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Book Review: Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

Introduction: Wuthering Heights Book Review

"Wuthering Heights" is a masterpiece of Emily Brontë (1818—1848), the second sister of the famous three Brontë sisters in the British literary world, and is a shocking "strange novel". 

The outcast Hickley and the only daughter of the owner of "Wuthering Heights", Catherine, their childhood sweethearts, were separated by worldly pressure. 

After Catherine died prematurely, Hickley's affection turned into resentment towards everything around him. People started frantic revenge, and finally felt Catherine's call, and the lover finally reunited after death. 

The earth-shattering and transcending love between the two is integrated with the wasteland and violent nature. The whole novel is like a long, passionate narrative poem.
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About the Author

Emily Bronte (1818~1848), British novelist and famous poetess. Together with their sisters Charlotte Bronte and Ann Bronte, they are known as the "Three Sisters of Bronte" and are well-known in the British literary world in the 19th century. 

The three sisters were born in a poor pastor's family and grew up in a boarding school. In 1837, Emily Bronte taught in a rural school and died of lung disease at the age of 30. Her works are full of philosophy and mystery, fresh style, and sonorous rhythm. The novel "Wuthering Heights" is the only novel in her life, which established her position in the history of English literature. 


Book Review: Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
Author: Emily Brontë 
Publisher: Penguin Classics 
Publication year: 2002-12 
Pages: 416 
Finishing: Paperback 
Series:  Penguin Classics 

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Excerpts from the original text

If I were entirely contained here? My great miseries in this world have been Heathcliff's miseries, and I watched and felt each from the beginning: my great thought in living is himself. If all else perished, and he remained, I should still continue to be; and if all else remained, and he were annihilated, the universe would turn to a mighty stranger; I should not seem a part of it. (Catherine) --My love for Linton is like the foliage in the woods; time will change it. I'm well aware, as winter changes the trees. My love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath a source of little visible delight, but necessary. Nell, I am Heathcliff! He's always always in my mind; not as a pleasure, any more than I am always a pleasure to myself, but as my own being.


Wuthering Heights Book Summary

Since then, I have refreshed my understanding of novels and British writers' understanding of human nature. Emily is indeed the most outstanding female writer of the nineteenth century. In this world, women's understanding of men has always been deeper than men's understanding of women. Many of the misfortunes of men stem from the lack of women. 

His mother was lost when he was young, and his lover was lost in his youth. The whole book is a climax. Some people say that the reading process is very unpleasant. I think the shackles of human nature are the only depressive unpleasantness. 

Wuthering Heights is deformed, sadomasochistic, and full of violent and abused images, but there is no discomfort. Emily's work is perfect even in terms of structure, and it is a ready-made script.




Wuthering Heights Book Review

When I was reading "Wuthering Heights", I happened to be reading "The Count of Monte Cristo", and found that the male protagonists of these two works have quite a lot of similarities: both of them are women who are beloved and marry others, and they are both crushed by the enemy and ill-fated, Are all revenge crazy after getting rich suddenly...

However, when I finished reading these two books, I totally changed my mind.

In "The Earl of Monte Cristo", the Earl repays his benefactor generously and shows no mercy to the three enemies. However, when he learns that the benefactor’s son is in love with the enemy’s daughter, he will take care of the girl in every possible way. When he sees the enemy’s young son being poisoned and killed, he will also be extremely painful and feel that his sin exceeds the limit of revenge.

In "Wuthering Heights", unlike the Earl of Monte Cristo's "good and evil are rewarded", Heathcliff doesn't care about kindness, only remembers hatred, and long-term mental and physical abuse of his enemies and relatives, even his own innocent The son never let it go, he is a complete beast.

Heathcliff's rare cruelty is shocking the world in the history of world literature with the theme of love. The in-depth analysis of him, including his and Catherine's love and death, and the inextricable connection between the author of the book Emily Bronte and the beast she made, are the topics that this article wants to explore.

1. Spiritual twins

When Old Earnshaw adopted Heathcliff, he was about 13 years old. His Gypsy descent gave him dark skin, black eyes, and hair. Old Earnshaw loved him even more than his sons and daughters.

Heathcliff has a very good relationship with Catherine, who is about the same age, and Hindley thinks that he has taken away his father's love and is deeply jealous of him, and therefore has an affair with his sister.

