#YearofBrontë – Wuthering Heights

My second foray into my Year of Brontë was Wuthering Heights, by young Emily. Emily Brontë only wrote one book, presumably because nothing could overdo this one. I read this when I was a young’un. I think I was maybe 17, or something. Maybe younger. And I didn’t like it. I think it’s because I wasn’t good enough in English, so maybe I didn’t get the book completely. So I tried again, because I didn’t feel sad enough, I guess.

So this book starts out in 1801 with a man named Lockwood, who is currently lodging at Thrushcross Grange. He goes across the moor and ends up at Wuthering Heights, where he meets his landlord; Mr Heathcliff. He seems like a gentleman, but a bit uncouth. He also meets a young Mrs Heathcliff, Mr Heathcliff’s daughter-in-law, and a young man named Hareton Earnshaw. They seem quite unhappy. He’s trapped in the house over night and is haunted by someone who wants Heathcliff. The next day Lockwood’s housekeeper starts telling him the unhappy story of Heathcliff, Catherine Earnshaw and their just catastrophic love story. When Cathy is young her dad adopts Heathcliff and they become best friends. Heathcliff is a bit dark and rude, and he is not loved by Catherine’s brother Hindley. When Earnshaw senior dies Hindley terrorizes Heathcliff, and to an extent Catherine. Catherine marries a neighbour, Edgar Linton, basically to get away, and Heathcliff leaves. He promises to exact his vengeance on Hindley, and Catherine, for daring to marry someone else.

Thoughts (spoiler city)
I actually liked it this time. Well, that’s maybe an overstatement, I guess. It was beautifully written, and it was strong, and gorgeous. It was also exhausting. I feel like people say it’s a love story. I guess. If the love stories you read are full of abuse, arrogant assholes, vengeance plots, and people digging up the people they love. So yes.

Every single person in this book was at some point a horrible person, except Lockwood, but he doesn’t really feature so much. They’re all awful. So you can’t really relate to anyone. Some people say Nelly Dean is good, no. She’s an unreliable narrator, she’s self righteous, she flip flops, she also puts herself first pretty much all the time. She’s like, I hope Cathy doesn’t tell her dad this was all my fault, even if it fucking was, because I’m a horrible nanny. God. Take some responsibility dude. I realize she has a self-preservation instinct, but in that case she should try to be a better person.

Heathcliff… He is quite possibly the least pleasant person I’ve ever read about. He’s a villain, but not like Voldemort, he’s scarier somehow for being a person without magic. He is arrogant, he’s conceited, he’s rude, cruel, and he is downright abusive. When they’re kids he and Catherine are friends, and he loves her, and so when she marries he goes completely off the fucking bend and decides that he will destroy the lives of those he feels has wronged him; Catherine Earnshaw, Hindley Earnshaw, which includes Hareton, even though he’s never done anything wrong, Edgar Linton, and then goes on to try to ruin Cathy’s daughter, Catherine Linton. He basically decides to raze the fucking ground. He tricks Cathy’s sister-in-law to marry him, openly derides her, abuses her and tells her openly that he hates her and loves Cathy. When Isabella dies and he takes control of their son he physically and psychologically abuses him. He tricks Hindley out of his money and lands. He forces young Cathy to marry his son so he will get the Lintons’ land when her father dies. He beats her as well. This is how psychotic he is: he buys off Linton’s lawyer so Linton can’t change his will, and then tries to make sure Linton isn’t buried next to Catherine. Because you know, he’s a complete piece of shit. I’ll give him this: he has follow-through. And if you hope he has any redeeming qualities, he doesn’t, in my opinion, he’s the scum of the earth. He made me angry and uncomfortable, and good God.

So does anyone else have redeeming qualities? No. Catherine Earnshaw is pretty, she’s spoiled, she’s mean. She’s cruel. There’s this part in the book where she’s sick, and she’s angry, and being a petulant child, and she says something to the effect of: “I know like, Edgar (her husband) is behaving badly, and I’ve been a bit outrageous, but I like, thought everyone really liked me and liked waiting on me.” Although she sounds less like a 2015 teenager. And when she said that I felt like it completely explained her character. She has no insight into her own character. I feel like I read that and thought: “bitch you’ve been refusing to eat for three days because you had a fucking tantrum. And you’re surprised people are pissed at you?” She’s cruel. She marries Edgar even though she loves Heathcliff, and she seems to blame Edgar for this, for some reason. She acts unreasonable, she is conceited and fucking horrible. I’m a bit angry with her.

Her husband does have some redeeming qualities. I don’t see why he marries her, that’s one thing. She’s completely crazy, you jackass. He’s not the most awful person in the book. But he seems to feel sorry for himself for loving Catherine. Dude! She loves Heathcliff and she straight up physically attacked you, and you just thought: yeah, I need to get up on that. He is however a good father. He walks with his daughter, he truly loves her and when his sister dies he steps up to help his nephew, even though Heathcliff comes and fucks that up, because of course he does. He tries his best to keep Cathy away from Heathcliff, in the hope that his daughter might avoid the awful fate of the rest of the family. He really tries.

Cathy Linton, and her cousin, Linton Heathcliff, are more annoying than anything else, well Linton is a piece of shit. Cathy is a lot like her mother. She’s spoiled, she’s conceited and beautiful. The first time she meets Hareton she is furious when told he’s her cousin, because she thinks he’s stupid and mean, and she refuses to acknowledge that he is her cousin. She’s impatient and rude. She does however try very hard to better herself, particularly towards Hareton, at the end. She’s very teenager-y, so I felt like I could forgive a lot of her behaviour. And she is… very loving and devoted to both her dad, and Linton. She will do anything for them both, which is a sympathetic trait, and she is very tortured by Heathcliff the older, and it turns her to this sort of darkness as well, but she slides out of it again. So I liked her, but she also annoyed me.

Linton Heathcliff is sickly and whiny, and he wants everyone to look after him, which, surprise, surprise, is incredibly grating for his dad. He is clearly abused by his father, which doesn’t really help his constitution. He knows Cathy loves him, and even though he has been abused, he doesn’t try to turn this to something better, but turns around and abuses her as well. She tries to be kind and helpful, and he’s just a jackass. A sickly, whiny, petulant, abusive, jackass.

So pretty much none of the characters are kind, relatable or in anyway pleasant, and I couldn’t find anyone to like. I still really liked the book. I mean it was exhausting and depressing, and it made me feel like I’d never be happy again, but still. The way it was written was just amazing. It was beautiful, and it’ll sound a bit sick, but I liked that it seemed like the horror would never end. Because it was just very consistent, and it was impressive that she made me feel like the world was just full of darkness and no hope. I don’t know why I liked that, but I did. I might actually buy a new copy, one that matches my Jane Eyre, because I only have this cheap Penguin version and I don’t really like it. I might, who am I kidding? I will.


It was good. I liked it, it made me feel hopeless and a bit depressed, but I still liked it and I like unlikeable characters, so that part didn’t necessarily bother me. Because even though I hated them all I still wanted to know what happened to them. So I liked it, I guess. Rave reviews.