Wuthering Heights, a Second and Third Opinion

Catherine Wuthering Heights

Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte, 1847

Welcome to a brand new type of post.  When I review classic literature for this blog, I often feel the need to write “but, that’s just my opinion.” I know that while I think Robert Burns descended from heaven and Herman Melville is duller than an anvil, other people have different and equally valid opinions. My friends Sahra and Simone talk about Wuthering Heights a lot. They’re Wuthering Heights fangirls. I wanted to include their thoughts on the book, so we sat down and chatted about it. I recorded and transcribed the conversation. Let me know if you like this type of post. We three ladies have a lot to say about literature. We could just keep on talking.

This post is very long. Click the link below to read the entire post and see all the pictures. The pictures are a collaborative effort too. Simone and her husband Ike visited the Bronte home on their honeymoon and took some amazing pictures on the romantic moors. Moors!

Sydney’s comments are bold.

Sahra’s comments are in italics.

Simone’s comments are in the regular font.

Let’s Begin

What was first about this book? Why was it so popular immediately?

It actually had a mixed critical reception. It’s much more loved now than it was during its time, because people were shocked by. . .

It was sexual.

It made a big splash. It was controversial and controversial kind of equals popular, because everyone was talking about it. I remember when we went to the house, they had displays of the reviews from that time, saying that it would corrupt young women’s minds.

Did she write under a male penname?

The Bronte’s all did. The question of whether they would all be as popular today if they hadn’t written under male pseudonyms, we can never know.

There are a lot of books by Victorians authors that were embraced by Victorians as being examples of who they wanted to be as a society. Dickens, for example, had evil characters, but overall his work is a reflection of the morality of his times. But, I think that Emily Bronte certainly was not embraced in that way. People did not want to hear about the cruel behavior and twisted psychology of her characters. That was very forbidden.

Can you think of books written before this that have anti-heroes?

(pause)

Byron. Not novels, so much.

Certainly not many, and probably not any female authors.

(Although, now I am thinking that Charlotte Temple certainly qualifies as an anti-hero.)

Byron sort of started that dark, twisted hero deal. And I can see Byronic influence in Wuthering Heights.

heathcliff grief

 

Would you consider Heathcliff to be a Byronic hero?

I think he qualifies as Byronic, because he has a dark past. I don’t know though, because the Byronic hero tries to do the right thing, but is overcome by his dark mysterious past and his psychological issues and Heathcliff is trying really hard to do the wrong thing and mess up people’s lives.

What’s the turning point for Heathcliff?

Well, when Cathy won’t marry him.  I think he would have forgiven Hindley, if he could have had Cathy, because that was all he wanted. But he felt that Hindley prevented him from having an education and turned him into a brutish person who could never sit in a parlor with the beautiful Cathy Earnshaw and have a conversation that would be expected of someone of her class. Not that she was very high class.

Well, for their area they were the two big families.

And she got a taste of the high class when she had to stay with the Lintons. That’s what did it. She liked that life.

She obviously never loved Edgar Linton as much as she loved Heathcliff, although I think it’s arguable whether she ever loved anyone. She had a passion for Heathcliff and probably got an egotistical pleasure from his infatuation, but I don’t think she ever behaved towards anyone in a way that was loving.

She’s pretty awful. She shakes the baby.

She shakes the baby!

She hits her maid and shakes a baby.

That was the hardest part of the novel for me to get past, because Edgar is horrified. He watches her pinch and slap her maid. He walks outside. Then he sees her through the window and he thinks “Well, she’s still hot.” And he goes back in and then they make plans to get married.

Well, she cries and cries and plays the weak female and says all that “I’ll die without you” type of stuff. And he decides to forgive her.

She’s very manipulative. I think she probably has borderline personality disorder.

Narcissism. She needs all the attention. She needs everyone to have slavish love for her. And that’s one of the things that creeps me out about this book. It’s kind of held up as a standard of passion. Movies tend to depict it as the definition of romance. Like if you don’t want to die for the other person, than your love isn’t real. But I think it’s actually a pretty creepy relationship and pretty one-sided on Heathcliff’s side.

