader. It moves away from the traditional romance stories, dragging the reader deeper and deeper into the story, yet instead of ruining it like has happened before, it merely intensifies the success and impact it has had on many generations gone and many generations still to come.
Of course, Wuthering Heights would not be Wuthering Heights without Joseph - the stubborn and cruel servant, who adds a slight humour to the novel through Bronte's use of a strong Yorkshire accent, making him virtually impossible to understand unless read out loud. The wilderness of the Yorkshire Moors and the wilderness of the two main characters makes for a ageless classic that people will always love, even when they cannot see why they like Cathy and Heathcliff's dark personas and why they truly make the story.
Emily Bronte is an English novelist, born in the 1800s, who published under the pseudonym of Ellis Bell - Wuthering Heights is her only novel, but her sisters (the well known Charlotte and Anne) published many more.
Wuthering Heights is a piece of classic literature - I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in romance, but also to those who wish to explore the darker side of human nature and the consequences of a passionate love.
While Wuthering Heights hit the markets as an unpopular, even shocking novel, published by 'Ellis Bell', questioning Victorian values and containing distressingly violent undertones, it has, today, been widely accepted into the canon of the finest English Literature.
Perhaps it is the product of extensive analysis, or an increasingly open mindset, but critics continue to find new interpretations of Wuthering Heights; new ways in which to read what many argue is the finest Bronte novel. It is not only its unique structure, which defies our expectations of genre, mixing narrators and toying with our sympathies, but the theme which, even today, worries us. Do we sympathise with poor Heathcliff, the outcast, the lone, racially ambiguous, socially inept hero, or hate the violent tyrant, the man against whom a new generation are forced to fight?
Equally, are we meant to accept the ending as 'happy'? The alliterating, or simply recycled names that can often confuse the uninitiated reader are no coincidence. Neither can one dismiss the slightly incestuous relations beween young Catherine and her two lovers as merely a product Victorian laxness; just as Heathcliff and his Catherine grew up as family, yet loved each other unplatonically, young Catherine loves those who should have been her family. Catherine and Hareton mirror their mentors in so many ways, that one cannot but fear the ominous possibility of their returning to the wild ways of the previous generation.
Indeed, Lockwood's final questioning; 'how [could] any one... imagine unquiet slumbers for the sleepers in that quiet earth' is the assessment of an outsider, one who has the option of escape from the vicious cycle of the heights. Where his dream of cutting Catherine Earnshaw's hand at the window remained nothing but a dream, Heathcliff dies by an open window, an unbleeding cut across 'one hand that rested on the sill'. The symbolism, though tightly woven into the text, is as potent as the characters it affects.
Wuthering Heights remains a novel accessible to all, despite the incredible depth and complexity it offers to the close reader. Rivalling any modern fiction for tight pace and moving content, it can be read for the sheer enjoyment of reading, or the rewarding, yet disturbing exercise of sifting through the endless layers of meaning to its dark roots.
Whilst beginning in a slow and bizarre way, Bronte's Wuthering Heights is an inspiring read for any lover of Victorian literature. The novel is told in the third-person, with an old housekeeper retelling the tale of Master Heathcliff's life at the Heights, showing the reader why Heathcliff is such a haughty villain. At first, we are disgusted by Heathcliff's violation of the most basic human rights; however, come the end, we are left empathetic, and almost sympathetic, with Heathcliff's shattering tale. Wuthering Heights definitely deserves its position within the literary canon, providing a catharsis for readers which we never thought would arrive. It is essentially a tale of love, struggle, and class, showing how the elitist attitudes during this era often repressed the strongest feelings of love. Within the security of our 21st century stability, we find it unbelievable that such a tale could've occurred. However, Bronte certainly convinces us that the intrigue of the tale is a plausible story for the Victorian era.
Wow! what a classic!By reading Wuthering heights one gets to know love can destroy us more than the hate.Heathcliff and Catherine,the main characters,are helpless to stop loving each other despite their selfishness and evil actions.Nothing seems to weaken their love for each other.The problem starts when Cathy thinks selfishly and marries Linston.Heathcliff becomes revengeful.The quote,"If all else perished and he remained I would still continue to be....." Its unforgettable.In my opinion,This is the only classic which truly describes the UNCONDITIONAL LOVE.I have never read any such thing before.This book is written about human beings,we are full of faults,we do make mistakes.We even hurt the people we love.Sometimes fate is involved,sometimes our own mistakes.While other novels are full of angelic characters,never harming others,this novels is so close to reality.A must read for all.I think the people who have not read this novel have committed a crime!A must read classic!Do not miss the chance to get to know what really is love.
