Wuthering Heights – Emily Brontë

I don’t know how to convey my feelings about this book into words. It was a reading that has made a profound impact on me, one I was not expecting to happen.

Wuthering Heights is a classic, written by Emily Brontë in 1847. I have known and heard about this book my whole life, including about it’s protagonists Catherine and Heathcliff and their torture love. I had already known and loved the quotation “whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same”. But even so, I had only tried to read this once before in early 2016 and the translation of my copy at the time made it rough for me. I put that aside and only now in early 2020 I have finally made it through with the book.

My experience reading it this time, with a portuguese translation was absolutely great. Not only the translation fit me, but I enjoyed it. The book flew with incredible pace and lightness, despite the major themes of the novel being rather dark.

“I have not broken your heart – you have broken it; and in breaking it, you have broken mine.”

We follow the lives of two families, the Earnshaws and the Lintons, whom at the beggining of the book are on good terms and then proceed to have a deterioration in their relationship as the novel goes on. One thing that fascinated me and really made me think not only as a reader but as a writer too was the points of view in this narrative. The main characters of the story are not narrators, we cannot know what they think of feel directly and thus it gives so much richness to the story. The narrative in mise en abyme, with Lockwood being the principal narrator and the story being mostly told by Ellen Dean, is the main responsible for leaving us to wonder about the main protagonists inner motives, their deep feelings and the reason why they act the way they do. This technique of a story within a story is really growing on me.

“Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.”

Emily was able to construct a pair of characters for whom we feel both love and hate. I have not experience such ambiguity of feelings towards characters as I have with Catherine and Heathcliff. They were despicable, hateful, and yet I still kept having good feelings towards them amongst the bad ones. It was an incredible reading experience to say the least. It’s like the author kept testing us as readers, giving us more and more hate and asking us “can you still love them?” which made me infact wonder and question myself, what makes a character lovable? What makes a character unlovable? Emily did not write characters that were indeed meant to be liked, and yet my troubled heart fell for them and managed to like those troubled souls. I was astonished by this, as I was by the whole reading experience as I mentioned.

I feel like I need to sit down for about ten years to think about this book and process it fully in it’s pure perfection.

This book became one of my favorites instantly, and I hope to read it again many times in life.

 

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