It is worth noting that Catherine is not a silly and sweet, but a wild and mad girl who wanders in the desolate wilderness with Heathcliff every day. The two grow freely like weeds.

Because of this, she agrees with Heathcliff. They are sloppy, unruly, and stubborn, laughing together for pranks, being scolded and punished together but not paying attention. There is only one punishment that makes them extremely painful. , That is to separate them.

After the death of Old Earnshaw, Hindley, who became the head of the family, took the opportunity to retaliate and demoted Heathcliff from an adopted son to a slave, depriving him of the opportunity to be educated with Catherine. Li Fu stepped on his feet hard.

On the contrary, Catherine got acquainted with the elegant and decent neighbors—the Linton family. Under their influence, she no longer rejected her sister-in-law in dressing her in a dress and dressing her up as a young lady.

Although Catherine originally believed that nothing could change her deep friendship with Heathcliff, Heathcliff became more and more difficult to get along with because of her low self-esteem, especially with the gentle and courteous Edgar. Compared with Linton, Catherine was a little disappointed, and the balance of emotions slowly tilted.

However, even in this case, Catherine still regarded Heathcliff as an irreplaceable soul mate:

"That's not because he is beautiful, but because he is more like myself than me. No matter what our soul is made of, his and mine are exactly the same; and Linton's soul is like moonlight and lightning, or frost. It's completely different from fire."

In the end, Catherine accepted the proposal of Edgar Linton, who was diametrically opposed to her. That night, Heathcliff walked away from home with a broken heart.

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2. Heathcliff's Revenge

Catherine and Edgar Linton's wedding

A few years later, shortly after Catherine married Edgar, Heathcliff returned home in good style. Over the course of twenty years, he burned everyone who was wrong or innocent with a vengeance fire. ash.

There is only one exception, and that is Catherine herself. Just like the quarrel between Catherine and Heathcliff:

Madam Linton exclaimed in amazement: "I used to treat you very viciously—you want revenge! How do you get revenge? An ungrateful beast? How vicious did I treat you?"

"I don't want to retaliate against you," Heathcliff replied, a little less angry. "That's not in the plan... You tortured me to death in order to make myself happy, I am willing; just allow me to make myself happy in the same way,..."

At the same time, Catherine's sister-in-law Isabella enthusiastically fell in love with this mysterious and unruly visitor. She was accustomed to seeing her brother Edgar's cowardly and gentle character and was conquered by Heathcliff's domineering male charm, and she wanted to marry him.

Catherine saw this and tried to persuade Isabella, desperately to explain to her Heathcliff's cruel nature:

"An unnamed person, ignorant of elegance, no education, a wilderness with gorse and rocks. If you want me to give your heart to him, I would rather put that little canary in the garden in winter It’s a pity that you don’t understand his character, child, and there is no other reason. 

It’s this sad confusion that makes that dream come into your mind. Please don’t think that he is deep under a stern appearance. Buried kindness and love affair! He is not a rough diamond—a beaded clam among the country folk, but a ferocious, merciless, cruel man like a wolf."

Isabella, who was dazzled by love, said that because she thought Catherine was out of jealousy and didn't want her to take away her former lover, she said this. As Catherine had expected, she fantasized about tame Heathcliff this beast with love, hoping to obtain endless pampering from his heroic admiration.

Heathcliff was very calm in front of Isabella. He had never deceived Isabella with tenderness and even made no secret of his hatred and contempt. On the day Isabella decided to elope with him, Heathcliff was hanging Isabella’s dog and told her that if he could, he planned to hang all Linton’s people like this, only One exception.

Such naked malice didn't make Isabella wake up, thinking that the exception he was talking about was referring to herself.

Soon, Isabella fully realized Catherine's foresight, and all her predictions about Heathcliff were fulfilled.

After the marriage, Heathcliff tried all kinds of ways to humiliate and abuse Isabella. When she endured the humiliation again and again and treated him well regardless of the previous humiliation, he instead called her a "sordid bitch." In a fierce dispute, Heathcliff threw a table knife at Isabella and slashed her face with blood, which made her wake up, fled to the field, and gave birth to his son Kobayashi. Dumb.

At the same time, Catherine was seriously ill, and after exchanging in tears and kisses with Heathcliff, she gave birth to her little Catherine, who died within a few hours. This shattered the last trace of Heathcliff's tenderness, allowing him to vent his hatred to every Earnshaw and every Linton, so as to alleviate the despair of losing his beloved love.

