Note: Turns out once again, my blog did not post last week, the one who preaches tech support ironically has the most difficulty getting a blog posted. anyways, happy Christmas.
I always thought that I could not possibly dislike a book more than The Catcher in the Rye. However my tendency to be wrong about things is as certain as sunrise. Then I learned that Emily Bronte proved me to be a fool about a few days ago. At least appreciated I Catcher, I understood the book and empathized with it greatly, relating to Holden’s struggles and thoughts. Wuthering Heights, however, left me such an impression that I refuse to call it even that anymore. No. You shall hear me call it Bothering Heights, the reason being that the book had bothered me so much that I physically could not spend more than a half hour on it and give myself a break, and I never relax. I do not yet appreciate this book. This lack of appreciation for this book, on my part upsets me though; I do not think that I have the right opinion about it. Truth be told I don’t understand Wuthering Heights. I’ve heard of this book long before I read it, when I was about seven years old, and my mother was telling me that she had first read it and fell in love with it at my age. Since then every discussion I have with my mother regarding a book, or English literature in general, has always boiled down into her talking about Wuthering Heights, and just how amazing it is, and sometimes she dare say that it was better than some of Shakespeare’s work.
I do not share this opinion.
My criticism of the book begins with the story itself; no it is not a love story, at least not one anyone would expect, it is an obsession story. The word ‘love’ is greatly misunderstood in in this story, the certain characters claim they love others; however their actions would beg to differ. Rather the word ‘obsession’ fits the story much better. Heathcliff is said to be in love with Catherine and vice-versa, however their relationship is unlike any, many readers have experienced in either their own lives, or the lives of characters in stories they’ve read. Most love stories have let the relationships between lovers develop on an intimate level where plot progression and character development happen on a significant level, such as Macbeth’s relationship with his wife. Heathcliff and Catherine do not get a happy ending, which is typical in certain love stories; however, their story’s pitiful ending is a result of both their immaturity and the fact that they were not able to live true to themselves. The concept of love is greatly misunderstood in Wuthering Heights, though I’m no expert, I’m entirely certain that that the story is more of an ‘obsession’ story rather than a ‘love’ story. Heathcliff’s obsession with Catherine and Catherine’s obsession with herself are what causes their love to generally be as cute as the reality of Donald Trump being a US president. Heathcliff’s obsession with Catherine causes him to live a miserable life of a man who is not satisfied with anything; he consistently works towards fruitless goals, always achieving them, only to sink deeper into misery every time he acts to restore his happiness. It is almost like a cruel truth of fate, that he can have anything that he works for, but will never have the one thing that he desires the most; Catherine. The result of his useless strife is seen in his rather cruel demeanor. Catherine’s obsession with herself causes her to always drift towards the course of action that best benefits her; though this may sound reasonable, it isn’t. Her selfishness causes her to forsake Heathcliff, the man she supposedly loves, for Edgar because he has more materialistic things to offer; he will make her rise up in the social status. Though both routes in her life held merit, the one she chose had an unpleasant outcome. Catherine’s actions may indicate that she did not love Heathcliff or Edgar; by choosing the wealthier man, and the man with a better position in the social hierarchy she shows readers that she loves money and status. A true love story should allow characters to grow and develop with each other in a cohesive manner; where intimate development ties in within the progression of the plot itself, and makes for a beautiful story, even if tragedy is the final outcome.
Of course understanding the story itself is another issue, understanding who’s actually telling the story is the primary concern. While reading the book I could not understand who was narrating, was it Lockwood? Nelly? The author? The issue with the book here, or at least my copy, is that the quotation marks at certain essential points are missing; there is a lack of italics when characters read out letters or texts, and dialogue exchange is also confusing. Of course this was also the same case with Frankenstein; each narrator had their own section of the book to present; however, in Frankenstein each narrator had read their own section with their own voice, it was easy to identify the narrator by looking at the perspective the story was being told, whom it was being told to, and the tone the narrator chosen to present his part of the tale. I did not see this in Wuthering Heights. The only time I knew who was speaking for sure was whenever Joseph had something to say, and that is only due to his broken English.
Though one thing is to admire about the book is Emily Bronte’s use of symbols, the entire book is filled with symbols used to convey the tone and mood the story undertakes, even the setting itself serves as a symbol. It is the first thing I appreciate about Wuthering Heights. Looking at the symbols and analyzing them had made reading the book that much more tolerable and interesting, as well as insightful; that I respect. Though I do greatly dislike Wuthering Heights, more so than Catcher, I know that I will likely read it again, as I probably do have the wrong opinion about it. It was interesting to read a book that typically doesn’t suit my taste, as I’m more into adventure, mystery, psychological, schemes, and fiction. I still do not understand Wuthering Heights, or why it still wins over the praise of readers even today, however I intend to find out some other day.