On Wuthering Heights

I enjoy the little details nestled in the pages of books and that’s the reason why I re-read. Sometimes I re-visit books I may not have loved from the first page but found I had fallen in too deep along the way and I needed to know what happened to characters I invested feelings in, characters that invaded my thoughts, and characters that began to live with me as I made my way through a book. And this brings me to another reason I re-read — sometimes it’s not about the details. Sometimes it’s about the feelings.

Feelings of doom, darkness, depression, and desperation. That’s what I felt re-reading Wuthering Heights. I knew that going in and wasn’t surprised that those feelings surfaced but I also felt something else this time and it was an annoyance with these characters. The self-absorption became too much somewhere around the middle and I put the book down several times to read another story. I’m glad I did because I think if I pushed through I’d have given up.

I won’t go into details of the story itself but I did want to talk about two characters in particular because they are the driving force for the above-mentioned feelings. Heathcliff is simply horrid. Yes, I know you already know this and, no, this is nothing new. I want to feel for him, to understand his hurt, his need to feel loved, but I can’t forgive him or any of his actions. Catherine needs help, is crying out for help, but everyone around her is too tightly bound up in themselves to either accept she needs help or to offer it. All of the characters are crying out for help in their own myriad of ways; except for Lockwood who more or less needs a bedtime story because he’s sick.

Can we talk about Nelly for a moment? She’s one hell of a storyteller! Seriously. She tells everything to a stranger, spills all the family secrets, makes sorry and pointed observations about the people in her life without regret. It makes me wonder if her housekeeping abilities live up to the liveliness of her storytelling abilities. It also makes me question her motives too. These are people she supposedly cares/d about and she tells these stories to a stranger. Then again, she’s living up to my feelings about this book so maybe it’s not odd at all.

Would I re-read Wuthering Heights again? Probably, but it will be a long while before I pick this up again. It’s a book that will forever and always live on my shelf and books with that status are always subject to re-examination. I fully expect the details and feelings to be different next time. I consider that a good thing.

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