Book Review: Wuthering Heights

wuthering heights

Author: Emily Bronte

I picked this book up from my Dad’s old bookshelf a few years ago with the noble intention of reading it but ended up not getting past the first page. Not because it was boring or anything, I literally just read a few lines then maybe got distracted by something? I don’t remember what happened but I decided to pick it up again and I am really glad I did! I was surprised by how much I enjoyed reading this book.

This story is largely told from the point of view of Catherine’s ‘nanny’ so to speak as she narrates it to Heathcliff’s new tenant Mr. Lockwood. It basically tells the story of the love between Heathcliff (who was taken in from the streets by Mr. Earnshaw) and Catherine who is Mr. Earnshaw’s legitimate child together with her brother Hindley. Hindley and Catherine initially hate Heathcliff and this is made worse by the fact that their father favors Heathcliff but with time Catherine and Heathcliff bond and become really close.

This of course does not sit well with Catherine’s brother Hindley who always sees Heathcliff as beneath them in terms of social ranking. So when Mr. Earnshaw passes on, Hindley takes the opportunity to put Heathcliff ‘back in his place’ by mistreating him. Heathcliff grows increasingly bitter and decides to leave Wuthering Heights after eavesdropping on a conversation and getting the impression that Catherine can’t marry him because of his low social status. He returns much later looking polished and educated but only to exact his revenge for all the injustice he experienced, perceived or not.

The characters in this book are very human and very unlikable. They’re not your run-of-the-mill protagonists. Basically each and every one of them has flaws so that it was really hard to root for any of them. They’re cruel and wicked and petty and selfish but they’re also very passionate. I have never had so many complicated feelings towards fictional characters and yet I felt like they were an accurate portrayal of the complex human nature. I enjoyed reading this book just because it wasn’t ‘black and white’; I think it’s one of those books you either really like or really hate.

‘He wanted all to lie in an ecstasy of peace; I wanted all to sparkle and dance in a glorious jubilee. I said his heaven would be only half alive; and he said mine would be drunk: I said I should fall asleep in his; and he said he could not breathe in mine.’



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