I Have Been a Waif for Twenty Years
by Charlotte Reads Classics
And I pray one prayer – I repeat it till my tongue stiffens – Catherine Earnshaw, may you not rest, as long as I am living! You said I killed you – haunt me, then! The murdered do haunt their murderers. I believe – I know that ghosts have wandered on earth. Be with me always – take any form – drive me mad! Only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you!
Always, always, always read your favourite books more than once. I fell in love with Wuthering Heights as a teenager because it was wild. A passionate, emotional book that every stroppy teenager can’t fail to identify with. As an adult – it is so much better. Everything that was difficult the first time (mainly who was related to who, and how) was simple, which meant I could pay attention to parts previously hidden.
I think the biggest thing about Wuthering Heights is confusion at its reputation for being a love story. Yes, Catherine and Heathcliff have no ordinary connection but I can’t help thinking that people who list them as a great couple must be mad! I had forgotten quite how horrible Heathcliff is and that really the book is about the very worst of human emotions: Jealousy, betrayal, revenge. What I really enjoyed during this particular read was the cathartic nature of younger Catherine and Hareton’s relationship. I found it much more touching than I did the first time.
I just really love Wuthering Heights. I can’t write about it in any way that does it justice because it is one of my everything books. It has fantastical depths and unrestrained brilliance and it never leaves you. When I was reading it, I felt like I was Lockwood too – looking in on this tiny rural society. Just read it . And then read it again.
I had an excellent Saturday – spent walking from Haworth to Top Withens, a ruin said to have inspired Emily Brontë when she was writing Wuthering Heights. Luckily, despite being absolutely FREEZING, not only did it not rain, there were even sporadic bouts of sunshine. The walk started in Haworth village and was a seven mile round trip across open moors like this:
I visited the Brontë Parsonage Museum again but didn’t take any photos because I couldn’t beat the amazingly atmospheric mist that had descended when I went last year.
I am reading Shirley by Charlotte Brontë at the moment, although I haven’t read enough yet to talk about it. I think in terms of Brontë-love The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is still my favourite, closely – very closely – followed by Wuthering Heights.
Further reading: I love this Guardian review.
I hope you didn’t feel too much like Lockwood while reading the novel. He is not exactly a good model for a reader – a little too much on the unperceptive side.
Yet the link between my perception and Lockwood’s is created by Brontë herself, as in the amazing “pile of kittens” scene.
What a deep, crazy book.
Well, I hope not in that sense. Love that scene, never fails to make me laugh for his awkwardness!
One of my favorite quotes from Wuthering Heights… heck, from any book. Reread is long overdue here. I just bought the Penguin Deluxe edition for that purpose.
Excellent, don’t have that edition but I covet it furiously!
Yes yes yes. Lovely post. I think part of the reason why so many people hate this novel is because they’re taken aback by the ruthlessness of it. They come prepared to find a love story, when it’s really so much more complicated than that. The bond between Heathcliff and Catherine has more to do with obsession than with love, but nevertheless, it’s still passionate and unyielding and, like I said yesterday, unforgettable.
Ah, Cathy and Hareton. They are the real love story of the book for me. I love the resulting peace and renewed hope that comes with their union.
Also. I’m so jealous of you for walking the moors that inspired Emily Brontë. I hope you don’t mind.
Not at all! 🙂
Thank you for your comment, I really like how you talk about this book because you cut straight to its heart. I find it so odd that it has an overriding reputation for being a romantic book – the label doesn’t do it justice at all!
*flaps hands a bit* There is an actual place that’s the ruin with the tree and I DIDN’T GO THERE! What a FOOL I am! (I got postcards with it on so I know where you’re talking about, but it didn’t occur to me that it was a place!)
But yeah, I LOVE this book. Do you also like Jane Eyre? Cause I adore them both but apparently you’re not supposed to… :s
Thats clearly because you saved something for your next trip 😉 And, no… you must be the exception to the Wuthering Heights vs. Jane Eyre rule. LOVE the Heights (obviously) and HATE Jane Eyre!
I would like to suggest an addendum to cbciucci’s description. Readers come prepared to find a love story, and then stubbornly refuse to adapt to the novel they are actually reading.
That is the part I don’t understand.
I read Wuthering Heights for the first time this past summer and loved it, but it baffles me that anyone could really consider it a love story. It’s so much more, and your review makes me want to pick up it and read it again right now.
I’m glad it had that effect and I agree – there is much more to it, and I think Catherine and Hareton are much better at love than Cathy and Heathcliff!
You’ve convinced me, I really need to re-read this book soon!
Yes! Do it!
I read this for my English lit A level (the qualification we used to take at 18 in the UK) and even now I can remember some of the passages.
I did Frankenstein at A level and have a similar recall now!
I agree that a lot of readers come to this with the mistaken idea that they’re going to read a love story. Whilst the connections in the book couldn’t be described as love in the romantic, fictionalised sense, they could perhaps be considered a different aspect of the same emotion. If not the earthy, transcendent connection as Cathy would have it hear and Heathcliff’s case, then certainly infatuation, which is certainly not Romantic Love, but possibly love in a different form? (I’m undecided)
Anyway, one of my favourite books; always pleased to have this reaffirmed when I re-read it.
Yes it is a book that gets you thinking about love outside of the ordinary forms. Plus is interesting to try to understand why people come to it with the idea that it is a love story to then read it and realise they are mistaken!
Haha…it’s funny to consort with the “enemy” camp. I LOVE Jane Eyre and I HATE Weathering Heights. Well, until I reread it this year for the first time since I was 12. (A 12-years-old should be not be allowed to read this book.) WH is BRILLIANT in a forbidding way where as Jane Eyre is more conventional. You can see that Emily is the “genius.” (I don’t want to betray Charlotte now after loving her for so long, but as a reader, I should know a genius when I read one.)
Haha yes enemies indeed! The thing about Jane Eyre for me that as a story it was great and I find myself thinking fondly of it… but then I remember that when I was actually reading it I didn’t really like it. Whereas Wuthering Heights is excellent on both fronts!
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I read the great Wuthering Heights after visiting Haworth. But once you’ve been there, your perception of the landscapes and the scenes in the book are helped by your memories, and it is just a wonderful experience.
I utterly agree with you about how people see the couple of Heathcliff and Catherine. The book is more about the weird and complex personality of Heathcliff than a dramatical break-up between him and C. Earnshaw (even if this love story helps to create his horrific mind).
Great analysis of the story!
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