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Discussion of Wuthering Heights

Members of the forum choose and read a new book every month together, and then discuss it. Each book of the month get's it's own whole subforum in this forum. Click here to nominate books for book of the month.

How do you rate "Wuthering Heights"?

1 star - poor
0
No votes
2 stars - okay, fair
4
21%
3 stars - good, likable
8
42%
4 stars - excellent, amazing
7
37%
 
Total votes : 19

Discussion of Wuthering Heights

Post Number:#1  Postby Scott » 07 Sep 2011, 08:45

Please use this thread to discuss the September 2011 book of the month, Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. If you have not read the book yet, please wait until you have finished reading it to read and participate in this topic because this topic will contain spoilers.

What do you think of the book? Do you recommend it? Are there are any passages or quotes from the book you especially enjoy and want to post?
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Wuthering Heights

Post Number:#2  Postby Clovertechie » 12 Sep 2011, 20:32

I can't wait to hear feedback from others. This book has been on my "read-someday" list for years - now I wonder why. The writing is good, the descriptions certainly replete with detail and texture.

I do like, when I read to find some characters in the book that touch me. I don't need to necessarily like them or identify with them - but I want to care about them. I want to care about the ending. I love a book that makes me itch to read the last chapter. I could have read half the book, and if I never finished - would not have cared. I kept waiting for the story to come to some conclusion - as a musical chord may be dissonant, but resolves.

Some day, I may read it again, hoping to find the redemption...but I wouldn't bet on it. I am very eager to hear the thoughts of others!
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bronte´s world

Post Number:#3  Postby naragus » 13 Sep 2011, 09:19

I also need to find characters that touch me but I always like them. I care about them. This is something I miss in this book. A wonderful portrait of an era and a place, but nobody I care for. Redemption comes only as a promise for the new generation that might break the spell upon this family.
Characters are too weak to fight or so strong in their persuit that hate dominates their love feeling.
Hope no hard feelings about this reply.
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Post Number:#4  Postby Maud Fitch » 16 Sep 2011, 21:44

I was a huge fan of the Brontë sisters, Emily, Anne and Charlotte. Now I’m older, wiser and have had a couple of genuine love affairs, I see that their work, in particular Emily Brontë’s novel “Wuthering Heights”, reflects their own thwarted love lives.

Due to society, etiquette and limited opportunities for women in 1847, and through no fault of her own, Emily was greatly restricted when it came to writing about tainted male/female relationships. To me, “Wuthering Heights” mirrors a lack of follow through; this inability to write a believable mental and physical connection between two people doesn’t come about because there’s no inherent knowledge behind it. Although it could be argued that it’s a fictitious story and, even in her sheltered life as a clergyman’s daughter, the themes of domestic upheaval, male aggression and marrying for prestige was something she may have encountered. One man I almost felt sorry for in the novel was Edgar Linton, the second-best husband with good prospects. To quote from Catherine “Whatever our souls are made of, his (Heathcliff) and mine are the same, and Linton's is as different as a moonbeam from lightning or frost from fire.”

Nevertheless, I have re-read this novel and could just about smack the protagonists heads together and say “get real, guys!” If I were Catherine I would have stayed well away from Heathcliff, walked off without a backward glance. Either that or suggest he has counselling; obsessive and vengeful man that he is. No, wait, they both needed counselling! Catherine certainly had issues. She says of Heathcliff “I'd as soon put that little canary into the park on a winter's day, as recommend you to bestow your heart on him!...He's not a rough diamond, nor a pearl-containing oyster of a rustic; he's a fierce, pitiless, wolfish man” but she doesn’t heed her own warning. To add to the angst, her brother Hindley is a nasty fly-in-the-ointment with his uppity treatment of adopted Heathcliff. Gotta have someone to abuse, eh Hindley, especially Heathcliff with his uncontrollable gypsy blood?

The sense-of-place is strong for me, dark, brooding Yorkshire, and I shiver when reading some of the almost poetic descriptions. I'd love to walk through that countryside. But from my viewpoint, to say Catherine and Heathcliff were passionately in love is overstating their affair when they caused each other so much misery. Their families are destroyed and their agonising love does not redeem them in the end. This novel is billed ‘romance’ but for me it’s a turmoil of mixed emotions between two foolish individuals who should have known when to call it quits.

My vote is 2 stars, allowing for the fact it was written in another time, another era. Don’t let me put you off, if you are into gothic torment and unrequited love, this is the book for you!

(P.S. It’s a pity that Emily Brontë died young and this is the only book she wrote; published under the pseudonym of Ellis Bell. Today we know that she could have elaborated and maybe gone far beyond the doomed Earnshaw family).
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Post Number:#5  Postby Fran » 17 Sep 2011, 05:12

@Maud
I like the counselling idea ... maybe with a bit of anger management thrown it eh? I think Jasper has taken you over girl!

I've always loved this book & I have always felt Heathcliff is a reflection of Bronte's own thwarted ambition and abilities. IMO she is using his character to show how frustration and lack of opportunities can poison the individual. As you rightly point out there were little opportunities for women of in the 1800's .... even the necessity of writing under a pseudonym must have been incredibly frustrating for an author of her talent. The level of physical and emotional torture in the novel is amazing considering the sheltered life all the Bronte sisters lived.

Again with Catherine IMO there is a depiction of incredible frustration in this instance manifested as shallow, manipulative and totally selfcentered.