When I first heard about Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte I immediately concluded that it was along the lines of Pride and Prejudice or Emma by Jane Austen, in other words a simple story of love, a few complications and a happy ending told classically. Wuthering heights is nothing of the sort.
This has to be the darkest love story ever told, I say darkest because I entered Emily Bronte's world with visions of light and flowers and rainbows and got the extreme opposite. Heathcliff, the main character, has to be the most detestable figure to ever be conjured up by imagination. He is a brute, unfeeling unrelenting, unforgiving. I can find nothing positive about the man.
Heathcliff is adopted at about age 7 and goes to live with Catherine and Hindley, the Earnshaw children, at Wuthering Heights. Master Earnshaw holds a soft spot for his adopted son leading Hindley to grow jealous and so mistreat his dark and brooding brother. Catherine on the other hand is completely attached to Heathcliff and the two are inseperable throughout their childhood. They are a naughty pair and enjoy their misdemeanours as long as they are together. Master Earnshaw dies and Hindley is now master and he relegates Heathcliff to being a servant. Heathcliff is poorly treated and so he vows to exact revenge upon Hindley. Meanwhile he has his Catherine until, after one of their adventures, she has an accident and is taken in by their neighbours, the Lintons, at Thrushcross Grange where she stays for a while. Upon her return Catherine has become a lady and ridicules Heathcliffs unpolished appearance which embitters him further. Heathcliff runs away and 3 years later Catherine marries Edgar Linton, the exact opposite of Heathcliff, fair haired, cheerful, of the right class and a little airy-fairy. Heathcliff returns and he releases his devilish self upon all who have anything to do with him
Heathcliff does quite a number of contemptible acts including disturbing a more or less peaceful marriage, bankrupting his brother, misleading a Catherine's sister-in-law, manipulating his own son. How anyone can romanticise his character (and lot's of people do) is beyond me. So he is ridiculously in love with Catherine, but does that excuse his horrible nature? He is sadistic and amoral who loved Catherine only because she was the only one who gave him the time of day. That alone should say a lot about her who was herself a shallow, self absorbed, spoilt girl who liked to pretend she had other peoples interests at heart.
Edgar Linton is probably the nicest person in this whole entanglement because for the most part his intentions are pure. He is a bit dull in character though and exudes bucketloads of weakness whereas Heathcliff is complex and dangerous.
I hate Heathcliff with a passion but it is this passion that drives me to love this story so much. It is wonderfully written and expertly told. It certainly leaves you with creased eyebrows and wide eyes at almost every page (or maybe that's just me since I was expecting a fluffy love story). Thus book is not predictable at all. The most original piece of writing I have ever had the fortune to read. It breaks my heart that Emily Bronte wrote only this brilliantly creative work although I can't help wondering what was going on in her life for her to dream up, or should I say nightmare up a creature such as Heathcliff.
A brilliant and original must read for anyone who appreciates great literature especially the classics.
This is a classic love story based upon the Yorkshire moors, written by Emily Bronte - one of the famous Bronte sisters. This novel has formed the basis of many future classics and has inspired multiple film and television adaptations, and even a song! (Kate Bush's 'Wuthering Heights')
I was first introduced to this novel during my A Levels, with it being a set text within our unit of Gothic Literature, yet to say that i appreciated the text instantly would be far from the truth, with Bronte's story often being longwinded and filled with largely uneccessary anecdotes. For this reason i think that 'Wuthering Heights' is definately not a novel for everyone, and for those who prefer the more modern methods of telling a story i would probably stick to the adaptations named above - especially the highly renouned ITV adaptation.
However, this is not to say that i did not enjoy this novel on the whole, with the beautiful descriptions of Cathy and how she struggles against the contraints of society to be with the man she loves. Is this novel, Bronte shows incredible insight into the key determinants of human nature, and beautifully portrays an epic love story worthy of all its acclaim.
All in all, this is a beautiful piece of literature, and if you are able to stay focused and finish the novel, you will find it is well worth it!
I have wanted to read the book for years and finally got around to it this year and I am very glad. I loved this book, and whilst I got out of the habit of reading classic literature, has inspired me to dig out all the others sat on my bookcase gathering dust!
The Story : Firstly, written by Emily Bronte, it is a real shame she did not publish any other novels. Her work is a pleasure to read and so captivatiing without getting the reader bogged down in very heavy, old fashioned text. Remarkable for it's time.