Edgar was more loving to Cathy than Heathcliff ever was. She just didn’t feel the same connection to Edgar that she felt for Heathcliff.

I think she preferred the company of Heathcliff. He’s more fun. Let’s talk about Isabella Linton! Her sexual situation is really messed up. We know that she and Heathcliff have sex, because they have a baby. But she is treated very horribly and is basically a prisoner. So, we know that was probably a nonconsensual situation.

She did fancy herself to be in love with him.

But, wasn’t it immediately, that he started treating her like a slave?

Yeah, it’s really upsetting.

He did it to get back at Edgar. Edgar took the one thing Heathcliff loved so Heathcliff took everything Edgar ever loved.

Heathcliff’s quest for revenge is so insane and over the top. He’s willing to ruin the lives of so many people so have nothing to do with the original insult to him. One thing that frustrated me when reading WH is that Heathcliff is just one man. They allow him to have so much power. The Linton’s are so weak. Cathy cries, so Edgar marries her. Like, that’s insane. Don’t. She just showed how evil she is and you decide to marry her. Even more so when Heathcliff is holding Cathy 2, Edgar and Cathy’s daughter, hostage. And they just say “Well that sucks. I wish that wasn’t happening.” Go get her!

Get her! Go get whatever constable. . .

I have an idea about why there’s this feeling of powerlessness at the hands of this bully. Emily Bronte’s brother was a horrible bully and an alcoholic. I learned about it when we visited their house. That’s why in every Bronte novel there’s a bully. The husband in The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. And the Bronte sisters were probably completely powerless with him. So the fact that Cathy is in love with her pseudo brother. . . .  They had dark, cold men in their lives.

How do we feel about the device of the narrator, Lockwood? Wuthering Heights seems very different from other Bronte novels. Take Jane Eyre for example, you get super zoomed in detail on everything that Jane thinks in a day. It’s common in this period of literature for readers to get that psychological intimacy with a character. But not in Wuthering Heights.

It’s good. I like the mystery of them.

You don’t know what’s driving all the anger and passion.

I think that’s one of the reasons that people are fascinated by the book. And it’s lost in the movies. The way the story is revealed to Lockwood is really cool. He sees the ghost first. So, while you’re reading the book you’re thinking “What’s up with this ghost.”

Then you’re ten chapters in and you’re wondering where the ghost is.

It’s not a very satisfying ghost story, because there’s three pages of ghost.

Wuthering Heights Ghost

Well, there are other Gothic elements.

Digging up the body. And it’s a great ghost because it bleeds.

The ghost put me in a freaked out headspace to read the rest of the book.

A modern reader expects a certain level of propriety when they read literature from this era. If you’ve read Jane Austen, you think it’s going to be about courtly dances and people scheming to get married. Then a few pages in the narrator almost gets eaten by dogs. Heathcliff and young Cathy are very rude. Then he meets a ghost. It’s confusing and your desire to figure out what’s going on drives your interest in the story.

The one question I have about Bronte’s choice of narrator is: Lockwood is told the story mostly by Nelly, Catherine’s old nurse. So, why not have her narrate the story. Is it a sexism thing? Is it a classism thing?

Absolutely! Both! Yes!

So it has to be presented as the thoughts that this rich normative male had when he went to this funny town.

At this time women were supposed to be pretty and sweet and think about sweet, pretty things. Then here’s this gritty, depressing, passionate story that women probably shouldn’t even know about.

If you are reading this the year it was published, you thought you were reading a book by a male author about a man. I think that’s why it got more attention than it would have if it had been written under a female author’s name or told from the perspective of Nelly. I think you’re absolutely right; it’s classism and it’s sexism.

It is frustrating to have to hear details about a character, Lockwood, who has no impact on the plot of the book.

Yeah, shut up about yourself, go talk to Nelly.