The great strength of Wuthering Heights IMO is how deceptive the story seems on the surface and yet hiding as it does layers and layers of emotion & interpretation. I read somewhere that an early critic described it as a dreadful story but impossible to put aside after reading without commenting on it ... and since publication it has certainly generated comment.

I am still convinced that Heathcliff & Cathy are siblings & frustrated incestuous love is the core of this book .... there is definitely something not quite 'normal' in this obsessive, controlling love.

Every ounce of the dark side of human nature is employed by Bronte in Wuthering Heights.
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Re: Discussion of Wuthering Heights

Post Number:#6  Postby Maud Fitch » 19 Sep 2011, 07:57

@ Fran re "I am still convinced that Heathcliff & Cathy are siblings & frustrated incestuous love is the core of this book .... there is definitely something not quite 'normal' in this obsessive, controlling love."

Well said, Fran. A good thought, particularly as Heathcliff's parentage is in question.
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Re: Discussion of Wuthering Heights

Post Number:#7  Postby naragus » 19 Sep 2011, 10:33

It is a pity Emily died so young being such a wonderful writer. 1840 was a bad time for love specially for love between different social groups. It doesn´t take long from here to imagine a story like this. Emily didn´t have the experience for a love story like the ones we can imagine today, probably few people had it at that time. But she did have te talent to tell a story. Beleiving it or not the people kept flowing page after page for various generations. My rate is a 3.
PS Does you know about a new version of W.Heights by Minae Mizumura? A japanese writer, she lived in NY for a while, who tells the story from the point of view of Nelly, the housekeeper. The book is "A real story".
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Re: Discussion of Wuthering Heights

Post Number:#8  Postby Bookworm2011 » 22 Sep 2011, 12:53

I have always loved this book and am glad that it came up as the book of the month so that I could reread it. It's a disappointment that Emily did not get to write more before passing away. I find that she knows how to write characters that captivate readers and she has a storyline that keeps you wanting to know what happens next.

I love how she writes the characters throughout the story, it's hard to find a book that all the characters have obvious faults and that each character deserved their fate.

@Fran, I agree that the relationship between Cathy and Heathcliff seems like a twisted sibling love and that at the heart of the novel is the idea of the incestuous love throughout the story.
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Re: Discussion of Wuthering Heights

Post Number:#9  Postby bookbybook » 23 Sep 2011, 21:01

I must admit that began reading the book because it was written by a Bronte and forced myself to finished reading it for the same reason. I didn't enjoy the book--it is too twisted. I understand the disadvantage of women at that time period, but others living then didn't live such convoluted lives and express such dark and twisted thoughts. Emily was a disturbed woman, and we are fortunate she did not leave much of anything else for us to read. Fran's insight on the "siblings & frustrated incestuous love" is probably right on--another disturbing and disappointing aspect of the book.
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Re: Discussion of Wuthering Heights

Post Number:#10  Postby Geneen Karstens » 28 Sep 2011, 21:02

This book has been on my Bucket List of books to read in my lifetime so I am glad I finally have. Having said that I really didn't care much for it. Heathcliff seemed to me a very ungrateful human being and only delighted in making life miserable for others. For two people ( incestuous or not) to find love in that situation really surprised me. I didn't see that coming.
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Re: Discussion of Wuthering Heights

Post Number:#11  Postby Hannellene » 29 Sep 2011, 02:20

a beautiful story
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Re: Discussion of Wuthering Heights

Post Number:#12  Postby Fran » 29 Sep 2011, 04:43

[quote="Geneen Karstens"]This book has been on my Bucket List of books to read in my lifetime so I am glad I finally have. Having said that I really didn't care much for it. Heathcliff seemed to me a very ungrateful human being and only delighted in making life miserable for others. For two people ( incestuous or not) to find love in that situation really surprised me. I didn't see that coming.[/quote]

IMO Wuhering Heights is an analysis of a thwarted, frustrated & irrational obsession rather than love but then I guess there is a fine line between love and obsession. I hold to my view that there is something incestuous about the relationship between Cathy and Heathcliff. Still regard it as a great read though & it will be staying on my shelf and will be read again and again hopefully.
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Re: Discussion of Wuthering Heights

Post Number:#13  Postby naragus » 29 Sep 2011, 07:49

[quote="Fran"]Wuhering Heights is an analysis of a thwarted, frustrated & irrational obsession rather than love but then I guess there is a fine line between love and obsession. I hold to my view that there is something incestuous about the relationship between Cathy and Heathcliff. Still regard it as a great read though & it will be staying on my shelf and will be read again and again hopefully.[/quote]

Do you mean there is a suspicion Heathcliff might also be an illegitimate son of Cathy´s father?
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Re: Discussion of Wuthering Heights

Post Number:#14  Postby Fran » 29 Sep 2011, 07:59

[quote="naragus"][quote="Fran"]Wuhering Heights is an analysis of a thwarted, frustrated & irrational obsession rather than love but then I guess there is a fine line between love and obsession. I hold to my view that there is something incestuous about the relationship between Cathy and Heathcliff. Still regard it as a great read though & it will be staying on my shelf and will be read again and again hopefully.[/quote]

Do you mean there is a suspicion Heathcliff might also be an illegitimate son of Cathy´s father?[/quote]

I'm not the only one who has always had the feeling that there is more than a hint of incest in the Heathcliff/Cathy relationship.
But it is fiction so it's open to interpretation.
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Re: Discussion of Wuthering Heights

Post Number:#15  Postby autovirginia » 13 Oct 2011, 11:43

Really interesting post i enjoyed the discussions.
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