Catherine Earnshaw is a young Lady from a fairly wealthy house and Heathcliffe is a rougeish gypsy boy adopted into her family at a young age. As Heathcliffe's addition to the Earnshaw family was unwanted, he was eventually reduced to the status of a servant or stable boy on the death of the Master. As children they are very close and spend all day out on the Moors playing, and one day make their way across to Thrushcross Grange where they are caught spying on the Lintons'. Cathy is injured and as a result has to stay there for some time recovering, returning as a Woman.
From here their lives go in completely different directions, when Cathy is proposed to by the very gentle and wealthy Mr Edgar Linton. At this point Heathcliffe has long been in love with her and runs away, returning many years later to Wuthering Heights educated and also with wealth.
From here Heathcliffe is a vengeful and angry character, he even marries Edgar's Sister, with whom he treats with contempt and disrespect, purely to infuriate Edgar. The arguments between Heathcliff and Edgar cause Catherine to feel ill and although the others do not take this seriously at first she is later confined to her room. Heathcliff eventually arranges a secret meeting with Catherine with the help of Ellen the house-keeper but she later gives birth to her only child and dies.
After the funeral Heathcliffes wife flees and gives birth to their only child Linton and Catherine's brother dies, leaving Wuthering Heights in Heathcliffe's possession. Eventually Linton comes to Wuthering Heights after his mother dies and then Thrushcross Grange becomes Heathcliffe's after Edgar dies.
Heathcliffe now older, nastier and even more bitter starts to experience visions of Cathy and behaves strangely, and is found dead in his room having not eaten for four days.
The story is told through the housekeeper Ellen when a Mr Lockwood rents Wuthering Heights, discovers Catherine's old diary in her room and asks to hear the story.
My Opinion: I loved the story, it was intense, romantic, dark and as a reader you find yourself hoping that Catherine and Heathcliffe will just admit their love and enjoy a happy ending. I was slightly confused at the beginning with the names of the characters, particularly the male inhabitants of Wuthering Heights. I also did not enjoy the dialect of the common farm workers that is used because I found this dificult to understand with out reading out loud!
Price-wise, this book is very cheap to buy and it can be found for less than £2!
My particular front cover is one of the less exciting ones with just a portrait of Ms Bronte painted by her brother, Patrick. However, there are some fantastic copies around with darkened Moors imagary to go with this dark and twisted tale!
Wuthering Heights is the wonderfully unconventional only novel produced by Emily Bronte, arguably the most mysterious of the three Bronte sisters. The story has left a long legacy. There have been big screen feature films, several TV dramatizations, plays and even a very memorable song by Kate Bush recorded in the '70s. If your only experience of Wuthering Heights is the cherished memory of watching the Lawrence Olivier star vehicle then this book is going come as something of a surprise. You are not only to discover that only half the story has been told, but also that the original Heathcliffe makes Olivier's slightly anti-social depiction seem like Graham Norton!
This is not your typical love story. In fact, love as most classical writers have presented it does not exist in Wuthering Heights. The characters are fascinating representations of different energies. The Earnshaws symbolize nature at its most tempestuous, brooding and unbridled. They live in Wuthering Heights, a wild building a top an exposed hill. Below them in the valley live the reserved, timid and gentle Lintons in their sheltered upper middle class home, Thrushcross Grange. Events that will throw both houses together causing catastrophic consequences are put in motion by the arrival of the gypsy child foundling, Heathcliff, at Wuthering Heights. This character's passions, shared by his kindred spirit the equally stormy Cathy Earnshaw, and his subsequent desire for revenge will dramatically affect the lives and fates of two generations of both houses.
The problem most people have with Wuthering Heights is created by a need to make it fit into a certain category, which is refuses to conform to. Much like Heathcliff and Cathy, the novel is all about the force and energy of nature. It may use similar language, but it does not play out like any of its contemporary novels. This is no pretty Jane Austen morality tale that is structured around Victorian convention. If anything it harks back Bronte's Regency period influences, the Romantic poets like Byron and Shelley. However, for all its dark settings, supernatural imagery and driven Byronic hero, it doesn't comfortably fit into the mould of the Gothic novel either. The story is not designed to evoke fear in its reader. Instead we find ourselves brought along for a twisting ride on the back of Heathcliff, an individual who has far too many villainous traits for the average human being to love and yet is clearly the most sympathetic figure until the characters of Hareton Earnshaw and Catherine Linton, Cathy's daughter, arrive on the scene. The structure of the novel is also very unconventional in the way it shifts time backwards and forwards, having various narrators and the using story-within-a-story concept.