It is interesting that he contemplates taking young Cathy with him, because he feels like he can. Here’s this young, beautiful girl who I can propose to and just take her with me out of this shithole. But then I won’t because I’ve heard about her whole messed up past and her mother was crazy, according to this old lady.

How do you feel about the realisticness of young Cathy and Hareton’s happilyeverafter perfect life? I never believed it.

You know what it is? It’s a common enemy thing.

And Hareton is like Heathcliff. He can’t read.

He has a slavish devotion to her.

They are Cathy and Heathcliff 2.0 and it works out this time.

Because the demon in their life dies. The demon was Hindley for Cathy and Heathcliff, and Heathcliff for Cathy 2 and Hareton. Heathcliff dies while they are still children and the goodness in them hasn’t been completely stomped out. They are able to treat each other kindly.

They break the cycle of emotional abuse, which is a nice message. How does he die again?

He just dies.

He just runs out of dark energy and dies.

Do they do the thing with the coffins at the end? They opened the door to hers. Did they open the door to his?

So that their souls could roam the moors together.

And their skeletons can get all gooey together.

He definitely does dig up her corpse more than once. Well, they only mention it in the book once, but you don’t just lie with a corpse once.

I don’t know that. I don’t know what pattern behavior is for lying with corpses.

heathcliff one

Edgar originally wanted Cathy to be buried with a locket containing his hair, but Heathcliff threw out Edgar’s hair and put his own hair in. Nelly saw it and she braided Heathcliff and Edgar’s hair together and buried her with both.

Because Nelly is the most rational character in the book. She sees that Cathy had at least some affection for Edgar and possibly loved him and that the obsessive love Heathcliff wants Cathy to have for him is unrealistic.

 Did you enjoy reading the book? Did you find it entertaining?

I did.

I find it gripping. It’s a page turner, but I get bummed out. The other Bronte books are more fun. I couldn’t put it down, but it made me feel bad. However, of all the books, it’s the one I would like to reread the most. It’s so complex.

I remember reading it when I was 15. And I thought “What is going on?” That’s the perfect time to read it, because it’s so dark and tortured and teenagers are dark and tortured.

Maybe that’s my issue with it. I didn’t read it as a teenager. I did not find it as gripping as you two seem to have found it. I got about a quarter of the way into it and I just did not care about the characters. I didn’t care if they went straight to hell or what path they took to get there. I didn’t feel invested in them. I almost think that it’s not because the characters have no admirable qualities, but because of the narrative distance. I wasn’t rooting for anything in particular to happen. And I didn’t feel invested in them, because I didn’t feel like I knew them. All I saw was some shitty behavior and why should I want to keep reading about their continually shit behavior?

I felt like I always had someone to root for in the book, but it keeps changing. At first it’s Heathcliff. You really want him to win. Then there’s a grey period where you’re maybe rooting for Nelly. Then there’s a new generation where Heathcliff is the demon and you’re rooting for the new generation. Which is interesting, because what other books have done that? Taken someone who you were rooting for and made you hate them.

Well, in earlier books there would be a suitor who is trying to win the hand of the young lady and he seems really great at first, but then he turns out to be awful. Like a Mr. Wickham.

But this is different, because he turns out to be the hero of the book.

In a way he’s a protagonist. It’s hard to identify who is the protagonist throughout the book, it sort of shifts.

It’s Cathy 2. Well, ok, “Vanity Fair” is “a novel without a hero.” Which was maybe after “Wuthering Heights.” Although, it may have been published serially at the exact same time.

It was also innovative, because of the disjointed timeline. Nelly tells the story out of order. So, it jumps forward and backward in time, which drives the tension of the story and makes it a precursor to other books with disjointed timelines, like, I don’t know. . .Slaughter House Five. Sydney, can you think of other Victorian novels with plots that are not chronological?

Not off the top of my head, no.

