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Read Along, Reflection

Wuthering Heights : The end of mini Read-along (and the Royal Wedding!)

It is the end of the Wuthering Heights mini read-along.

Sigh, what can I say? I can say it didn’t deviate much from my first impression as posted in my intro post

My first thought about Wuthering Heights

I’ll use the discussion questions from the Penguin Reader to answer some of my thoughts about Wuthering Heights, here goes:

Discussion Questions

1) Why do you think Emily Brontë chose to unfold the story through the secondary sources of Ellen’s narrative, Mr. Lockwood’s two visits, and Catherine’s diary? How would the story have differed if it had been told chronologically? Do you trust the narrators’ versions of the events that took place? Or are they, from time to time, a bit unreliable?

I am not sure if it would change my feeling if the story is told chronologically or not. The book gave me a creepy feeling, mixed with suspense and disgust that I doubt it would have made any difference. What I think could potentially earn my sympathy was if the story was being told through first person narrative by Heathcliff or Catherine. I think I would have felt the passion more intense and why and how the passion became vindictive. I think the third person narrative could potentially be unreliable and told through coloured lense.

2) Compare Catherine’s love for Heathcliff with her love for Edgar: What are the defining characteristics of each relationship? Do you think Catherine regrets her choice of husband?

The love for Heathcliff is destructive, but alluring. The love to Edgar is reliable and enduring. Catherine’s last words was….

‘I must go Cathy’ said Heathcliff, seeking extricate himself from his companion’s arms.
‘You must not go!” she answered, holding him as firmly as her strength allowed. ‘You shall not, I tell you.’
‘For one hour,’ he pleaded, earnestly.
‘Not for one minute,’ she replied.
‘I must – Linton will be up immediately.’

Did she regret? Regret is a strong word. Perhaps she died knowing that she has betrayed her heart but she loves Edgar Linton just as well, I doubt she would regret marrying Edgar knowing that Heathcliff could not provide her with the stability and status that she needs.

3) When Heathcliff visits Catherine for the last time before she dies, she says to him, “You have killed me–and thriven on it, I think.” Nearly twenty years later, when Heathcliff is approaching death, he says, “I have to remind myself to breathe–almost to remind my heart to beat!” Did Heathcliff and Catherine believe the only way they could be together was in death? Did they, somehow, will themselves to die?

I didn’t feel like Heathcliff will himself to die, because if he did he took too long to die. Instead Edgar was the one who was most affected by Catherine’s death and somehow his illness never see the light to recuperation. In soul though Healthcliff died when Catherine died, all he wanted was Catherine to come back to haunt him. The ending however implies that both Heathcliff and Catherine is together in death.

4) The characters in the novel have a great capacity for violence and hatred, and revenge is one of Heathcliff’s greatest motivations. Is Heathcliff justified in the revenge he takes on Hindley? Do you think Heathcliff’s childhood experiences at Wuthering Heights contributed to his monstrous behavior as an adult?

There is no excuse Heathcliff for taking out revenge on Hindley. It is clear that Heathcliff’s childhood experiences at Wuthering Heights contributed to his monstrous behavior and unfortunately losing Catherine only exacerbated his monstrosity.

5) One critic stated that Wuthering Heights is “truly a novel without a hero or heroine.” What do you think of this statement? Is Heathcliff a hero or a villain?

Totally agree that the novel is truly a novel without a hero or heroine. Everyone I talk to said the same thing, “I don’t like any of the characters in the book!” I don’t see Heathcliff as a hero, more of a tortured soul that takes pleasure in inflicted pain on others, but Emily Brontë had successfully written a book with such intense and suspense that every page seems to leap out of the book and I can’t stop but keep reading until the very end.

6) Wuthering Heights is considered by many to be one of the greatest romances in literature. Do you agree with this? What is your definition of a romantic novel? Must a great romance have a happy ending?

Is it a love story? Yes. Is it romance? Nope, I don’t think so. A great romance doesn’t always need to have a happy ending (i.e. One day by David Nicholls) but it must give out that warm fuzzy feeling one experience when you felt the love is pure and genuine, without hatred and ulterior motives. Romance has to carry a hope that it will last forever. That is my notion of romance.

Today is the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, the whole country (or the world) is celebrating with it. I told myself I am not going to get suck into the globe’s obsession of what Kate is going to wear, what the rest of the royal family is going to wear (but I can tell you Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice have the most unconventional sense of style and Samantha Cameron committed a fashion faux pas for not wearing a hat!) the whole royalist frenzy thingy. But when I watched the couple took their wedding vows, and then a few hours later waving to the public on the horse carriage and the two kisses at the balcony of Buckingham Palace… I welled up, close to shedding a tear but that’s what I called romantic.


