Thursday, August 30, 2012

Wuthering Heights: An Overview

Hey there. This is a preface. I promised that I'd post this now-semi-infamous review of Wuthering Heights. I am in my first week of school, so I don't exactly have time to post the original content this Friday (considering I'm announcing for the Golden Cougar Marching Band this fall). So, I'll give you the following. If I find time, I'll post more. I am also going to answer some of the questions my teacher had at the end. The <<number>> denotes the placement of these comments.

For the original Journal in its entirety: click here.

So I recently finished the novel Wuthering Heights.

If I were to describe it in a few words, it would be summed up as a dark love-story in reverse. I can see how this was hailed as a classic because for its time, this love-story-in-reverse is a revolutionary idea.

I guess I should explain why it is a love story in reverse. It seems that the only time everyone was truly happy was in the beginning of Mrs. Dean's tale. As the novel progressed, all of the characters seemed to get angrier in countenance as their stories and injustices deepened.

This novel basically follows the life and times of the (extremely) evil Heathcliff, incited by Lockwood meeting him, and asking Mrs. Dean about him.

If I were to assign a generic theme to this novel it would be: Don't be a Heathcliff. However, I don't think that serves as a theme as much as it serves as just good advice. So, I guess in a broader sense, a theme could be that love can prevail only if both parties pursue it.

Another could be along the lines of that of Romeo and Juliet, where the inevitability of fate <<1>> plays a rather huge role. It seems that every character is realistic in the sense of how they are their own person, and organically make decisions of their own accord without realizing how it affects one another.

Love plays a role in this novel in complicating itself. (I need to explain this...) Heathcliff loves Catherine I, and that's plain as day. However, because of his three-year absence, Catherine I moves on and marries Edgar Linton, writing Heathcliff off as escaped and possibly dead. He comes back, and is essentially told "you snooze, you lose" and he cannot find it inside of himself to move on. His life's mission is avenge this doomed love.

It appears that Heathcliff was doomed from the start with this love, after all, why couldn't he have just written her off as a sister, and loved her in that sense? <<2>> It probably would have made him less a devil and less a tortured soul. (Remember that in this universe, it is apparently okay to marry your cousin?)

I have been looking at this novel through the eye of a high school sophomore in the United States in 2012. My guess is that some of the goings-on in this novel would make more sense to me if I were a fifteen or sixteen year old living in the late 18th century. Nevertheless, it stands out to me as a reverse love story which Mr. Lockwood played as a vessel, and not a pivotal piece (I am still a tad bummed about that part...). <<3>>

I see love as an understanding between two people that there is something more between them. Love is this concept one cannot quantify in mere words, but rather through this mental understanding. There are ways of showing this love, but in the end the love itself is this understanding of one another. It seems that neither Heathcliff nor Catherine I ever understood that part.

Q&A Time:
1) (see note above): Is it Fate? Or is it social class conventions?

A: So I wrote "fate". Just looked this up, the dictionary definition is "The development of events outside a person's control, regarded as determined by a supernatural power." However, it appears that I was wrong in it, but rather it is a percieved fate. They controlled most of their own life, that is Heathcliff and Catherine I. The only event that is fate in this sense is the fact that Catherine I died. Had she married Heathcliff, I don't think she would have lived any longer, but that is one man's opinion. As for social class issues, I don't think that anything other than Heathcliff's lack of last name qualifies for a class difference. If they were meant to be, love would probably conquer...

2)Because they are soul mates!

A: I am not qualified to answer this comment, but I'll give it a whack. I'll define soul mate officially as "A person ideally suited to another as a close friend or romantic partner." (google ftw!). Analyzing the traits of Catherine I and Heathcliff, they kind of are soul mates. If you consider two overly bitter people compatible. I don't know love. See my next post.

3) But why is Nelly telling him the story? What role might he play?

A: Simply, Lockwood asked. He plays the role only as the realization of the dream of Heathcliff. Heathcliff wanted to destroy Edgar Linton's happiness. He wanted to have Wuthering Heights AND Thrushcross Grange, only to keep one and rent the other out. The latter is the role Lockwood holds. I kind of thought that he could have written the next chapter, and maybe changed Heathcliff, or maybe saved Catherine II. I don't know.

Special Thanks to Ms. Oravitz for playing along!

For the original Journal in its entirety: click here.

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