Sunday, March 28, 2010

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

I get so wrapped up in keeping up with the newest, latest, greatest YA books, that I often neglect the classics.  I read lots of them in my college English classes, and I know the ones I teach often (Hamlet, Frankenstein, etc...) very well, but I only get through one or two "classics" a year.  I want to do more of this reading, so while my student teacher organized literature circles for my students, I decided to read Wuthering Heights along with one of the groups.

I loved this book.  It made me happy; it made me sad; it annoyed me; it made me want to holler at people; it made me smile.  I read Jane Eyre last summer and liked it a lot, but Wuthering Heights moves far beyond Jane Eyre as my favorite right now.

There's so much story in the book, but it all starts when Mr. Lockwood moves in to Thrushcross and visits his landlord, Mr. Heathcliff.  Heathcliff is a weird dude, and Lockwood, who isn't the most sociable guy in the world, feels like he's outgoing and nice compared to Heathcliff.  Lockwood visits once and then again and gets stuck at Wuthering Heights before he can make it home.  He spends the night in a room that he really isn't supposed to be in and encounters the ghost of a young girl at the window.  He's completely freaked out and what's more is that Heathcliff rushes in at the disturbance screaming:

"Come in, come in!...Cathy, do come.  Oh, do--once more!  Oh! my heart's darling, hear me this time, Catherine, at last!"

Amazed by this outburst, Lockwood gets the whole story out of his housekeeper, Nelly Dean.  You just love Nelly to death by the end of this book, as she is your eyes and ears into this story, this world.  Nelly has been working for the family for years and she tells Lockwood every exciting, terrifying, lovely bit of the story.

It all began when Old Earnshaw who had two children, Hindley and Catherine went away to Liverpool and came back with a new little rough-looking, black-haired, wild child with him.  You may expect a give when your father goes out of town and returns, but certainly not a new little brother, and a wild, gypsy seeming child at that.  Hindley doesn't like the new little one, Heathcliff, and Catherine doesn't care for him at first either.  But time goes on, and life steps in.  Hindley leaves, and Catherine and Heathcliff become best of friends.  Old Earnshaw dies, Hindley comes back and treats Heathcliff badly.  Catherine likes Heathcliff, but can't marry him because he's "lower" than her...but she really does want him.  Heathcliff hearts Catherine say something about this and leaves and disappears....and it all gets going from here.

This book has so much love and so much hate that it seems impossible sometimes.  The story spans generations and turns and twists all the time.  I was always wondering what was going to happen, who would be together, why the characters just couldn't be honest with each other.

I was completely happy and satisfied with this book, and it is one that I will read again and again definitely.  This is one classic you should pick up if you haven't already.

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