I do not know how to begin this lest I invoke the ire of readers who love this book despite the harrowing love story of Heathcliff and Catherine, which I think is the very reason this book is so loved. Yes, this is a love story. However one would like to put it, it would always revert to being one.
This is the only novel that Emily Bronte was able to publish. Which is a bummer because there could have been more beautiful novels from a talented female writer had she had a robust health. Her refusal to meet a doctor is a different matter, as well as the unsanitary surroundings of the place she lived in.
How Bronte was able to write such a magnificent novel is still astonishing to me, given that she was never married. I always thought that experience is the best source of writing material, but there are times when sheer talent is all that there is to it.
I guess I am fawning too much?
Heathcliff is an orphan, adopted by the parents of Catherine. Aren’t Heathcliff and Catherine supposed to be brothers and sisters now? This is one of the questions that is subject to heavy debate. I am presenting this one because I would like to show how dangerously obsessive Heathcliff’s love for Catherine is.
So they grew up together, little children playing and all. Heathcliff’s childhood was not at all idyllic. Of course, they are in the moors. Aside from that, he is not unscathed with the searing mockery of other characters in the novel. And somewhere in the middle, Heathcliff leaves. Catherine marries another man, a man she doesn’t love. Of course, she loves Heathcliff, but as social networks say, it is complicated.
And Heathcliff returns as a rich man. And he wants vengeance. He serves it cold. I think Heathcliff was able to buy the surrounding estates of the place where he grew up with Catherine, who dies. But she cannot die wholly as long as Heathcliff is alive.
The love story should have ended there, right? How could a relationship be sustained if one of the partners is gone, much more dead? But it goes on. On until the end.
Heathcliff digs up Catherine’s corpse. This is the most unforgettable scene from the novel. All the anger and revenge didn’t yield the desired ending. Heathcliff didn’t have Catherine. Everything is just against the odds. I don’t know if Heathcliff is hallucinating it in the end, but Catherine’s ghost is lurking around Wuthering Heights. Not out of spite, I think, but perhaps to fulfill a desire that was not achieved in her earthly existence, the desire to be Heathcliff. Forever.
That exactly is what gives me the goosebumps. Their love story is not what the common love story is. And common is not good. Common is forgettable. This is not so. It clings to the mind of the reader. It could be the darkest love story ever told.
A friend also read this back in her high school. She is now in her mid-thirties. I was surprised when she told me that she read this because she confessed to me a lot of times that she never was into reading. She never liked to read. She only read this for her book report.
So it was a required reading then. Even though it was a requirement, she still enjoyed it though. It surprised me because I suppose a classic novel is hardly enjoyable for someone who dislikes books. But that is not the case for her. Although she does not remember the plot of the novel, she distinctly remembers the names Heathcliff and Catherine with a feeling of resignation.
So what is my point in saying this? Reading is not about mastering the details, knowing every plot twist, and memorizing each character. Reading is the sum of all these parts. After many years, it is, after all, the experience itself that the memory would summon once the eye falls on the spine of an unforgettable book.
Let the books grow in you. Allow them to swim in your pool of subconscious. Never mind that you don’t get everything. Analyzing each word would not make you a genius. I even think it hinders the enjoyment of reading. Besides, the message would always be arbitrary depending on the reader. So just read, read, read.