Wuthering Heights ★★★★★

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Title: Wuthering Heights
Series: ———-
Author: Emily Bronte
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Classic
Pages: 339
Words: 119.5K


From Wikipedia

In 1801, Lockwood, the new tenant at Thrushcross Grange in Yorkshire, pays a visit to his landlord, Heathcliff, at his remote moorland farmhouse, Wuthering Heights. There he meets a reserved young woman (later identified as Cathy Linton); Joseph, a cantankerous servant; and Hareton, an uneducated young man who speaks like a servant. Everyone is sullen and inhospitable. Snowed in for the night, he reads some diary entries of a former inhabitant of his room, Catherine Earnshaw, and has a nightmare in which a ghostly Catherine begs to enter through the window. Woken by Lockwood, Heathcliff is troubled.

Lockwood’s housekeeper Ellen (Nelly) Dean tells him the story of the strange family.

Thirty years earlier, the Earnshaws live at Wuthering Heights with their children, Hindley and Catherine, and a servant — Nelly herself. Returning from a trip to Liverpool, Earnshaw brings a young orphan whom he names Heathcliff and treats as his favourite. His own children he neglects, especially after his wife dies. Hindley beats Heathcliff, who gradually becomes close friends with Catherine.

Hindley departs for university, returning as the new master of Wuthering Heights on the death of his father three years later. He and his new wife Frances allow Heathcliff to stay, but only as a servant.

Heathcliff and Catherine spy on Edgar Linton and his sister Isabella, children who live nearby at Thrushcross Grange. Catherine is attacked by their dog, and the Lintons take her in, sending Heathcliff home. When the Lintons visit, Hindley and Edgar make fun of Heathcliff and a fight ensues. Heathcliff is locked in the attic and vows revenge.

Frances dies after giving birth to a son, Hareton. Two years later, Catherine becomes engaged to Edgar. She confesses to Nelly that she still loves Heathcliff, and will try to help but cannot marry him because of his low social status. Nelly warns her against the plan. Heathcliff overhears part of the conversation and, misunderstanding Catherine’s heart, flees the household. Catherine falls ill, distraught.

Edgar and Catherine marry, and three years later Heathcliff unexpectedly returns — now a wealthy gentleman. He encourages Isabella’s infatuation with him as a means of revenge on Catherine. Enraged by Heathcliff’s constant presence, Edgar cuts off contact. Catherine responds by locking herself in her room and refusing food; pregnant with Edgar’s child, she never fully recovers. At Wuthering Heights Heathcliff gambles with Hindley who mortgages the property to him to pay his debts. Heathcliff elopes with Isabella, but the relationship fails and they soon return.

When Heathcliff discovers that Catherine is dying, he visits her in secret. She dies shortly after giving birth to a daughter, Cathy, and Heathcliff rages, calling on her ghost to haunt him for as long as he lives. Isabella flees south where she gives birth to Heathcliff’s son, Linton. Hindley dies six months later, leaving Heathcliff as master of Wuthering Heights.

Twelve years later, Isabella is dying and the still-sickly Linton is brought back to live with his uncle Edgar at the Grange, but Heathcliff insists that his son must instead live with him. Cathy and Linton (respectively at the Grange and Wuthering Heights) gradually develop a relationship. Heathcliff schemes to ensure that they marry, and on Edgar’s death demands that the couple move in with him. He becomes increasingly wild, and reveals that on the night Catherine died he dug up her grave, and ever since has been plagued by her ghost. When Linton dies, Cathy has no option but to remain at Wuthering Heights.

Having reached the present day, Nelly’s tale concludes.

Lockwood grows tired of the moors and moves away. Eight months later he sees Nelly again and she reports that Cathy has been teaching the still-uneducated Hareton to read. Heathcliff was seeing visions of the dead Catherine; he avoided the young people, saying that he could not bear to see Catherine’s eyes, which they both shared, looking at him. He had stopped eating, and some days later was found dead in Catherine’s old room.

In the present, Lockwood learns that Cathy and Hareton plan to marry and move to the Grange. Joseph is left to take care of the declining Wuthering Heights. Nelly says that the locals have seen the ghosts of Catherine and Heathcliff wandering abroad together, and hopes they are at peace.

My Thoughts:

I enjoyed almost every page of this book even while I hated and despised almost every character in it. I think it takes some serious skill on Miss Bronte’s part to have done such a thing.

I did find the plethora of characters to be a tad bit confusing, especially when different people had the same name and might, or might not be, related. It also didn’t help that outside of Heathcliff and one or two others, everyone was cowardly, spiteful, selfish, venal and despicable. Remove cowardly and add brutal for Heathcliff.

I think a lot of why none of that got me down was that it was portrayed for what it was, ie, bad. Heathcliff and Catherine are not portrayed as lovers torn apart by fate yet destined for each other. Only someone who is insane, or a teenager filled with enough hormones to fill the sun, but I think the two are pretty close, could ever make that mistake. Everyone’s bad decisions has consequences, not just for themselves but for everybody else around them.

Heathcliff uses his brutish strength and behavior to get what he wants while people like Edgar Linton allow him his way through their cowardice. Edgar has guns, he has weapons, but he’s simply afraid to use them. Thus Heathcliff triumphs in terms of getting what he wants. Yet even he pays the price. His body gives out from such willful use. Yet through it all, I never even once was given the sense that the author thought this was the way it “should” be. Yes, it was the way it was, but it wasn’t the way it should have been. Too many authors portray vile acts and character defects as things to be praised, as good instead of the filthy evil that they are. I also enjoyed how Bronte shows that people can change and that out of even horrible circumstances love and growth can occur.

I guess that is all I have to say. This was not a long book, nor a complicated one. If you wanted to dip your toes into the Bronte sisters’ writings, I’d definitely recommend this one.


33 thoughts on “Wuthering Heights ★★★★★

    1. I’m sure it would “feel” like a long book too. I read it at lunch times at work, so I just read a little here, a little there. I don’t know what I would have thought of this if I’d read it all in one go. Probably not quite so enamoured…

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Oh, it definitely was not a portrayal of an ideal. More of a cautionary tale, I guess. I certainly understood why it is such a milestone. (Even tho I did not love the book.)
    I’m really glad you liked it.
    However, this is one book that should come with a diagram of who relates to whom and how. I don’t think a mere family tree would suffice. I would have liked to see a diagram using three dimensions.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “I did find the plethora of characters to be a tad bit confusing” Honestly I’m not a fan of books that do this, but then again since I started with the Horus Heresy and each back introducing over a gazillion characters with ever more colourful names I guess I got over that 😂
    Have to say it’s one of those books that I of course heard a lot about, but have never read. I know…it’s horrible….🙈🙈

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If you didn’t grow up in an english speaking country, with an english program at school, not having read certain books just doesn’t have the same issue. And honestly, I think some books have to be read when one is older to really appreciate them.
      So you won’t get any stones cast from my direction about not having read this 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Phew, I’m very glad to hear that! 😅😅 Was getting worried there.
        That’s true though…I think the only what one might consider “heavy” English book I had to read for school was Gulliver’s Travels. And I picked that one myself!😀

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I listened to this one on my commute a number of years ago. When I finished it, I told my wife, “I can see why this is called a classic. It truly is wonderfully written. And I will never read it again.” Your review doesn’t change my opinions 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I must say that you managed to surprise me. Shock me, in fact. WH is high drama but I can’t really respect it as a classic. Given the age of the authoress and her limited exposure to society, I can forgive her though and suspect she would have eventually become a great writer if she hadn’t died so young. I place it in the Gothic romance category. I think I didn’t care for it because I read it expecting it to be a classic. If I could have read it without that expectation, I would have really enjoyed it. Glad you did!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Obviously you don’t know a classic when it bludgeons you over the head 😉
      Kind of like Heathcliff, hahahahaa.

      It wouldn’t surprise me if I never read this again and let this time be the highight. So far, Villette has been my favorite Bronte story. I need to try some by the 3rd sister but have never quite managed. Some day 😀

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Villette just seemed like the main character overcame more and had less of a fairytale’ish ending than Eyre.

          I never noticed anything like what you mention, but I also tend not to read as deeply either.

          So are you back or is this just an interlude between lulls?

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I’m really trying to be back. But I have lots of health issues with people around me and I’m trying to help out. It leaves such little time for reading. Plus my course, which I’m doing very well in but I’m not sure I’m going to finish in time and may have to take again. Argh! In any case, such is life. Hope you’re doing well!

            Liked by 1 person

  5. Huh, yours is the first such glowing review I’ve read of this book 😉 I feel more comfortable to give it a chance now, though I can see it not becoming my favorite anyway 😂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Really? You obviously haven’t hung out with some serious Bronte fans. I always thought Jane Eyre was my favorite, but once I re-read Villette, that became my favorite Bronte book.

      This definitely the odd spot of being something I’d normally tear into. It was even weird for me 😀

      Liked by 1 person

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