Sunday, August 5, 2012

Book Review: Wuthering Heights

This is my first book review- I enjoyed doing it more than I thought I would. Until recently, I thought all book reviews were was a summary and an opinion. I did some looking around and realized that that is no longer the case. This one runs long and I do apologize, and it has spoilers in it. 

"Lonely, like the devil, and envious like him? Nobody loves you-nobody will cry for you when you die!"

This quote made by Catherine Heathcliff to Heathcliff himself sums up the whole of the book.
Emily Bronte creates a intimately painful narrative that follows the finding of the boy Heathcliff and his effect on the innocents that make is adoptive family. 
    Upon Catherine's death I had her listed as devious as Heathcliff and felt no sympathy for her, upon reflection however, I've changed my mind. She was so conflicted between two loves that it killed her. She really did love Edgar (who, in my opinion, was the purest of characters in this story) but she also love Heathcliff equally as much and could not choose between the two.

"Be with me always - take any form - drive me mad! only DO not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you!"
Heathcliff's statement upon learning that Catherine was dead sums up the deepness of his true feelings for her. I believe that her ghost did drive him mad and his actions after her death was him trying to quell that madness.

Catherine's daughter was as equally tormented as her mother but in a different way- she loved Linton because she felt someone aught to, and he needed her. After being forced into marrying Linton and seeing his true character she suffered an illness similar to her mother's-feeling trapped and not knowing what to do. The only thing that kept this Catherine alive was the hope of seeing her father again.
At this point I honestly had a hard time continuing with this book. I knew by the narrator Lockwood's account that Catherine stayed trapped and miserable at Wuthering Heights. I was afraid this would be how the book ended.

I want to take a moment to talk about the narrators - Nelly Dean and Mr. Lockwood. Nelly was my favorite, I loved that she always strove stand by her moral code and no one, including Heathcliff could change her mind.
Mr. Lockwood struck me as foolish. He met Catherine at her worst, was told how foolish she had been and fell in love with the idea of her. Despite that he was still endearing for his outside observations.

I was surprise at the positive turn at the end. I was glad the Hareton finally got his moment to shine. To me, one of the most despairing parts in the book was when Nelly had to leave the five-year-old Hareton with Heathcliff knowing no good would come to him. She held out for him till the end, knowing of his quick mind and good heart. No matter what Heathcliff had done to him to turn him into a swearing brute Catherine eventually brought out the best in him. Catherine of course, had to learn how to swallow her pride. (which at that point in the book was starting to drive me a little crazy) Geez-you live in the middle of no where and everyone you used to talk to is dead, maybe lower you standards, Catherine?
She eventually did and realized that Hareton had the best heart of all of them.
Heathcliff's end puzzled me. Honestly, I would have rather him been murdered by someone he tormented, or Nelly attack him out of protectiveness for Catherine, but he end suited him better.
He realized that his life of revenge didn't satisfy him after 20 years of it and he lost his will to live and simply wasted away.
The imagery in the last scene of the book 099 perfect. Heathcliff and Edgar's graves with Catherine's in between- with Lockwood's finally statement-
"I lingered round them, under that benign sky: watched the moths fluttering among the heaths and harebells, listened to the soft wind breathing through the grass, and wondered how any one could ever imagine unquiet slumbers for the sleepers in that quiet earth."

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