Heathcliff seduced Hindley into drinking and gambling, and lost all of Earnshaw's estate to him; after Hindley died, he deprived Hareton of the opportunity to be educated and deliberately made him grow into a rough farmer, just like Hindley. Do the same to him once.

He also hated his son, Linton, because he possessed the looks and cowardly character of Linton, which he hated the most; when the children were more than ten years old, he cunningly tricked little. 

When little Catherine rose up to resist, he didn't care that this was the daughter of his beloved woman, and she beat her mouth full of blood. When little Catherine agreed to get married, he ignored his seriously ill son, thinking that he had no use-value, and even the doctor was reluctant to ask him, so he let him die of illness, making little Catherine a widow as soon as she got married.

In this way, all the properties of the Earnshaw and Lintons fell into Heathcliff’s hands through their in-law relationship, and the children of the enemy were under his deterrence, wantonly beating and insulting, and Servant is no different.

As we can see, in the pedigree chart at the beginning of this article, everyone except Catherine himself will be destroyed by his revenge. And his behavior has obviously exceeded the level of "reporting grievances directly", full of brutal and brutal beasts.

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3. Catherine's love and choice

This terrible revenge of Heathcliff lasted for twenty years in the gloomy wilderness of Yorkshire, destroying two well-established ancient families, and costing two entire generations a painful price. If the kind old En Xiaoquan knows, I wonder if he would regret leading the wolf into the house. If I knew this was the result, it would be better to let this gypsy outcast starve to death on the street.

However, we can all see that the real turning point of fate lies in Catherine's choice. She married Edgar, not Heathcliff. Even more bizarre, she loved Heathcliff from beginning to end. On the night that Edgar agreed to marry him, she described her feelings to the housekeeper like this:

"In this world, my greatest grief is Heathcliff’s grief, and I have noticed and felt each other from the beginning. In my life, he is my strongest miss. If everything else All is destroyed, and he stays, I can continue to live; if everything else stays, but he is wiped out, this world will become a very strange place to me."

Of course, she didn't love Edgar, and she was overshadowed by her love for Heathcliff:

"My love for Linton is like a leaf in the woods. I fully know that when the trees change in winter, time changes the leaves. My love for Heathcliff is like the permanent rock below, though It doesn’t seem to give you much pleasure, but this pleasure is necessary."

More importantly, Catherine knew clearly that she loved Linton because she loved him for beauty, for his gentleness, for his diligence, for his youth, and for his decent; however, the reason she loved Heathcliff was because of them. Originally twins in spirit:

"I am Heathcliff! He is always in my heart. He is not as a pleasure, not necessarily more interesting than me to me, but as myself."

What kind of love can surpass the highest state of "you are me and I am you"? Even though it is such a strong feeling for Heathcliff that has been integrated into the blood, Catherine still chooses to marry Edgar, why is it so?

Heathcliff couldn't figure it out all the time. After he returned, he bitterly mocked Catherine, who was already Mrs. Linton:

"I wish you happiness in this stinky kid, Katie! I congratulate you on your taste. What you don't want me and would rather want is that drooling, trembling thing!"

Yes, we don’t understand, countless readers in the past two hundred years are equally confused because the reasons given by Catherine in the book are completely untenable. Catherine's plan is to use the wealth and relationship of the Linton family after marrying Edgar to help Heathcliff change his destiny so that he can gain status and respect.

We still remember that when she persuaded Isabella not to fall in love with Heathcliff, she had a sharp insight into Heathcliff. She is him, she knows him as she knows herself, how could she not know that with Heathcliff's character, she would rather die ten thousand times than accept any help and charity from the Linton family.

In some adaptations of film and television dramas, in order to justify her claim, Catherine was deliberately portrayed as a vain girl, seizing the words she had said: "Marrying Heathcliff will degrade my status." In fact, Heathcliff also ran away angrily because he overheard this sentence, instead of hearing Catherine's explanation and affectionate confession later.

It is worth noting that Catherine’s family Earnshaw and Edgar’s family Linton belong to the same class. Even if the Earnshaw family is not as rich as the Linton family, there are still cooks, butlers, and maids, and there are people to take care of everything. Catherine does not have an urgent need for marriage to change her destiny.

