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Friday, 26 August 2011

Wuthering Heights

If I could sum up my reactions to this book in a few short sentences: Fantastic but disturbing story line. Absolutely hateful and self-absorbed characters. We can relate to them, but their actions are despicable. Inevitably makes you think of "what ifs", which annoys me.

This is the ONLY book I've read whose main characters I hate, yet after I'm done, all that I could think about was: dammit, it's a good book!

Irony at its peak, I tell you.

Right now, I'm completely convinced that 2 people who have the following characteristics should never be together:

Thinks lust = love

Because Heathcliff AND Catherine are all of the above, and look what happened to them. Their relationship had no compromise, no understanding, no care nor affection; only lust and desire. Heathcliff didn't want Cathy to marry Linton because he wanted her to himself, Cathy loved Heathcliff but married Linton anyway because she would be better off (financially and socially), and Linton could provide her with comfort, at the very least - which Heathcliff couldn't. Catherine caused constant pain to the 2 men who loved her; and Heathcliff sought revenge by attempting to destroy lives of the next generation (Linton Heathcliff, Catherine Linton and Hareton Earnshaw).

The other "Heathcliff-Catherine-like" characters in the book:

Hindley Earnshaw
Racist, selfish and barking mad. Hindley always hated Heathcliff, and treated Heathcliff like a servant after Mr Earnshaw passed away. Shortly after his wife death - who, by the way, was the only person who ever loved him - he went mad and completely disregarded his son (Hareton). As a result, Heathcliff managed to trick Hindley into changing his will and leave Wuthering Heights to Heathcliff instead of Hareton.

Frances Earnshaw
Hindley's rather silly and snobbish wife. Passed away giving birth to Hareton. She also hated Heathcliff, and backed her husband in whatever he said/did.

The most annoying character in the book. He speaks with a country accent, so it takes some time to decipher the actual words. Eg: Yer sta' aweh frum meh! A' hav nuthin' ter do wi'yeh! (You stay away from me! I have nothing to do with you!). Has no compassion for anything apart from his garden.

Linton Heathcliff
Weak, pitiful, demanding and selfish. He is Heathcliff and Isabella Linton's son, and is exactly like Heathcliff without health. Spoiled and ignorant, Heathcliff uses Linton to secure Thrushcross Grange by forcing Catherine (Cathy and Edgar Linton's daughter) to marry Linton.

Characters with redeeming qualities:

Nelly Dean
The main narrator in the book. She watched Heathcliff, Cathy and Hindley grow up; took care of Hareton in his toddler days; and practically raised Catherine Linton. Very compassionate, caring and responsible.

Mr. Earnshaw
Brought Heathcliff into his home and treated him fairly and kindly. Unfortunately, he died when Cathy and Heathcliff were approaching their teens.

Catherine Linton
Very much like her mother in spirit, but with more sense and is less selfish (due to her father's influence, I believe). She and Linton Heathcliff had a brief spell of puppy love, but after the latter died, and Heathcliff commits suicide, she ends up with Hareton Earnshaw.

Hareton Earnshaw
Due to his father's neglect, he was in Joseph's constant company, which explains his (rather) vulgar language and surly countenance. However, he has an interest in learning, and attempts to read to impress Catherine Linton. It failed the first time - and he was reluctant to start again when Catherine offered to teach him - but eventually they put aside their differences and provided the badly needed happy ending.

You can watch the movie adaptation on YouTube. I highly recommend the Ralph Fiennes one.


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