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Wuthering Heights

Emily Bronte

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#41 OFFLINE   nonsuch

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Posted 12 December 2007 - 03:22 PM

Not surprised that Webby got a shock on opening WH if he expected an Austen novel. Poles apart of course. Can you imagine Fanny Price at the Heights? Or Heathcliff blundering into a sermon by Collins or Elton?

I've been picking up what's been said on BGO over the past 2 years or so. Much astute comment and barely a dissenting voice to the verdict that this is a masterpiece. And we don't know why, not for all our exquisite analyses. WH points continually to the beyond, even though cast in Yorkshire clay. It has more in common with American lit of the 19th C - Melville, Hawthorne eg.
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#42 OFFLINE   finrod

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Posted 17 December 2007 - 02:44 PM

Thought I'd throw in my tuppence ha'penny:

Heathcliff is presented as a more lovable character as a youth - he inspires both the love of Cathy, and that of his foster-father. Despite his foul treatment by Hindley, the watershed seems to be when he overhears Cathy telling Nelly 'it would degrade me to marry Heathcliff'. It is true that Cathy's rejection (either at this point, or upon his return years later, with wealth of unknown ,and hence it is implied, dubious source) makes Heathciff hell-bent upon revenge upon the Earnshaws and Lintons. Although I agree that the character is largely despicable, I would argue he retains just a glint of humanity - he comments that he could have loved the lad (Hareton), were his father not Hindley. And Hareton, though he is neither favoured nor cherished, is not brutalised. There is a kind of parallel story going on, as Hindley, and then Heathcliff are both consumed by bitterness and hatred. In terms of character, the resemblance between the young Heathcliff and Hareton is quite striking. Finally, with the blossoming romance between Hareton and Catherine,the book ends on a hopeful note, with a seeming restoration of birthright and happiness in prospect.

As an aside : there are references to Heathcliff's swarthy complexion, and if we recall he was found as a waif on the streets of Liverpool in the late eighteenth century (a centre of the slave trade), could this imply that Heathcliff is of mixed race?

Another book (The Last of the Mohicans) implies that Cora Munro, the elder of the two daughters, is dark in comparison with her fair-haired younger half-sister, and was born when their father was stationed in the West Indies. Also Cora's romance is with a native American, Uncas, and as far as I can recall, the only voluntary inter-racial relationship hinted at in all of the five Leatherstocking tales. Could it be that J F Cooper drew up short of appearing to sanction love between a Caucasian and native American in 1820s manifest-destiny America? However if the subject were of mixed-race, that was kind of okay?

Both authors are very subtle about this - nothing is explicit. Though I sense that this might be the case (racial taboos will have been very strong on both sides of the Atlantic), I remain very unsure about it.

#43 OFFLINE   aquablue

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Posted 03 February 2009 - 02:01 PM

I just began my reading of WH and so far I love it. I will try to give my complete review once I'm done. Good read.
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#44 OFFLINE   nonsuch

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Posted 06 February 2009 - 09:33 AM



As an aside : there are references to Heathcliff's swarthy complexion, and if we recall he was found as a waif on the streets of Liverpool in the late eighteenth century (a centre of the slave trade), could this imply that Heathcliff is of mixed race?


Heathcliff, although of swarthy complexion, is more black-hearted than negroid. Emily Bronte relies on the typical black-white Victorian stereotype, where black stands for demonic and destructive passion, the Dionysian as opposed to the Apollonian, qua Edgar Linton, full of domestic virtue.

A fascinating character, Heathcliff, and it is true he does have his sympathetic side. To some he has even been seen as the first working class hero! Nelly, I think, rather likes him and the reader certainly identifies with his dynamic strength - 'Edgar Linton, I'm mortally sorry, you're not worth knocking down' etc.

It would have been interesting to hear Emily Bronte being questioned about her intentions in creating her manic hero (A sort of Parky or Melvin interviews Emily). I'm sure she didn't really know quite what she was doing, that the whole thing was an outpouring from the unconscious, perhaps a rebellion against her constricted life on the Yorkshire moors.

#45 OFFLINE   megustaleer

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Posted 06 February 2009 - 09:50 AM

As an aside : there are references to Heathcliff's swarthy complexion, and if we recall he was found as a waif on the streets of Liverpool in the late eighteenth century (a centre of the slave trade), could this imply that Heathcliff is of mixed race?


I have the impression that Heathcliff was of gypsy stock - but, as I haven't read WH, my impression carries no weight whatsoever.

