Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Wuthering Heights

the Teen edition, which I own, modeled after the Twilight Series covers
I just finished reading Wuthering Heights last night (and I don't recommend reading this book before bed as it's rather depressing and dark at times. I made it a rule to not read it at night, but the last part of the book is the least dark, in my opinion). I read it quite fast, to my surprise. I thought it might have taken me longer considering how difficult the first few chapters where for me to read, not to mention I've been reading books like Harry Potter and Twilight for the last few years and I've never even read Pride and Prejudice . 

Anyway, I was afraid, after getting halfway through the book, that I wasn't going to like the book. Most of the characters are completely evil, especially Heathcliff and Catherine, and on the whole, it's a pretty sad story. It's appalling how one person can ruin so many people's lives. I knew it would depend entirely on the ending, which it turns out, I did like. I do not see, in my own opinion of what makes a great love story, how in the world Heathcliff and Catherine can be considered on the of greatest love stories of all time. (I totally have to side with Edward on this issue lol). I'm sure it's been a wildly debated subject for as long as the book has been around (since 1847) and I'd be happy to hear the opinions of any of you who have read this book. I'm extremely curious as to how everyone else takes this book. I suppose I should join a book club lol. 

One thing I do have to say about reading stories set back in the 1800's is that it's mind blowing  how little power women and even men had back then, especially the lower classes. And I'm not just talking about power in the sense of owning land or being able to vote, but more important things such as being able to run their own lives they way they wanted, who they were to marry, and where they were to live. I can't even begin to comprehend what it would have been like to live in those times. Not to mention that I felt that the servants to these more well-to-do families seemed to have more power over the family's lives than people seemed to realize. I mean, the nanny in the story, Ellen, ended up twisting words and situations around from one person to the next however she thought it would best suit each person, especially if she felt personally protective over any of them, having a huge impact on how things played out in the story. Some things could have gone a completely different way had she not felt the need to meddle so much (but I suppose that's just me reading too much into the story, as I usually do, and the same can be said of mothers and other family members in times today about meddling). All I can say is that I'm glad times have changed. (That doesn't necessarily mean that I think times have changed on the whole for the better.)

On a note about Emily Bronte, I had no idea before reading this book that it was originally published under a pseudonym, Ellis Bell, and that Emily had two other sisters, Charlotte (author of Jane Eyre) and Anne (author of Agnes Grey), who were published. There were little facts at the back of the edition I have (above) about the book and Emily herself including the fact that Emily never wanted anyone to know she'd written Wuthering Heights and was furious at Charlotte for outing her to their publisher (all three sisters originally published their stories under pseudonyms: Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell). Interesting stuff.

I do recommend reading this book, regardless of how dark the story is. It's a classic and it's an experience I wouldn't recommend passing up.


OceanDreams said...

I haven't read this book but recently watched the most recent TV adaptation of it. I have to say it is so powerful and emotional! I have read the preface in the book and I am eager to read this classic. You are right though, the depressing aspect of it makes me think twice, but I think I want to read it otherwise.

Hope you are doing well! :)

Dia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dia said...

Oh, this book...While I read it it gave me a funny state. I was extremely angry all along. It is powerful, indeed. You should read Charlotte's and Anne's books as well. They are marvelous and not as agressive as Emily's, who had a more powerful and rebellious character. Anne's The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (there's also a BBC film that's quite good) and Charlotte's "Shirley", "The Professor" and, of course, "Jane Eyre". The Bronte sisters had a sad but interesting story. Their entire family was decimated by tuberculosis, starting with their mother and their two older sisters, then their brother, then Emily, Anne and finally Charlotte, while she was pregnant. I wonder sometimes why bright minds die so fast...

Oh, and I'm a bit insulted by the note on the cover mentioning the Twilight characters :)). As if without this reference, Emily's book wouldn't be interesting enough. It's been read for decades!

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