Newest Review: ... Wuthering Heights and then the Grange, which comes into the fray a little later on. Orphaned gypsy Heathcliff is taken in at the former... more
Wuthering Heights - the perfect love story?
Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
Member Name: PaigeTurner
Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
Advantages: One of the best novels ever written
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.
Summary: A novel of such passion and uniqueness it is certain of a place in the literary canon for all time