Book Review: Wuthering Heights (Emily Brontë)

Firstly: Happy Monday!

Secondly: BOOM! I am done with my 100 books  I vowed to read in February 2013. Since then I’ve read a 102 books (I read the Indigo Spell by Richelle Mead and The Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling twice because I was missing some of my favorite books) I will soon post a complete list and links to their respective reviews. I really didn’t think I would be able to do it. A hundred books is truly a lot and there were times when I went through a reading slump and didn’t think I would get out of it for a few months. I persisted, and voila!

Book: 100/100

emily-bronte-wuthering-heights

I started Wuthering Heights back in August and was about 75% through when I stopped. It is somewhat depressing and not my favourite book of the era it was written in (or a general timeframe at least) but I finished the last bit to complete my challenge.

Emily Brontë wrote Wuthering Heights between 1845 and 1846. It was published in 1847 under her pseudonym Ellis Bell.

In 1801, a Mr Lockwood rents Thrushcross Cottage, which is close to Wuthering Heights, for a holiday. He meets the strange Heathcliff – although he seems to be a part of the family he dresses like a servant.

Lockwood is allowed to stay the night because of a snow storm, but his hosts are very reluctant to do so. He spends the night in a room that was used to belong to a woman named Catherine. He has a nightmare where the ghost of Catherine tries to enter the room. His shouting awakens Heathcliff and Heathciff sends Lockwood to his own room and stays the night in Catherine’s.

The following day Lockwood is escorted back to Thrushcross Grange and asks the housekeeper, Nelly Dean, about the story of Wuthering Heights.

Nelly tells lockwood how Heathcliff came to live at Wuthering Heights. He was adopted by Mr. Earnshaw when he found Heathcliff as a homeless boy. Earnshaw’s son, Hindley, feels that Heatcliff has replaced him in his father’s affections and becomes jealous and mean. Heathcliff and Catherine, Earnshaw’s daughter, become friends and grow closer to each other.

When Earnshaw dies, Hindley becomes master of Wuthering Heights and Heathcliff is allowed to stay as a servant. Catherine comes into contact with the Lintons and is impressed by their fine lifestyle. After a stay there, she returns to Wuthering Heights and is scornful of Heathcliff’s appearance. He tries to rise to her standards but it leads to an argument between Heathcliff and Edgar Linton. Heathcliff swears revenge on Hindley when he is locked away in the attic.

Hindley becomes an alcoholic after his wife dies during childbirth. Catherine and Edgar Linton become friends and she distances herself from Heathcliff. Edgar and Catherine become engaged, even though Catherine admits to Nelly that she loves Heathcliff but can’t marry him because of his low social status. Heathcliff overhears the conversation and disappears. Catherine deliberately makes herself sick because he went away and Nelly and Edgar starts doing everything she wants just to keep her alive.

Heathcliff returns as a wealthy gentleman and marries Edgar’s sister, Isabella, out of spite. Catherine starts making herself sick again out of jealousy. Hindley is still on his downward spiral and Heathcliff soon gains control over Wuthering Heights. After returning from his elopement with Isabella, he learns that Catherine is ill and visits her with Nelly’s help. Catherine dies soon after giving birth to a daughter Cathy.

Isabella leaves Heathcliff and takes residence in the south of England. She gives birth to their son and names him Linton. Hindley dies soon after Catherine and Heathcliff becomes master of wuthering heights.

Years pass and Cathy becomes a beautiful girl. When Edgar leaves to fetch Linton because Isabella is dying, Cathy learns that she has Hareton and Linton as cousins. Linton lives at Wuthering Heights with his absent father. Much like Catherine and Heathcliff, Linton and Cathy become friends.

Edgar becomes ill and Heathcliff tries to prevent Cathy from seeing her dying father. Linton helps Cathy escape and she is in time to see him before he passes. Cathy starts to live with Heathcliff and Hareton because Heathcliff is forcing her to, and even though Hareton tries to be kind Cathy is withdrawn in her own world.

Nelly tells Lockwood that that is the story that is up to date until he arrived. Lockwood leaves.

Months later, Lockwood returns. Nelly explains that Hareton had since become crippled and that he and Cathy had grown closer and plan to marry. Heathcliff died of starvation when he confined himself to Catherine’s room claiming he was having visions of her. He was buried next to Catherine.

Rating: 6.5/10

Like I said, I found this book extremely depressing. It is excellently written and deserves to be a classic, but it really wasn’t for me. Catherine and Heathcliff had no redeeming qualities. Even though they could love, it was jealous and selfish obsession. They were both lowly human beings and I found no sympathy to either of them. I felt sympathy to Edgar, Cathy, Hareton and Nelly – the people who had to exist around such unlovable creatures.

I saw that there is a film adaption with Ralph Fiennes. I think he would make an excellent Heathcliff and will definitely explore that movie soon!

And PS: If Hareton married Cathy, wasn’t he marrying his cousin?

 

3 thoughts on “Book Review: Wuthering Heights (Emily Brontë)

  1. Pingback: Thoughts 3.1 | Life of this city girl

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