Since Catherine chose Edgar, not because of greed for vanity, how can she explain her feelings for Heathcliff?

It was not until I learned about the life of Emily Bronte, the author of Wuthering Heights, that the answer was right before my eyes.

4. Emily Bronte: A woman with a "beast" in her heart

In Emily Bronte's short life of 30 years, "Wuthering Heights" is the only work she left behind.

She, her sister Charlotte Bronte and her sister Anne Bronte, are also known as the "Three Bronte Sisters" in the history of English literature, and they have their respective works handed down to the world and occupy a place.

The place where the story takes place in "Wuthering Heights" is a desolate wilderness in Yorkshire, which is also the place where Emily spends her life. She was born in a pastor’s family and her family is not very good. She and her three sisters went to a boarding school in poor conditions. 

She did not eat well and had poor hygiene. Both of her sisters died because of this. She and her sister Charlotte’s health was also affected, so he dropped out of school and went home. From then on, he only went to school intermittently, without a systematic education. Later, in order to make a living, I worked as a tutor for a period of time. The Three Sisters planned to open a school, but never recruited students.

Compared with the famous writers who lived and died, Emily's life experience is surprisingly simple. So some people suspect that such a taciturn, withdrawn, shy, and single-experienced priest daughter, even stammers, unable to speak a complete sentence when young men and women gather. Can such a person write such painful passion and cruel and tyrannical works like "Wuthering Heights"?

In my opinion, only Emily can write this shocking novel.

Emily is tall, with slender limbs, and when she wears beautiful clothes, she looks noble and extraordinary. However, when she wandered lazily in the wilderness of her hometown, whistling at the dog and trekking long distances on rugged roads, she seemed unruly. In the eyes of the villagers, she was said to be "more like a boy than a girl." child".

In fact, Emily's character is indeed lacking in femininity, with a kind of rock-like hardness and strength. She is smart but very stubborn. As long as she goes against her will, no one will listen. Such a strong and arbitrary will prevents her from being intimidated by any difficulties and will never give in easily.

Under such arrogance, it is easy to go to the other extreme, which is the hidden tyranny. One thing is very clear about her personality traits.

Someone once gave Emily a bulldog named "The Butler". Out of the nature of this fierce dog, the "Steward" is close to acquaintances, but if someone hits it, it will arouse its cruel animality. The "housekeeper" has a bad habit. He likes to sleep on the owner's bed and trample on the white sheets. After being complained by the maid again, Emily announced that if the "butler" did this again, she would beat it up severely. For the bulldog's ferocious temperament, even an adult man, this is definitely not a wise decision.

Sure enough, the old "housekeeper" problem was committed again, and Emily was so angry that her face became pale and her lips closed tightly, and her sisters were afraid to come to her. She dragged the "housekeeper" downstairs from the bed and held it by the neck, causing it to bark ferociously. She put the dog in the narrow space under the stairs, and she couldn't get the stick at all, otherwise, she would be easily rushed by this furious beast and suffered a fatal attack.

So, Emily clenched her fist directly, before it jumped up, slammed its fierce red eyes, cursing, until its eyes were swollen and almost blind.

However, when she punished the "housekeeper", she would personally apply heat to her and take care of her swollen eyes.

In fact, Emily does not want to abuse animals. On the contrary, she is indifferent to most people and has almost no friends. On the contrary, she prefers to get along with more ferocious animals. She especially likes their wildness and ease of control.

We can't help but think that these beastly traits are also a portrayal of Emily's own character. Beneath her silent and lonely appearance, there was a rush of blood.

5. Emily Brontë’s emotional suspicion

Emily was unmarried until she died of lung disease at the age of 30. After we have carefully sorted out her life trajectory, it can even be said that she has remained single all the time.

Because of the severe masculinity in her character, Maugham even asserted that Emily Bronte is gay. In the past few years, some people wrote papers on this topic, which is really ridiculous. The reason they think Emily is gay is probably not much better than the reason the villagers think she is "more like a boy than a girl."

After all, it's just gender stereotypes.

It is easy for us to think that Catherine in "Wuthering Heights" is also such a "girl who is not like a girl". Catherine was running wild like a boy, and her family had always had a headache about it. One night, because she was ill, she rarely leaned meekly on her father's lap, and there was a conversation like this:

"Why can't you be a good girl forever, Katie?" She raised her face and laughed at him and replied, "Why can't you be a good man forever, father?"

