Book Review: “Wuthering Heights”

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With its complicated themes and layered narrative, Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights is renowned for being one of the leading novels of the gothic genre. It is undeniably a fascinating read, if only due to the numerous character and plot interpretations that can be had from it.

However, you should not take this book on if you’re not prepared to be fully committed to the storyline. Lockwood, a seemingly unnecessary character, is, in many ways, merely a device for the story to be told through, and yet the first few chapters resolve primarily on his impressions of the Wuthering Heights building and its inhabitants. Arguably, this gives depth and a better understanding of the isolation that Heathcliff and his family experience, but, in many ways, the gripping story of Wuthering Heights doesn’t really begin until after Cathy’s death, and the relationships within the next generation become steadily more intriguing. One thing must be made clear, though; this is not a love story. It is not a cheerful, upbeat novel in which readers have no choice but to expect a happy ending.

Wuthering Heights is a brutal insight to the class divisions and xenophobia of the Victorian Era, its narrative intrinsically linked to themes of envy, betrayal and revenge. Some critics would even go as far to say that the famous couple, Cathy and Heathcliff, never really had a mutual love between them; perhaps Heathcliff’s insanity produced an entire relationship for his deprived mind to obsess over; perhaps our impressions of the perfect, untainted love between them are, in reality, completely deluded.

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4 thoughts on “Book Review: “Wuthering Heights”

  1. Ha ha, I love your review, particularly how you state outright that “this is not a love story”, which is the complete opposite of my review. The reason I interpreted Wuthering Heights as a love story is because I think the pursuit of love still makes for a “love story”, even when the events and outcome are grim. Some people may even prefer it when “happily ever after” is absent from the final page, but to each their own.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I do obviously agree that love is a primary theme of the novel, I just believe that the typical idea of a love story is a more happy one; maybe this is not true, but when I hear that phrase, I don’t think of the harsh reality of “Wuthering Heights”.

      Liked by 1 person

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