Classic Corner – Wuthering Heights

Name: Wuthering Heights

Author: Emily Bronte’

Date of Publication: 1847

Genre: Gothic

Upon deciding on writing my blog – an issue that kept crossing my mind was which book to start off with.  In the end the decision was helped somewhat by the comeback of the legendary singer Kate Bush and my renewed interest in her and the work which inspired her greatest hit, Wuthering Heights, meant this would be my first book review.

Here is the music video which inspired me to read and review this book.

Plot

Wuthering Heights begins halfway through the novel’s timeline with Mr. Lockwood travelling up to the Heights to visit his landlord as he recently rented out a property owned by him, Thrushcross Grange.

He is startled to meet a very cold, calculating man called Heathcliff who lives there with his daughter-in-law, Catherine, his nephew Hareton, who is treated like a servant and a servant called Joseph.

On a subsequent visit Mr. Lockwood is snowed in and the housekeeper lets him stay in a usually locked room. There he encounters a ghostly vision of a woman called Catherine. He screams and wakes Heathcliff up. Mr. Lockwood passes off the whole experience as a nightmare but Heathcliff is severely troubled by the event.

The next day Mr. Lockwood returns to Thrushcross Grange where he contracts a fever and is bed-ridden. He asks his housekeeper about Heathcliff and so begins the bitter, dark tale of Heathcliff and Wuthering Heights…

Dark and Gothic

The immediate tone of the novel is the one that runs throughout – dark, cold and noticeably Gothic with the Yorkshire Moors providing a beautiful yet eerie setting for the novel’s events and symbolizes the blossoming yet ultimately doomed love story in the novel between Heathcliff and his beloved Catherine.

Indeed, the beautiful setting serves as a backdrop for a very bitter story as all of the characters develop resentment to each other and ultimately plot one another’s downfalls. In particular Heathcliiff throughout much of the novel plans to avenge his tormentors and the slow revenge he takes cannot help but captivate you even though he is in some respects a repulsive character in the novel.

However the fact the characters are so bitter and calculating to one another is a blessing and a curse for the novel. All of the characters are involved in situations where you would question their morals and it can be difficult to find anybody in the novel as a single person to root for as the hero. However, the fact there isn’t one makes the book more ambiguous and asks you to question your own morality and in short makes the novel even more interesting.

Also another issue I did have is with the dialect. Though it does add realism to the novel in that the characters speak as though they have local Yorkshire accents rather than the Queen’s English, I did find myself pausing to reread these sections a few times to grasp what was being said – in particular whenever Joseph speaks in the novel which did break the flow for me in some respects. However, the fact I spent so long trying to decipher what was being said must have meant I was completely engrossed in the novel.

Verdict

Overall, Wuthering Heights is a classic novel not to be ignored and though there are minor gripes, with the dialect in particular, it is still a very enjoyable read.

If you get the chance to read the novel, I would love to hear your comments below.

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