Wuthering Heights is a powerful and, even today, a starkly original novel. To call it character driven is to put it mildly. The story's events are a series of powerful clashes of extreme personalities that symbolize nature. A psychological analysis of Wuthering Heights' characters is a rather pointless exercise. I look upon them as refined versions of ancient gods found in Greek, Roman or Norse mythology. This is a story about passion, obsession and the coarse sheer power of will that eventually destroys any obstruction in its way like a rampant river and goes on beyond the grave.
Ever since I was a little girl I have loved all kinds of literature. By the age of 12 I'd read many classics and loved them, although I confess, my understanding of most of the themes was limited.
I discovered Wuthering Heights around this time and it gripped me in a way very few books ever have since, so much so that I have reread it time and time again, all through my teens and in to my mid-twenties.
The novel takes place on the desolate Yorkshire moors and is concerned with the trials and tribulations of two households and the way they become hopelessly bound together, an association that is blighted by pain and manipulation from the start.
The tale begins in 1801 with the arrival of a city man named MR. Lockwood at the wild country house of Wuthering Heights. He has recently rented nearby Thrushcross Grange from the owner and decides to step across the heath and meet his landlord and nearest neighbour, Heathcliff. It is clear to Mr. Lockwood that something is badly wrong. Heathcliff is unwelcoming to say the least and the rest of the household range from bad mannered to downright alarming. Mr. Lockwood is forced to pass the night at the heights after he is attacked by the dogs and a snowstorm turns the moor in to a uniform white blanket, treacherous with marshes and abandoned quarry sites.
During the night Lockwood discovers an old book of scripture which is defaced by the jotted diary of a girl named Catherine Earnshaw from some 30 years ago. He reads her spirited account of life at the heights and all about her close friendship with Heathcliff. Later, as he sleeps and wakes continually, he is driven to break the window in the room he has been put in in order to silence the branch of a fur tree which is tapping on the glass. Imagine his feelings when he encounters not a branch but an ice cold hand which grips his like a vice.
This is the ghost of Cathy, crying and begging to be let in. I'm sure many of you will be familiar with Kate Bush's smash hit "wuthering heights" in which she sings, "its Cathy, I've come home, let me in at your window" well, this is the original source of those lyrics.
We are left to decide for ourselves whether this is truly Cathy's ghost or simply a nightmare. Either way, Lockwood's scream wakes the household and we see the previously unemotional and sneering Heathcliff throw himself at the broken window sobbing and calling out for Cathy.
When Mr. Lockwood returns to his home at Thrushcross Grange, he naturally tells his housekeeper Nelly, about his odd experiences and this prompts her to begin telling the story of the heights. It is a tale full of passion and intrigue that can't fail to draw the reader in from the first. The characters are incredibly deep, especially those of Cathy and Heathcliff. Each time I read the book I find myself feeling differently about the way everything plays out. I can say without hesitation that I do not like many of the main characters but despite this I find myself caring about them and becoming completely amerced in there world.
Although this book is essentially a love story there are many other elements. At the time of publication in 1847, Emily Bronte was criticised for her graphic portrayal of cruelty, both physical and psychological. It is true that these days, some of the things that raised eyebrows in this work would scarcely get a blink, but in the context of the story and the time, there are still many chilling moments.
I don't wish to give any more of the plot away as the slightest hint would take away from all the twists and turns. I'd never rob anyone of feeling the anticipation I did on first reading Wuthering heights, sitting there thinking "will she? Won't she? Does he really mean that? I can't believe anyone is really capable of...." etc. I would just like to add that although a rather dark novel with many elements of the gothic, there are still some heart warming moments.
A truly entrancing and absorbing read. An absolute must for any bookshelf.
My favourite quotes
"Terror made me cruel; and finding it useless to attempt shaking the creature off, I pulled its wrist on to the broken pane, and rubbed it to and fro till the blood ran down and soaked the bedclothes" - Lockwood on the apparition
"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." - Cathy on Heathcliff
"Because misery, and degradation and death, and nothing that God or Satan could inflict would have parted us, you, of your own will, did it." Heathcliff to Cathy
The idea of their being a curse in Wuthering Heights may actually be accurate. Emily Bronte's brother Branwell went on a trip to Liverpool in August, 1845. During that time there were three hundred thousand Irish immigrants that had just landed in Liverpool so the streets were covered with poor Irish families suffering from famine, there is no doubt that Branwell came into contact with these immigrants and may have in fact gone back to Emily Bronte and retold many of the stories he had heard which may have inspired the character of Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights especially as she began writing the book that same August. Within the book it refers to Heathcliff language as 'gibberish' this in fact may have been an Irish accent due to Emily basing him on an Irish character. Branwell described Liverpool as a living hell, with starving beggars all over the streets and its dark past with its dealings in the slave trade back in the 18th centaury so Heathcliff may actually be thought of as a "demon" which he is regularly referred as that has been taken from his living hell been brought to the countryside which he will inevitably corrupt with his devilish ways.
