Saturday, 6 September 2014

Wuthering Heights

Wuthering Heights
Emily Bronte
Oxford University Press, 1946, 419p

It's been a while since I read Wuthering Heights - the last time was when I was at school, and something about this summer has made me return to it. (Let's hope it's not a reflection of my love life.)

Wuthering Heights is the darkest of romances. Cathy and Heathcliff grow up together, roaming the moors of Yorkshire, driving their carers mad with their angry rages and rebellious natures. But their relationship changes when Cathy gets engaged to the rich, sophisticated Edgar, with whom she hopes she can maintain Heathcliff through her new connections. 

It is a classic case of a couple lacking in communication - neither Cathy nor Heathcliff tell the other of the strength of their love, until it is too late and both are ravaged with anger and heartbreak. 

But the story continues beyond the lives of these two characters -  Cathy has a daughter, also called Catherine, a feisty replica of her mother; and Heathcliff has a son, Linton, a sickly, delicate boy in whom his father can find no pride. But Heathcliff is determined that the union of these two youths will solve all his problem, bringing the families and estates together. 

It is hard to sympathise with any of the characters in this novel. It is narrated by Nelly, a servant at Wuthering Heights has watched all the events unfold; but even she arguably supports in the destruction of the characters in her meddling. 

And yet, you cannot stop reading, becoming engrossed in the devastation and tragedy of their lives, holding onto the slither of hope that it might be okay in the end. 

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