Sunday, January 13, 2013

Book Review :: Wuthering Heights

Wuthering HeightsWuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

"Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same."
Thank goodness I overcame my prejudice and read this book!

Wuthering Heights... The title is derived from an expressive Yorkshire term for 'storm-swept'. True to the title is the story of the book. The story narrated by Ellen Dean (the faithful servant) to Mr. Lockwood (an unnecessary character in the book), stretches over two generations residing at Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange. At its heart it has a melancholy theme involving the love of Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff.

There are two parts in the story.

Part 1: A passionate, thrilling romance there is, between Heathcliff and Catherine that blossoms from their budding ages, ripens with their ripening and does not wither even after their deaths. Yet there is trouble and sadness from the beginning in their lives, for Heathcliff is held inferior to Catherine in her brother's eyes. Circumstances force Catherine to marry Edgar Linton; setting Heathcliff and Edgar on enemy terms. Thence starts the dark tale with brutal happenings involving Heathcliff, Cathy, Edgar and Isabella (Edgar's sister) taking Catherine to death.
"Incomparably beyond, and above us all! Whether still on earth or now in heaven, her spirit is at home with God!"
-Ellen Dean on Catherine Earnshaw's death
Part 2: The second part of the story is comparatively cheerful than the first. Catherine Earnshaw dies leaving behind her daughter Catherine Linton. A cheerful lass that she is; she sets the theme of the book for a few hours on the brighter side. Until she meets Heathcliff, who having sworn to get his revenge on Cathy's brother, uses Catherine Linton and his own son Linton Heathcliff (Isabella is the mother) to strike with success. However, as time passes on in spite of having gotten his revenge he isn't at peace until he meets Catherine Earnshaw in his death.
"I believe the dead are at peace, but it is not right to speak of them with levity."
-Ellen Dean on Heathcliff's death
I remember to have declared, 'Ladies and gentlemen! Emily Bronte can write!', after reading a mere 5 pages of the book. Although there are shades of 'victorian rant' in the book. However, they are very very less in comparison to the story that makes the book ever more readable.

Emily Bronte has displayed wonderful, rich and dense literary skills in her only novel. Wuthering Heights is one of the quintessential novels in history. Her portrayal of an anti-hero (Heathcliff) as the protagonist, who loves selfishly and brutally, depicts a reality which many authors shun from. No, I do not like his character for what it is, albeit I do like it for why he is. On the same lines is Catherine Earnshaw, a completely strong headed, crazy girl whose death leaves behind her, her love to haunt us all.
"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."
-Catherine
I could detect shades of thrill and spook in the story at its initial stages. It ending on those notes proves Bronte's ability to make the reader comprehend what she thought. I've read this only just once. And I'm sure to re-read it number of times in the years to come.

Certainly qualifies as a must read!

View all my reviews