Wuthering Heights Review
By Jessica Luu, Grade 12
“If all else perished, and he remained, I should still continue to be; and if all else remained, and he were annihilated, the universe would turn to a mighty stranger: I should not seem a part of it.” – Catherine Earnshaw (Wuthering Heights)
Many of you have probably heard of Wuthering Heights, by Emily Brontë, from author Stephenie Meyer of Twilight. Although Stephenie’s third novel, Eclipse, and Wuthering Heights share a similar theme, needless to say, Wuthering Heights is much more of an extraordinary classic, far more complex and emotional.
The book begins with Mr. Lockwood, the new tenant of Thrushcross Grange. Landlord of Thrushcross and habitant of Wuthering Heights, Mr. Heathcliff, is a rude and reserved person, often offending Mr. Lockwood on his visits to Wuthering Heights. His maltreatment of Harlow Earnshaw and Mrs. Heathcliff (the widow of Mr. Heathcliff’s deceased son, not his wife) further causes discomfort for Mr. Lockwood.
While spending the night at Wuthering Heights, he is disturbed by the sound of a tree branch scratching against the window. As he reaches toward the branch, he is shocked that he has grabbed a cold finger belonging to a female ghost by the name of Catherine Linton. She pleads that she wants to come into the house, having gotten lost in the moor and waiting for twenty years ever since. Frightened, Mr. Lockwood closes the window, ignores her cry, and screams. Mr. Heathcliff enters the bedroom and is angry that Mr. Lockwood was shown to this particular bedroom.
Mr. Lockwood explains the events that had transpired to Mr. Heathcliff. A violent reaction is first expressed by Mr. Heathcliff, followed by sadness. As Mr. Lockwood is told to sleep in Mr. Heathcliff’s room instead, he overhears Mr. Heathcliff tearfully welcoming Catherine, the ghost, into Wuthering Heights.
Wanting to figure out what exactly was going on,, Mr. Lockwood asks the maid of Thrushcross Grange, Mrs. Dean, who then recounts the life of Mr. Heathcliff and Catherine.
According to the back of the book, it is “a brooding Yorkshire tale of a love that is stronger than death.” It is a “metaphysical passion in which heaven and hell, nature and society, and dynamic and passive forces are powerfully juxtaposed.” Wuthering Heights is a love story that shares similarities with Romeo and Juliet’s “star-crossed love.” Instead of hatred and violence that is driving Catherine and Heathcliff apart, it is their social status along with their decisions and personalities.
Like most classics, the language is at first very perplexing. However, I find that novels in the 1800s maintain an aspect of elegance to it that is absent from modern English literature. I definitely think working your way through the difficulties will help improve comprehension for other literary classics, such as Pride and Prejudice.
Aside from that, it is truly an extraordinary story with unexpected twists toward the end of the book. Wuthering Heights contain well-rounded characters, whose motivations definitely shape their own fate. I found myself being blown away by each of the character’s motives. While reading, I always felt a number of different emotions and often found myself alternating between hating and loving the same characters. At times, the way the characters thought was absurd. On the other hand, knowing what they were going through, it was understandable. What makes Wuthering Heights great is how flaws are highlighted in the novel; flaws are exactly what make the characters real.