At this moment, Heathcliff was lying on the floor, resting on Catherine's leg. Obviously, despite the similar temperaments of the two children, Old Earnshaw would not ask Heathcliff "Why not be a good boy", but rather favored him very much, just because he was a boy, these stubborn wilds became Understandable.

In fact, among Emily's five siblings, Branwell, the only boy, is indeed loved by his father and his writing talents, but he is unlearned and unskilled. He left him in alcohol early. Otherwise, perhaps he will become the fourth "Bronte" left in the history of English literature.

For this casual brother, Emily is more or less envious: He is a boy, so he can drink and have fun, casual and relaxed, but she has to converge on her nature, put on a petticoat and behave A well-behaved tutor is like Catherine who is growing up and becoming more and more "woman".

What's interesting is that Emily hates to socialize with people. She can't even talk about politeness to the assistant pastor of her father, but she has an excellent relationship with one person, who is Pastor William Wittman.

He was young and handsome at the time, with excellent eloquence, intelligence, and knowledge. What's more interesting is that he had a certain girlish appearance and manners on him, so he was called "Celia Amelia" in Bronte's house. Miss".

In other words, Emily, a boyish girl, has a blue eye for this girlish boy. Obviously, this Pastor Wittmann is the prototype of Edgar in "Wuthering Heights."

In her only novel, Emily made her avatar Catherine full of closeness and affection for Edgar, and agreed to his marriage proposal, married him, and had children. So, it is not difficult for us to imagine what kind of feelings Emily has for Pastor Wittmann in reality. Those speculations about her being gay are self-defeating.

6. "Good Girl" and "Beast": Discipline and Resistance

In the 19th-century English countryside where Emily lived, gender disciplines like this have probably followed her since she was a child. Like a girl "more like a boy than a girl", Emily created a beast named "Heathcliff" in the pain of this repressive nature and forced to tame.

He was wild and unruly, and always drifted away from civilized society. Even in the few years, he was out, his appearance has become more and more alike, but his heart is still the lone wolf that is difficult to tame and ferocious and willful. Others are easily deceived. For example, Isabella, only Catherine, sees his consistent nature through appearance.

Catherine mentioned many times the unity of her and Heathcliff in soul and spirit. However, as they grew older, they had to part ways-Catherine was domesticated and became a "good girl" in the traditional sense, wanting to be a good wife and mother; while Heathcliff refused to be tamed and became aggressive. The "wild beast" held high the butcher knife of vengeance.

For this change, Catherine was full of contradictory pain. She married Edgar who represents "civilization", but she always had a deep nostalgia for Heathcliff, because he represented her unfettered youth. .

This also made Catherine cry out in pain from the bottom of the heart when she was critically ill:

"I wish I was outside! I wish I was a girl again, savage, stubborn, and free. Any harm would only make me laugh and not drive me crazy! Why did I become so powerful?"

Isn't this the cry of Emily's soul? She wants to get rid of the social discipline of "good girls", but can't do it. She can only project her repressed self into her only novel: Catherine is the domesticated Heathcliff, Heath Cliff is an undomesticated Catherine, and Catherine and Heathcliff together are what Emily Bronte has.

Even today, nearly two hundred years after the publication of "Wuthering Heights", gender discipline is still like a sword of judgment, hanging high in every girl's heart: "You have to be gentle and sensible", "You have to do more housework, otherwise Can’t get married", "You should get married earlier, the older you are, the less valuable you are"...

These countless "you want" and "you should" have been haunting Emily's ears for thousands of years, and now they are still haunting every woman's ears, whipping their free and casual nature and confining them that should be unfettered. soul. When will such discipline come to an end?

Just like Heathcliff and Catherine in their teenage years, they wandered in the desolate wilderness all day, not as "boys" and "girls", but as two independent people, the world is vast, and they have their own place.

Study notes(by page no#160)

'I wish I could hold you,' she continued, bitterly,' till we were both dead! I shouldn't care what you suffered. I care nothing for your sufferings. Why shouldn't you suffer? I do! Will you forget me- will you be happy when I am in the earth? Will you say twenty years hence, "That's the grave of Catherine Earnshaw. I loved her long ago and was wretched to lose her.



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