Wuthering Heights: Gothic Literature At It’s Best | Book Review

Synopsis (with Spoilers)

This book is essentially about the love story OF Heathcliff and Catherine, and everything else in the book is what happened due to stereotypes, bullying, and revenge.

When Heathcliff was brought into the house, by Catherine’s father, Hindley becomes very jealous and instantly grows a hate for him. After Mr. Earnshaw dies, Hindley takes away Heathcliff’s education, and puts him to work at the farm in Wuthering Heights. 

I was frightened, and Mrs. Earnshaw was ready to fling it out of doors: she did fly up, asking how he could fashion to bring that gipsy brat into the house, when they had their own bairns to feed and fend for? What he meant to do with it, and whether he were mad?… Not a soul knew to whom it belonged, he said; and his money and time being both limited, he thought it better to take it home with him at once, than run into vain expenses there: because he was determined he would not leave it as he found it. 

Catherine has a love for Heathcliff, and it’s very apparent in the novel, but when Edgar proposes, she says yes. She did it for her social status and her future. AND that is saaaad. In that day and age, it made sense why someone would marry for social standing, but in 2020, social standing doesn’t mean anything. 

It would degrade me to marry Heathcliff now; so he shall never know how I love him: and that, not because he’s handsome, Nelly, but because he’s more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same; and Linton’s is as different as a moonbeam from lightning, or frost from fire.’

Then after a few years past, Heathcliff shows up as a strong hero with wealth and confidence, and ends up marrying Isabella, Edgar’s sister. 

Then Catherine dies after giving birth. Then Hindley dies. And Heathcliff gets the property Wuthering Heights, haunted by Catherine’s ghost. 

This whole book shows how karma works in it’s mysterious ways. For example, Heathcliff didn’t get what he wanted, but he got Wuthering Heights. It’s all a tragedy that Heathcliff didn’t get what he wanted because he was an orphan, and had a dark complexion. 

What I liked about the book:

I love the dark elements, the creepy feeling of being in the Moors, the descriptions of the ghosts. All of it made it a fun a fun read.

Contemporary Reviews of Wuthering Heights

An attempt to give novelty and interest to fiction, by resorting to those singular ‘characters’ that used to exist everywhere, but especially in retired and remote places. The success is not equal to the abilities of the writer; chiefly because the incidents are too coarse and disagreeable to be attractive, the very best being improbable, with a moral taint about them, and the villainy not leading to results sufficient to justify the elaborate pains taken in depicting it. The execution, however, is good: grant the writer all that is requisite as regards matter, and the delineation is forcible and truthful.

Spectator, December 18, 1857

Wuthering Heights, by Ellis Bell, is a terrific story, associated with an equally fearful and repulsive spot. It should have been called Withering Heights, for any thing from which the mind and body would more instinctively shrink, than the mansion and its tenants, cannot be imagined. …Our novel reading experience does not enable us to refer to anything to be compared with the perfect misanthropist’s heaven.

New Monthly Magazine, January 1848

How a human being could have attempted such a book as the present without committing suicide before he had finished a dozen chapters, is a mystery. It is a compound of vulgar depravity and unnatural horrors….

Graham’s Lady’s Magazine, July 1848

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