Of course, that would indicate racial stereotyping, too

#46 OFFLINE   Momo

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Posted 06 February 2009 - 06:06 PM

I have the impression that Heathcliff was of gypsy stock - but, as I haven't read WH, my impression carries no weight whatsoever.

Of course, that would indicate racial stereotyping, too

You might be right there (in both cases). As nobody knew where the boy came from and he came out of nowhere ....
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#47 OFFLINE   megustaleer

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Posted 30 August 2009 - 04:22 PM

Well, I'm blowed if I can see what everyone gets so excited about!

Elsewhere we have mentioned that to really 'get' certain books you have to read them at a particular age.
I think my first exposure to Wuthering Heights has come forty to fifty years too late.

Starting with Lockwood in the first few pages, I found every character to be self-centred beyond belief, and I had no patience with any of them.
I guess I'm much too old to take seriously the obsessive passions of spoiled and self-willed teenagers, nor be impressed by the vindictive and violent adults they grow into.

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#48 OFFLINE   bella_1987

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Posted 30 August 2009 - 05:41 PM

Well, I'm blowed if I can see what everyone gets so excited about!

Elsewhere we have mentioned that to really 'get' certain books you have to read them at a particular age.
I think my first exposure to Wuthering Heights has come forty to fifty years too late.


I read the book two years or so ago (whilst in my late teens) and found very little appreciation for it. I had the feeling at the time that perhaps I had come to it at the wrong age- thinking I may enjoy it more as I got older, so maybe I will never love it....

#49 OFFLINE   ottilie

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Posted 30 August 2009 - 09:00 PM

Interesting.
I think I was about 15 or 16 when I read (and reread) Wuthering Heights. I went through a bit of a Bronte spell, and while I preferred Charlotte's novels, I loved Wuthering Heights in a totally different way.
It's still on the shelf, but I think I'll probably leave it there and remember it fondly.

What was the ITV thing like? I purposely avoided it!

#50 OFFLINE   ottilie

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Posted 30 August 2009 - 09:04 PM

Ooh, just remembered, I read that it's Waterstones' biggest Classics seller due to the re-issue with special Twilight tie-in cover!
I admit to having a child-embarassment-inducing rant when I first saw the book sat there claiming to be "Bella and Edward's favourite"! :o

#51 OFFLINE   ottilie

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Posted 30 August 2009 - 09:17 PM

What was the ITV thing like? I purposely avoided it!


Apologies for three posts in a row, I've just seen the thread for the TV adaptation.

#52 OFFLINE   megustaleer

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Posted 30 August 2009 - 09:22 PM

What was the ITV thing like? I purposely avoided it!

Discussion on the TV version now started in 'Anything But Books'

#53 OFFLINE   Opal

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Posted 27 October 2009 - 07:30 PM

I went on a little road trip to Howarth yesterday and for the first time in about 10 years actually felt like I should try reading classics again. Apparently Yorkshire is inspiring like that... :confused: Anyway I've found my copy of Wuthering Heights that I bought as a teenager and have made a start on it. Back then I think it made it through a couple of pages before deciding that it was too 'difficult' to read and went back to something easier, but this time I've actually made it a few chapters in without getting bored. I'm feeling hopeful that I actually make it through this time though! Despite not having read it before, I do kind of know the story (doesn't everyone?) and I'm hoping for a happy ending regardless. Maybe I should stop reading now...
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#54 OFFLINE   Flingo

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Posted 27 October 2009 - 07:46 PM

Good to see you, Opal. Do make sure to come back and let us know if it's happier enough for you! ;)

#55 OFFLINE   FirelightSpirit

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Posted 27 October 2009 - 08:12 PM

Opal, I did the same as you - read a few pages when I was a teenager and found it too difficult, but I went back to it many years later and enjoyed it very much.

I wonder what you'll make of it. I found it a very intense kind of book.
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#56 OFFLINE   Apple

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Posted 27 October 2009 - 11:45 PM

MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS!!

This book is one of my all time favourite novels, it blew me away when I read it, it has a raw emotional power which I have not discovered in any other book I have ever read.

The intensity of if just takes your breath away, it has so many layers and different levels. When I started reading it I thought it was a story of an ophan waif being mistreated by his adopted family, and getting his revenge on them, when he reached adulthood. There is a slight supernatural connection a hint at the beginning of the story when the supposed ghost of Cathy appears at the window but is not mentioned again until the end of the story, but then it turned into a love story of the obsessive destructive love between Cathy and Heathcliff. Then another twist we had the revenge story back again Heathcliff taking revenge on Cathy's daughter and the relations of everyone who had wronged him. But then at the end the supernatural theme came back with a vengence. We have the part where Nelly looks at him and his features take on those of a goblin, and his death, which I am assuming here that the ghost of Cathy came back and drove him insane and he killed himself and they were reunited and their ghosts haunt the moors, or maybe did the ghost of Cathy kill him? Was Heathcliff himself a supernatural being when he lived as it was never mentioned where he originally came from but right from the beginning Heathcliff had a strange menacing aura bout him, which progressed to sheer evil.