The question of innovation is different from the question of “Did you enjoy it?” Moby Dick was innovative in a lot of ways, but I would never recommend that anyone read it or read it again myself. I would reread WH, maybe, but not for fun, just to refresh myself on the details. When I read a book by Dickens, my emotions go on a rollercoaster and I care so much about what happens to the characters. WH just isn’t as likable.

It’s like the Victorian version of Reality TV. It’s like watching hoarders. It makes you feel bad. You do have this distance from the characters. You’re watching someone’s messed up social issues and you have no right to be seeing it.

As the reader you’re kind of like a peeping Tom.

And every other book before this has a strong moral lesson.

This has no moral lesson.

That is one of the cool things about Vanity Fair and Wuthering Heights is that they are both about the deep inner darkness inside of people. Which is great, because if there’s one thing I have learned from reading everything in order is that the original conception of the purpose of the novel was

Moral edification

Yes. The reason that a person would read a novel was to learn how to be a good young woman. And those novels are insufferable, because there’s usually a high-minded young lady, who has no experience of the world, trying to shame everyone around her into being more “moral.” It’s like being told what do by someone who has never tested their conception of proper behavior in the real world. But Wuthering Heights does not present a vision of how humans should behave.

No it’s about a messed up family. You see people acting crazy towards one another. You never know what the people closest to you are going to do next. For readers from messed up families it feels like home. It’s the first book about a really messed up family.

It’s about them in that tiny house.

Drinking zombie water. The reason the Bronte’s all died young was that the cemetery in the town where they grew up, Haworth, was overcrowded. So, they were basically drinking zombie water and the life expectancy in Haworth was lower than the surrounding towns, because of the corpse water.

Does anyone feel…like…the moral…of the whole book…is “Don’t bring a Gypsy child into your home?”

No. Haha.

I don’t think so.

Ok, just checking.

The moral is “don’t be consumed by revenge.”

I don’t think Heathcliff ever repents of it.

He doesn’t, but the next generation doesn’t go that route and they are redeemed.

But you gotta think, what is the original cause of his incredibly defective personality?

Hindley! Hindley tries to get revenge.

The father. The father favors Heathcliff. “Showing favoritism messes up your kids” is another moral. Everybody hates that he brought that kid home from London.

Not the reader.

No, his family. Cathy reacts badly for a while. Hindley reacts badly forever.

Cathy gets over it pretty quickly.

She’s horrible to Heathcliff for a while.

But she starts to like him. There’s a strong moral about overcoming prejudice. Cathy 2 falls in love with Hareton who is illiterate and a commoner. She overcomes that prejudice. So a moral is that it’s ok to love someone who isn’t upper class.

She makes a big deal at first about how Hareton can’t read.

He’s the exact same class as her. He’s her cousin.

But he was raised with the dogs. And she overcomes it.

I think there is a lot of racism against Heathcliff, because he’s part Gypsy.

He’s a Gypsy.

And everyone is mad that this non-Anglo-Saxon kid just showed up.

They think it’s crazy for the father to just pick up some street urchin.

The implication is that it’s his bastard.

With some prostitute.

So Heathcliff and Cathy are actually half brother and sister, which is incest. So, that’s probably happening.

Where do you pick that idea up from?

Because otherwise, why would he just take a kid home?

Cuz someone mentions rumors about them.

Well, I would prefer to think that he just saw a child on the street who was a wild child and took pity on him and that people couldn’t understand this action and so they fabricated this explanation.

Because it’s not an upper class British thing to do.

Cathy spurns Heathcliff solely because of prejudice. That’s what turns him into a monster. And Cathy II overcomes that prejudice and she’s redeemed.

Did she spurn him for being a Gypsy or for being uneducated or was it about money?

All of those things.

Cathy 2 doesn’t need money. She has that nice house. Cathy I is making the decision of being rich or being a beggar for her whole life. When she chose Edgar, Heathcliff was broke. Cathy 2 didn’t have to worry about that. I also think that original Cathy is a selfish person who doesn’t care much about her bonds with other humans. Of course she’s going to pick money over her childhood friend.

