Sunday, June 23, 2013

Wuthering Heights - Book Review

Emily Bronte’s famous novel Wuthering Heights does contain bits – tiny bits – of the gothic and the creepy, but it is not what the reader doesn’t expect. May be because these dark instances recur in modern movies often, we see them as cliché; perhaps they were not so during Bronte’s time.

Nonetheless, I had heard so much about the novel, that I was so eager to read it. When I was done, I wasn’t that pleased.

The novel is terribly popular for its earthly and spell-binding imagery. The most famous and loved-by-all image - few can disagree with this, myself included - is when Catherine Earnshaw says: “My love for Linton is like the foliage in the woods: time will change it, I'm well aware, as winter changes the trees. My love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath: a source of little visible delight, but necessary. Nelly, I am Healthcliff! He's always, always in my mind: not as a pleasure, any more than I am always a pleasure to myself, but as my own being.” 

Most of the good imagery is seen when Catherine talks about Heathcliff or when she compares him to her suitor Linton. Another popular quote and image is: “…but because he's more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of his and mine are the same and Linton's is as different as a moonbeam from lightning or frost from fire.

The imagery is indeed poetic and I do applaud Bronte for her creativity and choice of images and words (within those images).

There are, however, instances of pure stupidity, childish behavior, and a fair bit of ruthlessness. Catherine Earnshaw constantly claims that she and Healthcliff love each other , not a physical form of love but rather an unearthly, soul-connected love (yes, I am avoiding the word ‘spiritual’ here).

Throughout the novel, I did not feel that Healthcliff loved Catherine, neither physically, nor spiritually, nor anything. I felt that the novel was about two people constantly teasing one another – and other people – for fun and heart-ache, and to spite one another. The so-called ‘love’ in Wuthering Heights did not seem like love at all. It is overrated.

I cannot elaborate further for this means that I will have to reread the novel. However, I must honestly note that while writing this review, the novel appealed to me more than it had done when I read it a few years ago. Hence, I’ve raised the rating to three stars instead of only two.

For more quotes from Wuthering Heights, please go here:

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