Book Club Pop Culture

Wuthering Heights Fueled Into Pop Culture

Wuthering Heights is a hardcore classic novel. For those who don’t know, Wuthering Heights is a dark novel written in 1800s by Emily Brontë, a novel that uses darkness to tell a story of a revenge plot just because he didn’t get the girl he wanted. But why didn’t he get the girl he wanted? Well, because he was different. Heathcliff was an orphan with a dark complexion, working at a farm. Socially, he was “white trash” and for those reasons, rich people treated him like shit, including the girl that he loved, Cathy. Catherine loved him, but she cared more about her social standing  than Heathecliff.

Does that story line sound familiar? That’s because Wuthering Heights has influenced television shows, books, movies, and even poems. Here are some of the works where I have seen Wuthering Heights be a strong presence in.

Wuthering Heights by Sylvia Plath

Wuthering Heights is a beautiful poem by Sylvia Plath where she writes about the moors and how there is an uncomfortable feeling of being on the opposite side. This poem reminds me a lot of Cathy. How Cathy feeling out of place of having strong feelings for Heathcliff, and at the end she follows societal conventions and marries Edgar.   

The sky leans on me, me, the one upright
Among all horizontals.
The grass is beating its head distractedly.
It is too delicate
For a life in such company;
Darkness terrifies it.
Now, in valleys narrow
And black as purses, the house lights
Gleam like small change

Twilight

If you are familiar with the Twilight Saga, you must know who Edward Cullen is. Edward is a vampire who has a dark demeanor, becomes obsessed with Bella, and his actions are driven by his love for Bella. The same goes with Heathcliff, he is obsessed with Catherine, is violent and cold, and he plots a whole revenge on those who stood in the way of him and Catherine. Both of these characters are portrayed as good looking men who are the outcasts in the story, with no living parents, and are adopted. I could even go as far to say that both Edward and Heathcliff are loved by their step-fathers. 

The similarities are there. There is a darkness to the Twilight saga of it being set in Washington where it’s always cold, and raining, resembling the moors of Wuthering Heights. Bella even says that her favorite book is Wuthering Heights. 

It was even repackaged and marketed as Bella’s Favorite book! It makes sense that after the praise of Twilight, literary rates going higher, books would have to market themselves against the competition. Looking into the past, it bothers me that this book has the critical acclaim from a fictional character, on the cover of the book. But, being a product of loving the Twilight Saga during those days, I most likely would of bought that book for that reason. The cover even looks similar to the covers of the Twilight saga!!! It’s interesting to see how books were being marketed when the Twilight Saga was all the rage and buzz.

And this marketing worked. If it wasn’t this campaign that rose book sales, it was the mention of Wuthering Heights in the books that rose book sales.  Before the Twilight saga, Britain was selling 8,551 copies a year, after the saga was published, it rose to 34,023 copies a year. All it takes for the next best selling classic to hit the shelves is for it to be mentioned in Fifty Shades of Grey. 

Eclipse

For those who have read the book or seen the movie, Eclipse is probably the strongest book, out of the sage, that compares to Wuthering Heights. Bella having to decide between Edward or Jacob, Cathy having to decide between Edgar and Heathcliff, Heathcliff’s revenge plot against the Lintons, and Victoria’s plot to seek revenge for Bella after killing James, are all an anthesis of the story lines. 

F.R.I.E.N.DS 

I would even go as far to say that Phoebe and Lockwood are both similar characters in the way that they are both wacky, unreliable narrators, and ultimately, driven to the story of Wuthering Heights.

There’s an episode of FRIENDS where Phoebe and Rachel take a literature course and one of the books that they discuss is Wuthering Heights. This is the episode where Monica and Chandler are trying to keep their relationship a secret because they don’t want everyone to know. Similar to the reasons why Catherine wants nobody to know about her feelings for Heathcliff, and that’s because she doesn’t want everyone to know out fear of being judged. The similarity between the two storylines may be loose, but it’s interesting how Wuthering Heights was one of the texts talked about in the literature course within the show.  

The Proposal

In the film the Proposal, Sandra Bullock’s character confesses that she reads Wuthering Heights every Christmas. As a “scholar,” I wonder why. One of my theories is because chapter 7 revolves around the holiday, and reading it makes her reminisce her family due to the fact that her character is single, and lives alone in New York City. Or because it’s that good of a book, and it’s become a holiday tradition.

Total Eclipse of The Heart

This #1 song was inspired the film The opening lines of the song bare in comparison to Heathcliff longing for Cathy, crying and begging for her to come back. 

Every now and then I get a little bit lonely
And you’re never coming ’round
(Turn around) every now and then I get a little bit tired
Of listening to the sound of my tears

Even the music video is identical to the book in the scene where Catherine as ghost form, is standing by the mirror. The dark sky, the huge mansion, the themes of darkness in it’s scenography, all mimic the novel.

Wuthering Heights by Kate Bush

Considered a work of art, a classic, and a music video that many people wish to see in their last five minutes of their lives. If you aren’t familiar with this song, you are not alone. I did not know this existed until I was doing research for the book, and this came up more times than the novel alone.

People love it for it’s charm of Kate Bush dancing, and singing in a manic voice that is described to being Catherine. 

When I first saw this, I could not understand what Kate Bush was saying. It wasn’t until I read the lyrics, that I was finally able to follow with what Kate Bush was saying. But maybe that was intended by Kate Bush. 

What’s most interesting is how Kate Bush is able to describe Cathrine’s character in one music video. The lyrics and the dancing both captivate the love and the mania that Catherine has for Heathcliff. 

Out on the wiley, windy moors
We’d roll and fall in green
You had a temper like my jealousy
Too hot, too greedy
How could you leave me
When I needed to possess you?
I hated you, I loved you, too

This stanza talks about the moors being used as a backdrop to Heathcliff’s love and obsession over Catherine. It discusses the frustrations that Catherine shared over Heathcliff’s temper. 

Ooh, it gets dark, it gets lonely
On the other side from you
I pine a lot, I find the lot
Falls through without you
I’m coming back, love
Cruel Heathcliff, my one dream
My only master

This stanza speaks for itself as Catherine discusses what it’s like to be dead as a ghost. She discusses how she gets lonely without Heathcliff, and how he’s her only master. 

What’s interesting about this song is that it’s still being celebrated to this day. In 2018, hundreds of fans gathered, dressed in red, to recreate the iconic dance to the iconic song. 

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