I think it wasn’t just that he was a Gypsy or that he was penniless. In the book what she brings up more than anything is the roughness of his manners.

He can’t pass as genteel.

Let’s not totally condemn Catherine Earnshaw, because she totally changed her mind. She realized she loved Heathcliff. She said she had no business marrying Edgar. “I am Heathcliff.” But it was too late, he was already gone.

It was too late. He thinks “she had her chance.”

He doesn’t tell her he’s going to go away and amass a fortune for her.

No, he just goes, and he has three years for his anger to percolate.

I have a question. How feminist or unfeminist is Wuthering Heights? Or protofeminist. Because Cathy 1.

She’s a bad bitch.

But that shows that women aren’t gonna be perfect.

I think it’s great for both genders in showing complexity. Even compared to her sisters’ novels. Anne Bronte is lauded as the most feminist, but everyone in an Anne Bronte novel is either all good or all bad. Period. Whereas in WH. Name one character who’s all one. . .Well, Cathy 1 is hard to love.

Oh, Heathcliff’s all bad.

Only later! Only later. Early on he does tons of nice stuff for Cathy. He’s the protagonist. He starts out very lovable.

But ultimately, he’s just an incredibly evil, vicious man.  But that means he’s all bad. What child has no goodness in them? When he’s a kid he’s nice, but when he’s a fully formed person, he is all the way bad.

I think Heathcliff had the capacity to be good and the capacity to be evil. The circumstances in his life turned him evil. Cathy isn’t necessarily evil, but she’s a selfish person and a bad person. I think because Cathy was the way she was, it made it easy for Heathcliff to be bad.

So then the difference between the all-bad husband in Tenant of Wildfell Hall and Heathcliff is just that they show his childhood.  He’s still an all-bad character.

But you still feel sad for him. When I first read WH I had never read a book where the guy is evil, but you still feel these really strong feelings about…

He’s kind of sexy and you’re still rooting for him.

I’m rooting for him. His brother is really horrible to him. He was in love with this lady in a really unhealthy way. She chose Edgar who is obviously the better person.  She chose right.

Not at the time. Edgar ends up being much better to her, but at the time we had no reason to think he would be better for her than Heathcliff.

I’m not sure.

Before she chooses Edgar, does he do one mean thing?

He’s depicted as a brooding, temperamental child.

Yeah, he’s brooding, but there’s nothing wrong about that.

I’m not sure it’s unreasonable for her to look at the temperaments of both of those men and decide that a marriage to Edgar would be more felicitous.

She doesn’t chose Edgar, because he’s nicer. She picks him for the money and the things.

And she thinks she can subjugate his will to her own.

She wants to be the most important lady in the county.

Ok, but if you were Cathy’s mother and you had to choose one of these men.

You would choose Edgar.

I want to get back to talking about whether it’s a feminist novel and whether the female characters are a little more interesting and complex than the other female characters at the time. The male characters as well, because being feminist means not putting anyone into a gender bucket. So we agreed that Catherine 1 and Heathcliff are pretty cookie cutter, but Catherine 2 is one of the most complex female characters. When we first see her, Lockwood expects her to be an angel, but she’s haughty and snotty to him, but she over comes that. And she has compassion and familial affection for Linton. We can see she’s very lonely in her life. There are very strong positive characteristics about her, but there’s also the pride that her mother had. I think she’s interesting.

I think it’s feminist. Cathy 1 is a bad person and it’s easy to say that it’s not feminist, because the main woman in the book is a bad person. But, I think, for the time it’s feminist to show that woman can be bad just like men can. Women can be selfish and not just loving and motherly and sweet.

Were there bad women in literature before?

Who weren’t prostitutes.

Oh, there’s this wonderful Lady Delacour in Belinda which isn’t very popular anymore. She’s a fallen woman in that she isn’t a domestic goddess. She has become part of the dissipated London society in the year 1800. She steps way outside of her gender roles. Her redemption is that she brings her daughter back into her house and becomes a mother again. Which is ambiguously feminist.

