‘Wuthering Heights’

Author: Emily Bronte (sorry my tablet can’t cope with umlauts!)

IBN: 0 7064 2763 7

Published: 1847 (this edition- 1986)

Having only read ‘Jane Eyre’, I decided it was finally time to read the other  famous work of the Bronte sisters. ‘Wuthering Heights’ is the tale of how the master of an old house, known simply by the name of Heathcliff, came to be so bitter. I knew from the off that it was not going to be a cheery read, yet I was still not fully prepared for how miserable it would transpire to be. This affected my enjoyment of the book and, after enjoying the first fifty or so pages, it soon became a bit of a slog. Whilst I cannot deny that the book is beautifully written it didn’t appeal to me too much personally, especially as a from of light-reading. That being said, I’ve never been particularly fond of gothic literature. 

Another issue I had with the book was that there was not a single character I could sympathise with in any way, shape or form. I found that I did not care what became of them, especially towards the end of the book when it began to seem never-ending. Despite being initially intrigued by Heathcliff, I soon began to feel that being so sullen made him quite boring. By the end of the novel I simply detested him and felt utterly unable to sympathise with his eventual fate. With the regards to the other characters, their only purpose seemend to be to die in a ‘tragic’ manner. I found both Catherine and her daughter irritating whilst Linton was just plain ‘wet’. Furthermore, Lockwood’s narration proved somewhat melodramatic. The final thing that irritated me was the role of women in the novel. I am no ardent feminist, but the idea of Isabella being terrified into submission and Cathy constantly nursing Linton sre prime examples of why the book has not aged particularly well. 

Although I couldn’t bring myself to like the characters in the book, I must give Bronte credit for how beautifully written it is. Credit must also be given for the choice of setting, as the gloomy Yorkshire Moores definitely contribute to the bleak affect desired by the author. Another advantage was the book’s short length, as this makes the reader feel as though something is constantly occurring. The flashbacks to Heathcliff’s early life make up much of the action and can be very interesting, even if bits of them can seem irrelevant. There are some downsides to the language of the book, the main one being that even for an 1800s novel it seems very dated and requires its reader’s concentration. ‘Jane Eyre’ has certainly aged better, making ‘Wuthering Heights’ frequently seem like the poor relation. I often found my attention dropping during the novel, which is unusual for me as I am generally easily absorbed in a book. I expected to love ‘Wuthering Heights’ but have actually been left feeling it is quite overrated. Ultimately, the book just was just not for me.

Rating: *** (3/5) 


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