We’ve all heard of it, we all recognize the characters, and we’ve probably all been forced to read it at some point- either by the education system or due to peer pressure. As a result, Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights is a book that many have formed a casual resentment towards. So here’s some reasons to have a good re-read, and give the classic another go.
1. The Melodrama
As well as being a gripping and tragic love story, Wuthering Heights also presents an overwhelmingly melodramatic and vivid depth of emotion. Demonstrating the fire and pain of love and heartbreak, Brontë’s brilliant word choice throughout is what really makes this novel an unforgettable classic. Just take Cathy’s famously melodramatic declaration of her love for Heathcliff:
“It would degrade me to marry Heathcliff now; so he shall never know how I love him; and that, not because he is handsome Nelly, but because he’s more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.”
Whether you end up loving or hating him, Heathcliff is the flawed romantic hero that brings the novel to life. Twisted by an upbringing of ill-treatment, Heathcliff becomes the fiery figure of controversy that is made memorable by his imperfections. Our ability to love such a man is one of the most debated topics of the novel, something that you can really embrace when reading the book for your own enjoyment. In fact, all the characters are pretty flawed- making the story all the more real as a result.
3. The Movies Are All Disappointing
You may have tried to avoid reading Wuthering Heights by embracing the screen version instead, but you really are missing out. Many of the movies (including Wuthering Heights (1992), pictured below, and the more recent 2011 movie of the same name) cut out key plot details, and swayed from Brontë’s layered narrative that defines the classic. With several film adaptations that consistently fail to capture the true feeling of the story, it’s really just better to give the book a chance.
4. It’s So Clever
The complex narrative viewpoint of the novel may have been something you hated in school, but give it a re-read, if only to appreciate the genius behind the tangled narration. Through Lockwood’s surface narration and Nelly’s version of events, a unique depth is produced that only builds on the emotive nature of the novel. Combine this with the poignant themes of good vs evil, class and racial prejudices, and the conflict between savagery and civilization, and you’re left with a piece of literary genius.
5. Emily Brontë Was A Groundbreaking Author
Brontë was not yet 30 when she wrote Wuthering Heights, just a year before her death as a result of tuberculosis. Her novel was published under the male pseudonym of Ellis Bell. The reaction to her only novel in her own time was mixed. Many were disgusted by its violence and destructive passion and all of the different narrators in the novel served to create a sense of no moral compass. Yet, some did recognize its originality and sense its genius. Emily’s sister, Charlotte, became famous in her lifetime and as a result, Emily’s identity became known. From then onwards, Wuthering Heights became one of the most celebrated and debated novels ever written.
What are your thoughts on the intense classic? Which classics do you think people should give another chance?
YouTube Channel: Bazpierce
Featured image via Opehliac Madness