I think that WH is feminist, because it shows that there are certain expectations that society has for the way women should behave and then there are things that are out of their control that interfere with their ability to be that. I think that this is something that women have faced for a long time and men too. You’re expected to be one way and to feel a certain way, but that’s not necessarily innate to your personality. And there’s not necessarily anything in your upbringing that would lead you to be that way.

I agree with you. I think that moment when she shakes the baby is her being the exact opposite of what a good wifey is supposed to be.

Ok, wait, hypothesis. I’m just going to say this and see how we feel about it. I’m not even sure I believe it myself. This could be an antifeminist thing about it. Emily Bronte really establishes: Why Heathcliff feels the way he feels about the people around him. Why he’s motivated for revenge. How he wasn’t really all bad in the beginning, but he turned that way. And boy did he turn that way. He’s one of the most villainous villains you will encounter, I think. The amount of destruction.

Psychological villain.

In his quest to get revenge on the thing that he hates, he becomes much worse than the thing that he hates. The amount of destruction that Heathcliff sows in people’s lives far outweighs anything that Hindley did to Heathcliff. And it’s very much established that the way Cathy and the father and Hindley treat Heathcliff turns Heathcliff into who he is.

The monster.

However, Cathy, there’s nothing in Cathy’s upbringing to make her shake babies. That’s just Cathy. When the novel starts Cathy and Hindley are already messed up children. Their already unruly, proud, selfish children. There’s no explanation for why they are like that. And Nelly, who is really the moral compass of the book, because she cares so much about Cathy 2. She has sympathy for Linton. She has sympathy for Hareton, but she hates Cathy 1.

She doesn’t like her.

She thinks she’s a destructive, messed up person.

That’s true. And I think it would be a better novel if we had a little explanation. I think that it’s because they don’t have a mother and in Emily Bronte’s mind that’s why they are messed up. Their mother died when they were very young.

Cathy on the moors

With Heathcliff, Cathy can be unruly and run wild over the moors.

Which is her innate temperament.

That’s Heathcliff’s whole thing. “You’re not yourself when you’re with him. With me you are wild; you’re fierce and it’s amazing. With Edgar you’re just sitting around a house.”

She conforms to her gender norms.

Now we know what happens when you do that.

You mess up several generations of people.

I don’t know where my point was going.

You arrived at a great place.

I do understand the emotional impact that this book has on people, because you do initially want this wild, fierce love to come to its proper fruition. You do.

And you don’t get that.

My only issue with the idea of thinking of Heathcliff as not 100 % bad villain is: What is his redeeming trait? His obsessive love for Cathy.

And that’s also kind of bad.

He thinks that Cathy is obligated to him romantically. He thinks that choosing someone other than him is a great betrayal. And his need to control her doesn’t make their romance very sympathetic.

I think it’s creepy when people hold up this novel as a standard of romantic love. “I want a love like Cathy and Heathcliff.” That’s not a healthy, happy love. It does feel possible and realistic to me that men and women would treat each other terribly and still feel this passion for each other. It’s realistic, but it bothers me that people see this as a standard of romantic love.

It’s just something that people do to sell books. You just slap that on the cover to sell more copies. There’s a terrible edition of “Lolita” that has a blurb from “Vanity Fair Magazine” on the cover saying “The only convincing love story of our century.” I mean, screw you, “Vanity Fair”, for thinking that. Did you read it? Are you dense? And screw the publisher for thinking that you should put that on the cover. But, I think that there’s a strong dollar power in love stories. People who buy paperback books buy books about love stories.

But people say, and I’ve had this mindset myself, it has made me stay in contentious, dysfunctional relationships longer than I should have. People say that they want a passionate love. I want to be in a love that involves fighting. Rather than to be content. There’s a false dichotomy, you can either have a violent, all-consuming passion that eats you up like in WH and that’s ultimately not at all healthy or you can have a love that is suburban and settled.

