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Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Thoughts Upon Wuthering Heights

Dear friends,

First thing first - let's get this clear for all those who never read the book but rather watched the beautiful movies! - in the book, Catherine is 15 when Heathcliff runs away and just 18 when she dies. Even the youngest of the actresses is five years older and the oldest is more than twice the age! So it is safe to say that what we read is never what we see on the big screen ;) And how proper would it be to watch 2 underaged children in love?! True, back then if you were 25 and not married you would be considered a spinster! (and that you would either die alone or you would go mad, surrounded by cats...). Considering that this was the first book of Emily Bronte I must admit that she deserves a round of applause that would never end! It is a book of great darkness and power. It is a book about true love, sould mates and twisted paths in life, of love beyond borders, of love surpassing death! If you ever lay hands upon this book and start reading it, it is impossible not to want to finish it as fast as you can - time flies by and you are at the end of it, crying your eyes out and feeling heartbroken...
 'This is nothing,' cried she: 'I was only going to say that heaven did not seem to be my home; and I broke my heart with weeping to come back to earth; and the angels were so angry that they flung me out into the middle of the heath on the top of Wuthering Heights; where I woke sobbing for joy. That will do to explain my secret, as well as the other. I've no more business to marry Edgar Linton than I have to be in heaven; and if the wicked man in there had not brought Heathcliff so low, I shouldn't have thought of it. It would degrade me to marry Heathcliff now; so he shall never know how I love him: and that, not because he's handsome, Nelly, but because he's more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same; and Linton's is as different as a moonbeam from lightning, or frost from fire.'

Wuthering Heights brings you through different emotions as you go: you will be shocked, disgusted, almost sickened by details of cruelty, inhumanity, and the most diabolical hate and vengeance, and anon come passages of powerful testimony to the supreme power of love—even over demons in the human form. The strong bond and love between Heathcliff & Catherine is impossible not to break you through by the end of the novel. Nelly - the housekeeper, or Ellen - is the narator that sheds light into their relationship and she objectively lays everything out in the open - their torments, their sorrows and their slight moment of joy. Both Heathcliff & Catherine are flawed characters - and I love flawed characters as they feel much more human, mor relatable! - and they are prepared to face Hell and be together rather than go to Heaven alone.
'I think that's the worst motive you've given yet for being the wife of young Linton.'
'It is not,' retorted she; 'it is the best! The others were the satisfaction of my whims: and for Edgar's sake, too, to satisfy him. This is for the sake of one who comprehends in his person my feelings to Edgar and myself. 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 in 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 universe would turn to a mighty stranger: I should not seem a part of it.—My love for Linton is like the foliage in the woods: time will change it, I'm well aware, as winter changes the trees. My love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath: a source of little visible delight, but necessary. Nelly, I am Heathcliff! He's always, always in my mind: not as a pleasure, any more than I am always a pleasure to myself, but as my own being. So don't talk of our separation again: it is impracticable; and—'
Wuthering Heights can be considered as violent even after todays standards. It talks of demons, imps of Satan, and ghouls, but also depicts some pretty disturbing scenes of domestic violence. The supernatural plays a large part: ghosts appear, and Heathcliff, characterized more than once as a vampire, refers to drinking blood, haunting, and all manner of paranormal acts. Let's also not mention Catherine coming back as a ghost to torment Heathcliff. Wuthering Heights is a wild and passionate book, not proper for the weak hearted. It lunges into a passionate exploration of love and its destructive path and manifestations. It shows us what jealousy can do to a couple - even a couple who is madly in love with eachother, even to soul mates. It makes you somehow think of the other couple of "star-cross'd lovers"- Romeo & Juliet.
'May she wake in torment!' he cried, with frightful vehemence, stamping his foot, and groaning in a sudden paroxysm of ungovernable passion. 'Why, she's a liar to the end! Where is she? Not there—not in heaven—not perished—where? Oh! you said you cared nothing for my sufferings! And I pray one prayer—I repeat it till my tongue stiffens—Catherine Earnshaw, may you not rest as long as I am living; you said I killed you—haunt me, then! The murdered do haunt their murderers, I believe. I know that ghosts have wandered on earth. Be with me always—take any form—drive me mad! only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you! Oh, God! it is unutterable! I cannot live without my life! I cannot live without my soul!'
***
Wuthering Heights, A Novel by Ellis Bell, was published by Thomas Newby in December 1847, three months after Jane Eyre. Several reviewers, impressed by the force of the book, believed it had been written by a man. After her sister's death, Charlotte Brontë edited a revised second edition, the text that is generally followed today. A letter from Newby does survive which seems to suggest that Emily Brontë had begun to write a second novel, though the manuscript has never been found. If she had started a second novel, she was prevented by consumption from completing it. She died the same year in which Wuthering Heights was published, aged 30.

** I made this short review out of  love for this wonderful masterpiece. Please do yourself a great favor and read the book ;) It is sad and your heart will break - several times - but it will enrich you! The movies - any of them! - don't even come close to the book! Though I do have my fav adaptation and maybe I shall speak of it one day... **

Yours truly,
A Fan Of The Bronte Sisters