Awww……

Perhaps I might change my mind if I watch Wuthering Heights the movie. However with the 3rd person narrative, the anger and the revenge, it doesn’t feel romantic. The Royal Wedding is romantic, but not Wuthering Heights! :)

Rating: 

Would I recommend this book? I would and I am sure you would love it if you get past those horrible characters in the book! I actually like the old English and when I finished it I felt the need to read another classics with 18th century English. That’s how good it is, the language I mean. :)

I would like to thank Jenny of Jenny’s Books, Anaamica of What I have been reading and Jessica of Park Benches and Bookends for reading Wuthering Heights along with me. As soon as my read-along buddies posted their posts I’ll include it in this post! Big thanks for being a part of this! xxx

Other reviews:

Jessica of Park Benches and Bookends’ Review : I can understand why it is a classic, there isn’t quite another novel like it and I can also understand completely why people would hate this novel (I am sure some will say hello in the comments ;) but it isn’t a classic just because of the nasty, cruel characters, there is much more to this novel in the passion, tragedy and the Gothic elements. It is a love story but just not in the conventional/normal sense.

Anaamica of What I have been Reading: Most of the characters in the prologue are like this – evil, sharp tongued, foul mouthed – I thought the name ‘Mad House’ was a better name for the novel.

Jenny @ Jenny’s Books: Well, it’s official. I don’t like Wuthering Heights. I have given it every opportunity to thrill me. I’ve read it numerous times after Jane Eyre, and now I’ve read it not after Jane Eyre, with the openest of minds. I wanted to love it and I found that I could not.

Bookie Mee: What a wild storm. That’s what I felt about the book.
What is Kim Reading: this book is alive. I don’t know how to explain it any other way. The words leap off the page.
BCF Reviews: I liked how Emily Bronte wrote. The book was descriptive and it is a great story.

Paperback. Publisher: Penguin 1847, 2006 ; Length: 395 pages; Setting: Mid 18th century. Source: Own copy. Finished reading on: 7th April 2011.

About the author:

Emily Brontë lived most of her life in England on the North Yorkshire moors like those depicted in Wuthering Heights. Not many details are known about her life. As one Brontë scholar stated, “Next to her genius, the most astonishing thing about Emily Brontë is the silence which surrounds her life.” Charlotte Brontë declared that Emily’s “disposition was not naturally gregarious; circumstances favored and fostered her tendency to seclusion; except to go to church or take a walk on the hills, she seldom crossed the threshold of home. Though her feeling for the people [all around] was benevolent, intercourse with them was never sought; nor, with very few exceptions, ever experienced.”

Emily Jane was the fifth of six children born to the Reverend Patrick and Maria Brontë on July 30, 1818, in the village of Bradford, Yorkshire. Three years after Emily was born, her mother died of cancer, the first of several tragedies that would befall the Brontë family. Just before Emily’s sixth birthday, she and her older sisters–Maria, Elizabeth, and Charlotte–enrolled at the Cowan Bridge School. Maria and Elizabeth both fell ill, and on May 6, 1825, Maria succumbed to her illness. The other three girls then left for home, where Elizabeth died two weeks later.

Charlotte discovered Emily’s poems in October 1845 and convinced her sisters to collaborate on a volume of poetry. They chose to use pseudonyms to avoid the criticism and prejudice often directed towards women writers. In May 1846, Poems (by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell) was published, with the Brontës paying for the costs; only two copies were sold.

Emily began working on Wuthering Heights in December 1845. She completed it in July 1846 and began submitting it for publication (along with Anne’s Agnes Grey and Charlotte’s The Professor). In December 1847, the publisher T. C. Newby published Wuthering Heights. One year later, on December 19, 1848, Emily died from the effects of a severe cold. Two years later, Wuthering Heights was reissued, along with a selection of Emily’s poems and a biographical notice by Charlotte.

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About JoV

A bookaholic that went out of control.... I eat, sleep and breathe books.

Discussion

19 thoughts on “Wuthering Heights : The end of mini Read-along (and the Royal Wedding!)

  1. Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice looked a couple of frights didn’t they? I only watched the highlights and I am hopeful that previous lessons (eg Diana and Fergie) have been learnt by the palace.

    Anyhow my Wuthering Heights review is up – I think more or less I completely agreed with yours!

    Posted by Jessica | April 29, 2011, 9:25 pm
    • Jessica, Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice sure looks like a couple of frights. I am hopeful of the newly wed. It is so nice to wed someone from school and knew each other for so long before they decided to tie the knot. The speech from Archbishops and bishop Dr Richard Chartre about love and marriage was so inspiring. If only they remember the words every day of their lives, a union joined by God, no man can make asunder.

      Posted by JoV | April 29, 2011, 10:56 pm
  2. These are great points about Wuthering Heights. When I first read this book as a girl, I loved Catherine and Heathcliff – but when I read the book again as an adult I was quite repelled by his violence and vengefulness. It’s very much a novel reflecting the behaviour and attitudes of its times, I suppose. I sympathise with Catherine who, like many females in Victorian fiction, was unable to “do” anything (compared with men) and in her case she was a victim of her own passions – I don’t find any of that dislikeable, though she certainly is not a wise character. Wuthering Heights is such a searing book, I think the device of the two boring narrators (though a common one in its time) makes the book even more vivid, as the narrators simply can’t comprehend of the degree of emotions being experienced.

