13. Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte.
History: Wuthering Heights is Emily Brontë's only novel. It was first published in 1847. Traditionally, this novel has been seen as a unique piece of work written by a woman confined to the lonesome heath, detached from the literary movements of the time.
Plot: The story of Heathcliff and Catherine is told by Nelly, a serving woman, to a renter, Lockwood. Heathcliff, a foundling living on the streets of Liverpool, was brought to Wuthering Heights by the then-owner, the kind Mr. Earnshaw, and raised as his own. Earnshaw's daughter Catherine becomes Heathcliff's inseparable friend. Her brother Hindley, however, resents Heathcliff, seeing him as an interloper and rival. When Mr. Earnshaw dies three years later, Hindley takes over the estate. He brutalizes Heathcliff, forcing him to work as a hired hand. Catherine becomes friends with a neighboring family and is especially attached to the refined and mild young Edgar Linton, whom Heathcliff instantly dislikes. A year later, Hindley's wife dies, shortly after giving birth to a son, Hareton. Hindley takes to drinking. Some two years after that, Catherine agrees to marry Edgar. Heathcliff storms out and leaves Wuthering Heights, not realizing that Catherine does love him. After realizing that Heathcliff has left her, Catherine becomes desperate and is struck down by a fever. Edgar's attentions slowly return Catherine back to health, and some years later she marries him. She lives in apparent happiness for a few months, until Heathcliff returns, intent on destroying those who prevent him from being with Catherine. He has, mysteriously, become very wealthy. Through loans Hindley cannot repay, Heathcliff takes ownership of Wuthering Heights. Intent on ruining Edgar, Heathcliff elopes with Edgar's sister Isabella, which places him in a position to inherit Thrushcross Grange upon Edgar's death. One night, Catherine gave birth to her daughter, Cathy, and died. Soon after Catherine's death, Isabella escaped from Wuthering Heights She moved to London and had a child, named Linton, and died twelve years later. Heathcliff sent for his son Linton. A few years later, when wandering near the Heights, Cathy met her cousin. But Cathy's father forbid the relationhsip. She starts a secret correspondence with Linton, and they think they are in love. Edgar finally agreed the two cousins may visit, and they eventually marry. Edgar dies. And Linton dies soon after the wedding. Cathy befriended Hareton, teaching him to read. The following year, 1802, Mr. Lockwood returns to the Heights. He learns from Nelly that Heathcliff died unexpectedly after a strange and restless madness. He was buried next to Catherine, but several people believe they see he and Catherine wandering the moors. Cathy and Hareton are in love and plan to marry, then move into the Grange.
Review: This book was okay. I still don’t get the universal attraction to it. But I do love the Bronte sisters, and the teacher said this was the book that invented the tragic love hero – dark and mysterious and impossible to snag. Harlequin romances have copied this story a thousand times. However I thought Heathcliff was cruel and demented, an embittered man who never stopped seeking revenge.
Opening Line: 1801. I have just returned from a visit with my landlord – the solitairy neighbor that I shall be troubled with.
Closing Line: “and now I think I have said sufficient.”
Quotes: "Proud people breed sad sorrows for themselves."
"I am now quite cured of seeking pleasure in society, be it country or town. A sensible man ought to find sufficient company in himself."