Wednesday 26 July 2017

Read a long book - Wurthering Heights

Wurthering Heights.

Apologies to Ray, I am so sorry this is so late in coming to the blog.  

Revenge is a dish best served cold, should have been the title of Wurthering Heights. 

Heathcliff is filled with vengeance and wrath.  A few thoughts popped into my mind when reading this, (I always feel the need to think about this if it were set in modern times).  His fixation with Catherine has made him mentally ill.  At some points I felt that she played him and enjoyed his out bursts and jealousy.  She has clear narcissistic tendencies.  If this was now a days and someone described these two, to me I would think there was bound to be problems and tell them he needs to seek counselling.

Although Heathcliff goes away and comes back educated and with pots of money, from who knows where.  The rest of the book is purely set in one village.  No one seems to go anywhere but to church, everything else must be grown and produced on the properties.  That is pretty isolating, where as other books written at this time, the characters are more worldly and venture to London or to the sea.  This insular environment would suffocate me.  And Cathy having never left the grounds of the estate, although it may have been vast, means that other than her father and the few servants she will have come into contact with, she would have had a very very small world.

Was Heathcliff in love with Catherine, or did he see her as his possession?  Was he really a misogynist or a love sick puppy who went a little la la?

The book is filled with sadness on nearly every page.  And after years of plotting and scheming and then is plan coming together to get both estates by marrying is invalid son to Cathy.  He has a contract drawn up so that she would not inherit her fathers property on the death of Linton.  That is pure evil genius.  Along with what he does to Hareton is beyond despicable.

Towards the end, Heathcliff seems to lose his mind.  Its as if he no longer has a reason to live, he just gives up.  Maybe he is hallucinating through lack of food, or maybe he really is seeing Catherine, come to take him with her.  

I also found it a little ghoulish that he digs next to Catherine's coffin, breaks the side of it down so that they touch when he is buried.

Nelly to me is the real subject of the book, being the person who is telling the story to Lockwood.  Lockwood being a some what nosy bystander.  

And at some points in the book I would have liked to have slapped Joseph.

My friend absolutely loves this book and has waxed lyrical about it.  "Oh, and when you get to this bit, text me.  I want to see what you think!", she said.  She also said, "maybe you should read it again, you might get more from it".

I didnt like it.  I cant see myself reading it again, if I did, I think I would watch one of the film adaptations of it.  That way getting me into reading it again.


I would love to read your comments on this.  Especially if you love it.  I am trying to love all the classics and am looking for other people points of view.  Maybe one of your reviews will make me read the book again.

p.s I have blogged this on my phone which is super hard.  I apologise if there are spelling mistakes I cant find the icon to check.

p.p.s I realise that the picture is of another area of Yorkshire, but when I typed in Yorkshire moors, that beautiful picture came up.  Isn't it stunning?


Mac n' Janet said...

Absolutely hated this book, I don't know why people tell me it's a great love story. That's not love.

Sol said...

Hey Janet, it is far from a love story isnt it. It is a short read but I just cant bring myself to read it again. After reading Jane Eyre I wonder how such sad book come from sisters...

Raybeard said...

So pleased you managed to post this, Sol. I realise how busy things are with you, but nevertheless was getting more than a little concerned about the silence. Then I've just seen your comment on my own blog and was going to respond there by voicing my concern in that place but thought you might not see it as quickly as you would if I posted here - and, voila!, as if by magic, and with some relief, here you are!
I'll come back here (probably tomorrow now) to post my thoughts on the 'Kate Bush'.
It's also so long since I read 'Purple' that I feel I ought to refresh my memory on it by doing a re-read (and why not?) - and I reckon there'll be time for that for when you're ready to post your own thoughts it, which maybe won't be for a few weeks?
'Speak' to you again here shortly.

caslass said...

My sister lives this book, I loathe it! I have no patience with Cathy or Heathcliff and just want to knock their heads together and tell them to grow up. Each to their own I suppose.

local alien said...

Sorry Sol, I've given up reading these classics. I'm glad I didn't read this. But thought your review very informing.

Maybe I'll try the next book, the colour purple.

Sol said...

Hey Ray, I have also finished the colour purple. And will post about it soon. Thank you for coming to comment. My father now has an infection to fight also. Its all a little chaotic. We will all get there and although he has the infection was in high spirits.

Hello Caslass, welcome to my blog. I am glad that others seem to not get on with it, like myself. I wanted to see some kind of romance but really all I saw was mental abuse. Hope to see you here again. I will be posting about the Colour Purple later this week.

Hi Linda, you can pick and choose any books you would like to join in on. Any input from anyone if they join in will be well received. You will probably like the colour purple. It is a bit more modern. And where as this book I found it hard to follow who was who, in the colour purple you know exactly what is happening. I think you can get this on the kindle for free from amazon. Give it a try if you have time.

Janie Junebug said...

The Bronte sisters had pretty hard lives. A lot of illness and their brother Bramwell was a drunk.


Raybeard said...

I'm back agai heren to talk about the Emily B.

I don't dislike W.H. as much as you evidently did, Sol - and, unlike you, if I survive long enough I may even give it a FIFTH reading.
My very first encounter was actually as recently(?) as 1992 and what I most recall about that initial perusal was my confusion over the use of same names or diminutives of same for different characters - Catherine/Cathy & Linton, Mister and young Master. Although there's very little overlap in those four character's lives in terms of time, I did then think, and still do to some extent, that the choice of such names puts a needless strain on one's concentration and recollection of what had gone before, particularly if, as I did, one put the book down only to resume the reading a few days later. This momentary difficulty could so easily have been avoided by more judicious choices of markedly different names.
Another thing I could have done without is the narrator of the story then narrating what is told to him by another - and furthermore, there's a certain passage where for several pages the narrator being narrated to narrates a letter written by a THIRD character who narrates her own observations and experiences - rather like a dream within a dream within a dream. Goodness me! Talk about the mind having to bend round corners! Far too much!
Then there's also the use of something I do so loathe to read - the attempt to capture in writing the speaking of a dialect (here, Joseph, whom you justifiably want to slap) - by deliberate use of mis-spellings and punctuations. Of course a lot of writers employ this tactic, even modern ones, but it slows down one's reading pace to a crawl while you're having to stop every so often and wonder just what was the particular word that they are trying to convey. I don't know why writers can't just indicate that someone speaks in a given dialect or with a particular accent, and then write what they say in ordinary, readable English. Do they think we're just too stupid to remember? Dickens and Walter Scott are as great offenders in this as anyone. Whenever I see it my irritation level rises while my patience dwindles. Thankfully, in this Bronte, Joseph's spoken contributions are not as lengthy as those of other characters.

You've written at length about the drama of the story and I shan't add anything material to what you've said, though of course the novel to a large part reflects what was then considered to be the 'proper' subservient role of women in society of the time, something which now sticks in the craw. However, even given that, I think Emily B. quite skilfully and even daringly challenges accepted 'norms' and makes the Heathcliff character as somewhat of a pathetic dupe of 'fate'. Pity that he takes his misplaced ire out on the female and is so thick that he's unaware that he's doing it - more than once using brutish physical force to enact his will, the refuge of a coward.

Despite my (considerable) reservations, if I apply my mind to the novel (which requires from me more focus than I sometimes have a mind to summon up) I do think the characters are well sufficiently delineated to maintain my interest all through. I can just about see why it's regarded by so many as a 'classic', and am therefore quite surprised, though by no means horrified, to read above that it's given rise to some antagonism, and not only your part, Sol.

As I indicate, I probably will re-read this again sometime, but am in no hurry to do so, especially as there are quite a number of more pressing re-reads I have in mind.

Now, better get quickly on with finishing a re-read of 'Paradise Lost' before picking up 'Purple' again before you're asking for comments. But don't hurry!

Sol said...

Hi Janie, I didnt know much about the Bronte sisters until I watched the film 'to walk invisible'. It gives you a little more insight. Life was very hard in their life time wasnt it. I am glad I did not live then.

Hi Ray, as usual you see something in the book that I completely miss. I will try and read it again at another point. Maybe in a winter to give it atmosphere or something... lol I dislike it also when they write in dialect it drives me potty. I wasnt sure Joseph was supposed to be Scottish with some of the phrases.

I will post about the colour purple next week. Give you a chance to read it again. Meaty isnt it!

northsider said...

This book is probably my favourite read a long with Jude The Obscure. Its a brilliant Gothic love story that goes beyond the grave. I have visited Top Withens up on the moors from Haworth where there is an old ruined farmhouse said to be the inspiration for Wuthering Heights. I think Kate Bush sums up the emotion in the novel in her brilliant video and song. A wonderful book and the Brontes shared the same tragedy in their very short lives. I love the Brontes.