    Have you read Shadow by Karin Altvegen (a modern piece of Swedish crime fiction)? This uses a similar device – we see the tragic events, and learn of a deep crime – essentilly through two narrators. I highly recommend it.

    Posted by Maxine | April 30, 2011, 10:34 am
    • Maxine, thank you so much for dropping by.
      What you said struck me as profound. This book may appeal to the young but as a grown up and a mother I’m worried about public adulation of such book. Catherine’s flaw is that she sounds spoilt, once or twice or more she has a hand in mocking or snubbing young Heathcliff. Adding insult to injury.

      Shadow sounds interesting, I will look it up. I am beginning to feel Bernadette and your influence strongly, I may in due course seeking for more murder mysteries… ;)

      Posted by JoV | April 30, 2011, 9:04 pm
  3. I’ve put mine up finally — sorry for the delay, I wayyyyy overslept. Mine’s not as sensible as yours, I’m afraid, just full of complaints about how nasty everyone is in it. Like you, I found them completely unsympathetic, but I couldn’t enjoy the book in spite of them. :/ Glad I read it, though, thanks for organizing this!

    Posted by Jenny | April 30, 2011, 7:27 pm
    • Jenny, oh don’t worry about it! I love to hear people whinge. I don’t read enough honest negative book reviews over blogosphere so yours is a breath of fresh air. Not a problem at all, glad to have you with me. I wouldn’t be able to compare notes if I were to read this alone. Such a strange book!

      Posted by JoV | April 30, 2011, 9:07 pm
  4. JoV -
    I will be back to dig into this post after I am done with Wuthering Heights. I started at the beginning of the month as you did from your prompt – goodness it was nothing like I expected. I have several chapters to go. …

    Thanks for the motivation :) since I do have it on a challenge list.

    Posted by Shellie | May 1, 2011, 3:54 pm
    • Shellie, I didn’t know you started the read-along with us! Do let me know when you finished reading it. As you may noticed I’m always behind in catching up with other book blog reviews. It is great to have you with us. :)

      Posted by JoV | May 2, 2011, 7:00 pm
  5. I am finished with the book and review – I really enjoyed the book in audio gave it 4.5 stars… if you stop by you can see some pictures of the Dales – near where the Brontes lived. John is from there, so I have visited a lot.

    http://www.layersofthought.net/2011/05/review-wuthering-heights-in-audio-by.html

    Now off the check out the other reviews;

    Posted by Shellie | May 9, 2011, 3:56 pm
  6. Yep – nice country guy. Can’t understand the lot of them when they have been drinking. It has also taken 8 years for me to understand most of what they say…

    As for food….John’s mom helped me make some Shepard’s pie, as well as dough for pasties. I have made Yorkshire pudding which I found in a cook book too.

    I love the food – Indian, fish n chips… there’s a local carvery there that is excellent. The cheese – yogurt… beer …but it is so fattening. So I have this great cookbook from there- its weight watchers – which has excellent authentic recipes that have been lowered in calories.

    Posted by Shellie | May 10, 2011, 8:36 pm
  7. hi JoV, I just finished reading WH, and I loved it! Yes I found it so dark and gloomy, but intense and beautiful.
    The discussions you made above are so interesting, I wished I read it along with you all. :)

    Posted by mademelani | April 5, 2012, 11:35 am

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Pingback: Wuthering Heights, Charlotte Bronte « Jenny's Books - April 30, 2011

  2. Pingback: Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë « What I have been reading… - May 2, 2011

  3. Pingback: It’s a wrap! : April 2011 « Bibliojunkie - May 2, 2011

  4. Pingback: Halfway there.. It’s a wrap: June 2011 « Bibliojunkie - June 30, 2011

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Ratings Defined

0 = Abandon the book after first chapter

1 = Waste of paper, we will see what the environmentalist say about this!

2 = Skip it, read the book if you have got nothing better to do

2.5 = An average book, easily forgettable.

3 = A good read.

3.5 = A good entertaining read, a page-turner

4 = So glad that I read the book, a book with substance and invaluable for future reference

4.5 = So glad that I read the book, would pester everyone to read it, invaluable, I would want to own it and wouldn't mind a second read (something that I seldom do)

5 = The book is so good that I feel like I am on scale 4 and 4.5, and more, it blew me away and lingers on my head for weeks!

Books Read

JoV's bookshelf: read
Hold Tight
The Fault in Our Stars
The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon
The Thief
Mockingjay
Catching Fire
A Tale for the Time Being
Into the Darkest Corner
The Liars' Gospel
Goat Mountain
Strange Weather In Tokyo
Strange Shores
And the Mountains Echoed
Ten White Geese
One Step Too Far
The Innocents
The General: The ordinary man who became one of the bravest prisoners in Guantanamo
White Dog Fell from the Sky
A Virtual Love
The Fall of the Stone City


JoV's favorite books »
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Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking. - Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)

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