When I started this blog, my only true goal was that, unlike every blog I’ve attempted previously, I would actually post to it. However, it’s a fair self-assessment to say that focusing on one particular interest is kind of difficult for me. A travel blog? A sewing blog?! A blog just about whatever I want?!?! Now we’re talking…
I love to read, and many (many) times I’ve said I wish I could just be a book critic or something! And I thought ah! Genius! I may not be getting paid, but I can write whatever I’d like on here. So heretofore, Samantha Rambles is neither a travel nor sewing nor particular blog. I guess I’ll put it under the lifestyle category, since I’m writing about my life, in the style of me!
Now on to the books.
When I graduated college, I made a reading goal for myself. To read as many classics as possible. What is your definition of classic, you might be wondering? I’ll keep it simple. If it’s old, and famous for something, I’m reading it. So far, my progress has been sporadic, but one novel I read recently stuck out to me like a thorn in my side.
The first time I heard about Wuthering Heights, it was an MTV movie (don’t judge) in my middle school days. I remember that I really liked the movie, though the ending was typical tragedy love stuff. And so I added the book to my reading list, and finally got around to tackling it just a few months ago.
I have heard many a good word said about the Bronte sisters, and those praises are not said in vain. I do enjoy the gothic novel, and Emily Bronte definitely delivers. As a writer, I really enjoyed her ability to set up a scene. However.
What the hell was that book.
From what I’ve heard, the popular opinion is that Wuthering Heights is a great and tragic love story. Heathcliff is that guy you love to hate. Damn, Tom Hardy even played him, so you know that in everyone’s mind, he’s the bad boy who you want to run away with.
And I’m here like, was I reading the same book?
The story is mostly told through detailed flashbacks by a local woman to a new tenant. Heathcliff is this poor orphan kid from the street taken in by nice guy Earnshaw. His family kind of love/hates him, but his daughter Catherine (who is just generally annoying and awful) befriends him. Heathcliff is treated like a son, which guy’s biological son Hindley really resents. As soon as papa Earnshaw is out of the picture, heir-to-all Hindley tries to get rid of Heathcliff asap, which makes Heathcliff understandably resentful also. Catherine, now of marriageable age, decides to go against her heart and love for Heathcliff, and marry local wimp Edgar Linton. I’m telling you, literally none of these characters, apart from the narrator, are likable.
So at this point, it’s all kind of a bummer, but oh well, this is the 1840s. People were still marrying their first cousins. There were lots of choices people had to make that weren’t the greatest. Rather than just deal with it like a normal human, Heathcliff does…Heathcliff, I guess. He starts courting Edgar’s sister, Isabella. Not because he likes her, oh no. But because he hates Edgar (just like, cuz, you know). So he convinces Isabella to elope with him, thereby basically ruining her reputation (again, 1840s), and then beats the shit out of her because he actually really hates her and revenge was his only aim. Knowing full well that none of this will make Catherine leave Edgar and go to him. It’s just because, well take that!
Isabella gets knocked up by him, but escapes to London and has a kid named Linton, who is awful and whiny and sickly like, all the time, whom Heathcliff doesn’t meet until he’s well into adolescence.
More in the kids corral: Catherine has a daughter with Edgar, also named Catherine (yep, also awful). Hindley and his wife had a son named Hareton (so many H’s), but again, it gets ugly. After Hindley’s wife dies, he goes on a bender until he eventually just dies. So Heathcliff steps in and becomes the owner of the house and property, since Hareton is underage. But out of a seemingly endless supply of hatred for this entire family, Heathcliff never tells Hareton that he is the actual heir to this estate, and basically just treats him like a servant.
It gets better!
Heathcliff basically threatens Linton with physical harm to marry Catherine the second. Why? Because he knows that Edgar who would be heartbroken if she were to be married off. Oh yeah. She marries him, goes to live at Wuthering Heights with Heathcliff & Co and he treats her like a servant too. Basically, because he couldn’t be with Catherine (wait–scratch that. Because she chose to marry someone else), he ruined the lives of pretty much everyone associated with her, literally until his last breath.
But we’re supposed to focus on the love story here.
Wuthering Heights? Pass. Downvote. This was like a 19th century of a Law & Order: SVU episode. Nothing but domestic violence and pure hatred and cruelty from start to damn finish. Excellent writing, but oh god how anyone could like this book for any reason other than it being perfectly annoying is beyond my understanding.
In Progress: Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy, and trust me, I’ve got thoughts on this.