Nov 20, 2009

Global Classic Challenge Review #2

Wuthering Heights
Emily Brontë

I bought this book in July ( the same Penguin edition you see here). Everyone who reads my posts knows I started it the day I got it, read to page 120 and stopped reading. Why? Not because it was boring or bad; I simply wasn't in the right mood for a novel like Wuthering Heights. On several occasions, I tried to get back to it and failed each time until I hit the nail on the head, signed up for this challenge and pledged myself to do a book report on this for one of my English classes. So, now I finally read it.  
That day has arrived.
Wuthering Heights is Emily's only novel, and I'm yet to read Charlotte's Jane Eyre. The beginning of W.H. is promising; the ghost of Catherine Earnshaw appears to a new tenant who learns about the tragic love between her and Heathcliff. It's the middle part of this novel that's very slow, sagging and, dare I say, dreary. It seems almost as if Emily is reluctant about putting an end to the story. Lots of importance is put upon the raw and uninviting landscape of Yorkshire moors and the cold, tyrannical and careless upbringing of Catherine, Hindley and Heathcliff. Considering these factors, it's no wonder they grow up to be the people they are; Catherine is a selfish, capricious and moody diva, Heathcliff is a rude, savage, cruel, vengeful brute and Hindley a bitter, power-craving and  jealous brat.

I couldn't but draw comparisons between W.H. and Twilight (convenient these days). Ever since the Twilight-ish edition appeared, I read very opposed opinions on W.H. Mostly people are disappointed with W.H. if Twilight was the only reason they picked up W.H. Seriously, why doesn't that surprise me?
Personally, I don't see why W.H. was so significant for New Moon since the characters are as different as chalk and cheese. The relationships between Catherine and Heathcliff and Bella and Edward have nothing in common.
Second, there is a scene in Eclipse which struck me particularly similar to a scene in W.H., the scene in the tent when Edward/Heathcliff tells Linton/Jacob he would never harm him because it would hurt Catherine/Bella. 
Here is my favorite quote (yes, that's the one)

"I cannot express it; but surely you and everybody have a notion that there is or should be an existence of yours beyond you. What were the use of my creation if I were entirely contained here? My great miseries in this world have been Heathcliff's miseries, and I watched and felt each from the beginning: my great thought of living is himself. If all else perished, and he remained, I should still continue to be; and if all else remained, and he were annihilated, the world woud turn a mighty stranger; I should not seem a part of it." Catherine, p79

To sum up; Wuthering Heights is a demanding book, not one to chose if you're only seeking a pass-time occupation. I wasn't too impressed neither with the story, the romance nor the characters. It does end with a happy end, but not for Catherine and Heathcliff, and if you ask me, they didn't even deserve it. 
What left me in awe was Emily's amazing ability to perfectly catch the atmosphere of hatred, despair, desire, regret and revenge. She brings the worst out of her characters, pushes them to their limits only to make the rise again out of their own ashes and prove there is after all a hint of humanity in them--no matter how silent.
I often wondered, while reading this book, what would happen if Catherine and Heathcliff did end up together? Would they be happy, or would they enormous egos collide until they became the end of each other?

What do you think?

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