A classic romance: Wuthering Heights

wuthering-heightsThis wasn’t listed in our reading assignments in high school, and the first time I learned that such a book exists was while I was reading Eclipse, the Twilight Saga’s second installment. I think that was five or six years ago. If you’ve read it, you’ll recall that this was Bella Swan’s favorite book. She identified herself with Cathy, and Edward, Heathcliff.

Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights was also referenced in some of the many books that I’ve read after Twilight so I just felt that this would be a good one.

The Story:

The book tells a story of a love that has affected generations, as narrated by a new tenant named Mr. Lockwood, and a loyal servant named Nelly Dean.

It started when Mr. Earnshaw found Heathcliff, an orphan, on the streets of Liverpool. Out of compassion, he took the child with him to Wuthering Heights, where he lived with his two children–Hindley and Catherine. As they grew older, Catherine became very attached with Heathcliff and he returned her affections, while Hindley, the elder, despised and bullied him.

After Mr. Earnshaw died, Heathcliff left Wuthering Heights thinking that Catherine didn’t love him enough to marry him, because he was lacking in so many things, especially when compared with Edgar Linton, who was Catherine’s suitor from Thrushcross Grange.

No one knew how he managed it, but Heathcliff returned as a very successful man. Catherine, however, was already married to Edgar Linton, though her heart still belonged to him. In revenge, Heathcliff tormented Catherine’s husband by winning the affections and eloping with his sister, Isabella Linton. Catherine, out of depression, lost her life, but not before giving birth to a lovely child who was also named Catherine, or Cathy, as Edgar would call her.

When Isabella realized that Heathcliff only used her for revenge, she left Heathcliff, and raised her son, Linton Heathcliff, on her own. But when Isabella died, Edgar was not able to save his nephew from the hands of his father.

Upon the death of Hindley Earnshaw, Heathcliff became the master of everything in Wuthering Heights, that even Hindley’s son, Hareton Earnshaw, was decreased into a servant.

In his unquenchable thirst for revenge against Edgar, Heathcliff manipulatively plotted the marriage of young Cathy Linton and his son. Cathy, being naive, spirited, and kind-hearted, easily fell in love with Linton. Out of fear, agreed to help his father deceive Cathy into marrying him.

Soon, Edgar Linton died, and Cathy was left miserably in the hands of Heathcliff and her unloving husband in Wuthering Heights. Eventually, Linton also left her.

Hareton Earnshaw has beenn trying to win Cathy’s attention since they first met. However, because was just a servant in Wuthering Heights, Cathy could not consider him even as a cousin. He tried his best to study on his own and be better to win her attention, but Cathy only shamed him and found him laughable. However, as Cathy grew familiar with his constant presence in Wuthering Heights, she soon found herself attracted to him.

The story ended with Cathy and Hareton’s engagement, and the death of Heathcliff, whose conscience won over, at the very end.

My Rating: 5 stars

It took me 8 days to finish this because I found it hard adjusting to all those classic English words. But otherwise, I enjoyed the story. Many have given this book a bad rating because the main character (Heathcliff, and even Catherine) was very evil and manipulative. Though that could be true, I liked this book because of the way it ended. For me, letting Cathy end up with Hareton was enough to compensate for all the bad things Heathcliff has done. (And because I’ve been rooting for Hareton all along.) Emily Bronte also tried to give light to the story through the way Heathcliff died. I don’t know how others would interpret it, but for me, starving himself for four days is Heathcliff’s way of paying for his crimes.

No matter how cruel and dark we think we are, our souls will always be searching for the light.

My favorite lines:

“If all else perished, and he remained, I should still continue to be; and if all else remained, and he were annihilated, the universe would turn to a might stranger: I should not seem part of it.” – Catherine Earnshaw   

“I gave him my heart, and he took it and pinched it to death, and flung it back to me. People feel with their hearts…and since he has destroyed mine, I have not power to feel for him.” – Isabella Linton

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