I think it’s hard for young people to give up the idea of wanting to live a life that is like a book or like a TV show. Because the love in books has to be contentious or it’s boring and there’s no drama. The idea that you should want that in your life is not true. There’s going to be enough strife. You want the person that you’re with to be a source of stability and happy feelings, not a source of more pain and strife. And I think that’s something that is hard for. . .Twihards to understand.

Twihards?!

People who like Twilight! Twilight endorses that sort of really emotionally intense, can’t live without you, type of love.

We have to talk about this, because Bella Swan reads WH like three times in the course of the novels.

Oh, no!

She does. And I think if you’re a person who reads WH you understand that that sort of all-consuming, passionate love doesn’t turn out well for anybody. I don’t think WH is in anyway endorsing that kind of love. It’s a brooding, dark book and teens are brooding.

I wasn’t.

I was and WH changed reading for me. It’s sexy and it’s emotional and it fits your 16 year old temperament.

I didn’t like English class until we read WH.

That’s a big deal.

I have a theory. You’re forming your ego at that age. And for better or worse, you want to be the kind of person who could inspire that amount of obsessive love. You don’t necessarily have the penetration to understand that Cathy isn’t worthy of it and that the way Heathcliff feels about Cathy is more about him than it is about her. But, you do want to be capable of inspiring someone to do wild, insane things out of love for you, because that would be flattering to your half-formed ego. And that’s why Bella, who has no ego, is constantly reading WH.

I thought of what redeems Cathy, well, not quite redeems her, but. . .

She has agency.

She drives action in a way that Bella does not.

She’s a tomboy. She wants adventure. She want to run around in the moors and get muddy. I have a lot of sympathy for someone who want to be a tomboy in the Victorian Era period.

That’s why you sympathize with Heathcliff, because you don’t understand why she would give up her fun life with Heathcliff to be stuck in that fancy house hosting tea parties.

Because that’s a status symbol.

She gets swept up in all that stuff and the novel condemns it. “Don’t get swept up.”

Don’t get excited because someone gives you a bath and puts some ribbons on you.

I don’t have sympathy for Cathy necessarily, but I’m not mad that there’s a book about a woman like Cathy. I don’t think that it’s bad for people to read about her and think about her. I’m mad that that there’s a book about an infantilized non-entity like Bella Swan.

Final thoughts.

 I am glad that WH exists, because it shows the darker side and not the ideal side of human nature, not man’s nature or woman’s nature, but human nature. It’s not my favorite piece of literature, but it has earned its place in the cannon.

I agree. I personally think that it’s feminist, because it shows that women are complex people who can be bad. Also, I’m just a sucker for a brooding anti-hero. I want some sexy Gypsy to dig up my grave and sleep in it. I don’t care, I admit it.

I could have gone a lot of places for my honeymoon, and I knew that Haworth was one of the places I definitely wanted to go, because these Bronte books have stuck with me since I was a kid. You remember Heathcliff and Cathy forever. I reread most of the Bronte novels. I really wanted to love Anne the most, but when we got to the moors and we saw their tiny house and the isolation of that place, all I could think about was Heathcliff and Cathy. There’s a psychological power that Wuthering Heights has that sticks with you forever. It’s a beautiful, dark, spooky thing to speak about.

There are books that have a captivating set of symbols, but are not the best works of literature in the language. Frankenstein and Dr. Frankenstein are two prototypical characters in a poorly written book. I wouldn’t put WH in that category, because it’s not a poorly written book.

It captures the imagination. We don’t like to admit the darkness in us, but there’s some kind of extreme truth in those characters. Emily Bronte was being honest about how people really are behind closed doors. 

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One thought on “Wuthering Heights, a Second and Third Opinion

  1. I just wanted to provide context on our shirtless model, to highlight what a good sport he was! Ike didn’t have any suitably Victorian shirts with him when we visited Haworth, so he volunteered to go shirtless in his role as Heathcliff for the photoshoot. When he laid down on “Catherine’s” grave, it turned out to be covered in stinging nettles, so his cries of agony there were very real!

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