I’m not even sure how I managed to live 20 years and have not read this book, but I’m glad I have read it now.
First of all, while I like the whole story, I do have one problem with it and her name is Catherine. I really didn’t like her, purely because whenever she didn’t get her own way she would kick up a fuss or make herself ill. It’s one thing to do it when you’re a child, but not when you’re an adult. She makes herself ill when Heathcliff runs away, and when Heathcliff marries Isabella Linton. She then accuses Heathcliff of marrying Isabella just to hurt Catherine because she rejected him, but can’t bring herself to admit that she’s jealous that she can’t have him any more. Also, when Edgar goes to propose to Catherine, she has a go at Nelly for being in the room, and then practically shouts at Edgar until he agrees to stay. Spoilt or what!
Also, Catherine seems to have some warped idea of what the world is like in that she believes that she could just marry Edgar and use his money to help Heathcliff. First off, Edgar wouldn’t let Catherine have any control over his money, let alone use it to help a rival for her affections. Also she believes that she could be married to Edgar and still be friends with Heathcliff. Catherine clearly loves Heathcliff more than she could ever love Edgar. But Edgar wasn’t going to stand by while Catherine had her cake and ate it. She had to choose between being poor and with the man that she really loved, or having a comfortable rich life and being with a man that she only loves a bit.
I think she did right by choosing Edgar, after all he was a better suitor. Edgar was rich, he had a house, he was educated, whereas Heathcliff had none of that. But almost out of spite to Catherine, he got all that, he got an education and lots of money. I’m not entirely sure how? Nelly mentioned that he looked as if he’d been in the army, but that surely can’t be it. He seems to have a talent for cheating Hindley out of his money so maybe he got his money that way, cheating drunks out of their wealth? I think it’s better for us not to know how he did it, I think it adds to the whole mystery of Heathcliff. After all, a magician never reveals his secrets.
I do currently live in Yorkshire, Huddersfield to be precise. I found it somewhat comforting imagining everyone with Yorkshire accents, and I did like that Bronte wrote Joseph’s speech how it would be pronounced. However, by the end I was just skipping his speech because I could hardly make out what he was saying. I even tried reading it out in a strong Yorkshire accent but even then only half of it was intelligible.
It’s only when I came to write this post did I realise the parallels between this and Harry Potter, but I’m sure I’m not the first to do so. If you’re reading this then I’m assuming you’re familiar with the story of Harry Potter and more specifically, the relationship between Professor Snape and Harry’s mum, Lily. Snape is Heathcliff, even in his cold manner, who is then rejected by the woman that he loves Lily/Catherine, she goes on to marry someone else James/Edgar, and then she dies causing Snape/Heathcliff to resent Lily’s/Catherine’s only child Harry/Cathy as they serve as a constant reminder of their lost love.
After reading Wuthering Heights, whenever its a sunny day, I do find myself looking to the surrounding hills in the distance wishing to be there as Catherine would go to the moors with Heathcliff. Maybe one day I’ll go to the actual moors in Yorkshire and run into the wind shouting for my Heathcliff.
Next Time: Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy.