Yesterday, I finished Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë. This was not the first time that I have read Wuthering Heights, but it had been a long time and I didn’t remember much from the first time that I read the book. I think it was one of the books that I read during my Ph.D. studies as an escape, and it is likely that my studies pushed the memory of the book right out of my head.
This was another of my Christmas gifts from my oldest sister. She gave me a beautifully bound, collector’s edition copy. She always seems to know the books that I am eager to read in the coming days/weeks/months/year. Sometimes my other sisters also give books for Christmas, but not this year. I always give books for Christmas (along with other things sometimes). I often feel that books are the best Christmas gifts that I receive.
Wuthering Heights tells the story of Heathcliff and Catherine. It is a ghost story of sorts, but not really a scary one. It is more of a tragic ghost story. It is a tale of lives intertwined in a small rural society with multiple pairs of star-crossed lovers. It is sad, tragic, and even horrifying at times – a fantastic portrayal of human nature and an interesting commentary on class and socioeconomic status.
As I read the novel, I reflected on my own travels to England last summer. I did not get a chance to go to the part of the country where the Brontë sisters lived, and I did not get to see places like the setting for Wuthering Heights. I wish that I’d had that opportunity now. The haunting scenes described in the novel are beauty tinged with sadness.
My eldest read the novel for English class when they were in high school. Much like the way they feel about Jane Austen, they find the prose style from the Victorian and Regency-era novelists boring. This is a point where my kid and I disagree. I love the rich descriptions, the portrayal of society, and the way that the role of women in society is revealed through the narrative.
I do think you need to be in the right frame of mind to enjoy a book like Wuthering Heights. I loved re-reading the book, and I hope that this time I remember it a bit better. I only hope that one day I can write the same quality of literature as the Brontë sisters.