Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Wuthering Heights
Emily Brontë
Published 1847

As I neared the end of the final chapter of Wuthering Heights, I knew instantly that there would be nothing good I felt compelled to say about it.  I raced to the finish line because it could not be over fast enough.  

What was Emily Brontë thinking? 

This torn copy has been part of my bookshelf for ten years, and due to the overwhelming negativity concerning the story, I avoided it for that long.  I did read a few chapters six years ago, but never went beyond that.  This time, however, I was truly excited to finally find out what the hype was about, and now I know.  I know for sure that I will never read this book again.  

Immediately it began in an interesting direction, and I was delighted already.  But just as suddenly, it took a dark, wicked downward turn and spiraled from there.  It became more and more ugly, and dark and dirty (not in a sexual way -- although the cousin thing is a little weird).  

Every character is horrid, HORRID, horrid.  Even the most normal character, Nelly, is ridiculous and unbelievable.  How could she have loved any of those people and used that as an excuse to stay? Heathcliff is absolutely detestable; he is the vilest of men.  His behavior is so outrageous that he is more like an evil force than a human being.  Some of the younger characters appeared immature for their age, which bothered me, too.  And Joseph was so incoherent that I had to skip over his arrogant rambles.  

The ugliness of the characters spoiled my reading experience so much that I could not appreciate the gothic elements of the setting or the writing style.  It is apparent that Emily Brontë can write well, but what she wrote about is perplexing.  The story sucked the life out of me.

11 comments:

  1. I couldn't agree more! I would suggest Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte as an antidote. It's a gem of a book and will restore your faith in the Bronte sisters.

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    1. I will consider that - thank you. I do love Jane Eyre, so all is not lost.

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    2. Agree with the prior commenter. Anne Bronte is totally different. You'll like her. :)

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    3. I agree that Jane Eyre is a great book, but there is a sweetness about Agnes Grey. It is a simple, small story of a person moving with the flow of her world rather than fighting against it like Jane, or burning it all down like Heathcliff.

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    4. OK, I will keep an eye out for Anne Brontë and Agnes Grey, and I won't pass it up. Thank you.

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  2. Ya know, there's a lot of people who love this, and I'm happy for them, but I always feel gratified when someone else hates it. Heathcliff is one of the most detestable persons I've encountered in fiction. Love story? He does not know the meaning of love.

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  3. And now for a different opinion: I had to laugh at your review because that is exactly how I felt when I read Wuthering Heights for the first time. Healthcliff and Catherine were such horrible people I only read through to the end to hopefully enjoy their just desserts. I was mad when it didn't seem they didn't get any.

    Then a few years later I read it again and I began to see things that I hadn't seen at first. Namely, that Heathcliff and Catherine do get their just desserts and all the people they oppress and hurt do get a kind of revenge.

    Isabel in that she learns how to drive Heathcliff crazy with her mouth which he can't stop and when she runs away, he doesn't go after her, does he?

    Linton finds peace in God, something Heathcliff never attains. And the children Cathy and Hareton find they love each other, something Heathcliff can't prevent.

    Finally, after wreaking revenge on everyone, Heathcliff gives up the ghost because he can never get what he wants, which really is just to be with Catherine.

    I just read a biography on the Brontes. Emily was an enigma and kind of a mystic. Very little is known about her or how she developed her imagination.

    The biography also shows how the book was based on real people in the Brontes lives.

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    1. Oh, thank you for sharing your insight. I needed that. And for a moment I thought it may be possible that I attempt to reread it just to get a different perspective. I know full well that rereading something changes my opinions, sometimes not always for the better; but how much worse could it get for me? However, I did keep my copy. It was bad time for me to read this b/c it did illicit a negative response.

      My next step is to understand why Emily wrote WH. Maybe a non-fiction book is in order.

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  4. I felt very much the same way the only time I read Wuthering Heights. I know many people find it ultimately fulfilling and cool, but I have So Many Other Books To Read that I can't bring myself to spend time on it again. Maybe one day.

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