Everything Heathcliff comes into contact with has misfortune so he may actually be curse. Earnshaw bring Heathcliff to his family and unexpectedly dies, this may be due to the stress of the constant fighting between Hindley and Heathcliff. Catharine also inevitably met her doom with Heathcliff having a big part to play in it by tearing her heart in two, constantly antagonizing her. Hindley fell into depression once his wife Frances dies and was pushed even further into depression by Heathcliff by winning money and property from Hindley in gambling we then find out that Hindley dies. Isabella was stripped from her home Thrushcross grave and taken to Wuthering Heights where she was treated poorly, being physically abused by Heathcliff which made her fall into despair, she also died after being tormented by Heathcliff. It seems that everyone Heathcliff comes into contact with meets their doom, even when he was young Nelly describes him as "coming from the devil" and Isabella commenting that " his kin lay beneath" many characters constantly relate him to an evil being that is sinister with no good intentions.
Emily Bronte may be giving the Ideology that by Mr Earnshaw bringing something foreign from the 'outside world' into their 'own world' which in turn ruins what they have and puts a curse upon his family to be destroyed by the very thing he felt empathy for making Heathcliff the "cuckoo in the nest" Hareton is also another character who is negatively affected by Heathcliff by being treated as a mere servant and neglected an education when he in fact is the rightful owner of Wuthering heights. Heathcliff makes attempt after attempt to manipulate Cathy just like every other character in the novel but she is the one who breaks the chain and will eventually bring the curse (Heathcliff) to a halt. Heathcliff is tormented as a youth by not being able to control his own fate so in turn wants to control everything as he grows old which in turn does share a similarity to Agamemnon from Aeschylus's tragic plays as Agamemnon had an ambition of controlling all the Greek states just as Heathcliff has an ambition of controlling all the properties which in turn gives him absolute power and control. Going back to the original statement of their being a curse within the novel the idea of their being a curse seems even more evident when comparing the novel to The Oresteia as they share many similarities such as characters being given the chance to break the 'chain of the curse' but always giving into their revenge and also the fact that they both include the super natural with the ghost of Catherine and the Eumenides so overall I do agree that there is a curse present as there are just to many coincidences and similarities to deny this.
Wuthering Heights (1847) - the story is narrated by Lockwood, a gentleman visiting the Yorkshire moors where the novel is set, and of Mrs Dean, housekeeper to the Earnshaw family, who had been witness of the interlocked destinies of the original owners of the Heights. In a series of flashbacks and time shifts, Brontë draws a powerful picture of the enigmatic Heathcliff, who is brought to Heights from the streets of Liverpool by Mr Earnshaw. Heathcliff is treated as Earnshaw's own children, Catherine and Hindley. After his death Heathcliff is bullied by Hindley, who loves Catherine, but she marries Edgar Linton. Heathcliff 's destructive force is unleashed, and his first victim is Catherine, who dies giving birth to a girl, another Catherine. Isabella Linton, Edgar's sister, whom he had married, flees to the south. Their son Linton and Catherine are married, but always sickly Linton dies. Hareton, Hindley's son, and the young widow became close. Increasingly isolated and alienated from daily life, Heathcliff experiences visions, and he longs for the death that will reunite him with Catherine. Mr. Heathcliff: The orphan boy Mr. Earnshaw found in Liverpool. He becomes Mr. Earnshaw's foster son, and the foster brother of Catherine and Hindley. He looks very different with his dark skin, hair, and eyes, and his speech is at first incoherent. He becomes best friends with Catherine, but Hindley hates him. Father favors Heathcliff, and becomes furious when he is treated poorly. They form a sort of team, though Heathcliff never shows much love or appreciation. He eventually becomes selfish and mean from all this attention, and his favored spot means he can get what he wants from his brother and sister. After Mr. Earnshaw's death, Hindley returns and makes Heathcliff a servant, refusing him the right to speak to Catherine. Life becomes miserable, and the little outsider blames Hindley; revenge becomes his only goal in life. Grown evil and cruel, he gets his chance when Hindley becomes mad after his wife's death, and Heathcliff is able to take Wuthering Heights from him. Catherine, his love, marries Edgar Linton and dies in childbirth. To revenge himself against the Lintons, Heathcliff marries Edgar's sister, treats her terribly, and raises their son only because he can help further his revenge.