I loved the way the story was told, through a third person Nelly) telling a story to another (Mr Lockwood) and how it changes at the end slightly to the observations of Mr Lockwood and then reverts back to the story telling Nelly telling Mr Lockwood of Heathcliffs demise.

My favourite characters were funnily enough Edgar Linton he had the misfortune to marry Cathy when she was in love with someone else, and loved her with all his heart and ended up through no fault of his own other than for loving Cathy an object of hate and revenge for Heathcliff and Hareton Earnshaw, he was such a complex character who I believe Heathcliff grew to love despite himself.

The destructive love story of the obsessive hold Heathcliffe has over Cathy is quite disturbing in places and her descent into madness is quite dark. There is no other book out there which has the content, emotion and raw intensity that Wuthering Heights has and to me it is one book which has earned the title of a Classic.

#57 OFFLINE   layla539

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Posted 28 October 2009 - 06:47 PM

The intensity of if just takes your breath away, it has so many layers and different levels.



I agree with that, it has so much for you to think about after you've read it. It just has that mystery, something you can't figure out, so you remember it for the rest of your life. Plus the lifestyle of those people too, I mean they must have been FREEZING when they got out of bed in the morning, unless they had like some seriously fluffy socks or something. Joseph is funny, I remember trying to talk in the yorkshire accent while reading his parts in the book, and once you do that you understand what he's saying! Some of it is hilarious.

Cathy is a bit scary sometimes but I really liked her, she reminds me of one of my aunties. I think all in all her problem was that she took herself too seriously and went for the money over love, big mistake. I always want to shout at her for that! I don't think Heathcliff was evil. I think he was treated really unfairly and that can poison a persons mind. Theres a lot of nature vs nuture in the book. I think a main underlying theme is human character and how it can develop good and bad qualities under certain circumstances.

I liked this book so much, it is still my favourite. I have listened to Kate bush's Wuthering heights. I like kate bush and i have two of her albums but the song didn't fit the book for me. Ok sorry this is about books :S. I actually don't know if I like Jane Eyre or wuthering heights better to be honest.

#58 OFFLINE   megustaleer

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Posted 28 October 2009 - 10:03 PM

But then at the end the supernatural theme came back with a vengence. We have the part where Nelly looks at him and his features take on those of a goblin, and his death, which I am assuming here that the ghost of Cathy came back and drove him insane and he killed himself and they were reunited and their ghosts haunt the moors, or maybe did the ghost of Cathy kill him? Was Heathcliff himself a supernatural being when he lived as it was never mentioned where he originally came from but right from the beginning Heathcliff had a strange menacing aura bout him, which progressed to sheer evil.

My word, Apple, you read a load more into the story than I did!

Perhaps that is why so many people just love it, and I really don't - they have vivid imaginatons, and I am just too literal and prosaic :rolleyes:

#59 OFFLINE   Apple

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Posted 28 October 2009 - 10:53 PM

Megustaleer Wrote:

My word, Apple, you read a load more into the story than I did!

Sorry I do get a bit carried away when I am talking about a book I love and tend to rave a bit!

When I find a book I really like I sort of become immersed in it and take whats written on the page as a starting point and take it further and look deeper into it. For example where Nellie is describing the noises coming from the room the night Heathcliffe dies I am picturing him on the bed thrashing about with Cathy there tormenting him and sending him into insanity, and then maybe actually killing him.

MAY CONTAIN MORE SPOILERS
But I do love the strong gothic feel to this novel and the supernatural hints in it especially at the end where it is written that the animals can sense Heathcliffes ghost. If you think about though, despite how it first looks this story does actually have a happy ending, not the in the traditional sense but nothing about this book is traditional. But the fact Heathcliffe and Cathy's spirits have been seen on the moor, perhaps says that although they are not resting in peace, they are reunited and together in death.

#60 OFFLINE   grace_a88

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Posted 07 November 2009 - 12:19 PM

I read Wuthering Heights for the first time when I was sixteen and didn't appreciate it at all. I found it difficult to get to grips with the dark characters and I found it hard to care about what happened to them. However I have since reread the novel a number of times and with each reading I seem to appreciate it more and more.





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