Thursday, May 15, 2008

Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte

wuthering heights
emily bronte
c. 1847
247 pages
completed 5/14/08

*may contain spoilers*

Read for both the Decades Challenge and the 1% Challenge (see sidebar), mostly because I'm surprised I haven't read this before. This is one of those books I feel I should have read long ago, but somehow missed.

Probably about halfway through the book I started writing down some thoughts, mostly about the characters. Basically my main thought was 'I really hate everyone in this story.' I hated Heathcliff and Catherine. I thought they were the most awful, hateful people. I was not at all sorry for the pain and torment they put each other through. I did not care at all for their love for each other. I almost feel you can't classify it as love, seeing the torture they inflicted on each other. It nothing more than obsession.

For all the other characters, my opinions of them changed all the time, except for I think Joseph and Mr. Lockwood. I couldn't stand Joseph, and I liked Mr. Lockwood, though to be fair he didn't do much. Edgar and Isabella I started out detesting for their weakness, but in the end they grew on me. The same with Hindley and Hareton. Their boorishness made them unlikable, but occasionally their actions showed a softer side of them. With Linton, though I felt sorry for him because of his poor health and was heartbroken when he was taken from Edgar and had to be delivered to Heathcliff, it was hard to remember this pity when everything he did was out of selfishness, fear for his self, and self pity.

I was appalled through most of this book at Heathcliff's actions. His cruelty was despicable. I've read many reviewers write that his unending love for Catherine should redeem him in the readers eyes, but I saw nothing redeemable or admirable in their love for each other. He was scorned by her and he took his revenge out on everyone else around him.

This was not what I expected coming into this book. I knew it was a love story between Heathcliff and Catherine, but I didn't realize that their love would be match by their hatred. This story just held you because you felt so terrible for these other decent people (Edgar, Isabella, Cathy, Nelly, even Linton and Hareton) and you just had to know what other torture would be inflicted on that at Heathcliff's mercy.



jessi said...

It's nice to read someone else who agrees with my anti-Heathcliff and Catherine stance. I had to read this book twice in college, and both times it was a struggle to finish, because I hated those two characters so much. How can anyone think Heathcliff is romantic? And I find Catherine to be one of the most whiny, obnoxious characters I've ever read.

That said, I did go on a study abroad trip to England a few years ago, and seeing the Bronte's house (including the graveyard in the backyard!) gave me more of an appreciation for the story. Just not the main characters. :) Great review!

Esther said...

I too disliked Wuthering Heights. I guess I came to it expected something humourous and basically good-natured like Austen's novels or Jane Eyre.

It's very dramatic and all, but you're right. The characters are not at all likable.

Michelle said...

I too was amazed at how much I disliked this book and the characters in it. I sort of want to reread the book to see if time will change my opinion but I also don't want to at the same time!