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The story of a bitter, jealous man and his dark passion
on September 25, 2017
This is not a love story. This is a tragedy to the very marrow of its bones.
Emily's creation of the little microcosm between Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange had me enraptured for two months reading this. Two generations of Lintons and Earnshaws grow up, squabble, make love, and die -- and the brooding orphan Heathcliff is often at the heart of every single conflict.
As the reader, you need to fight the temptation to commiserate or empathize with Heathcliff, because he's going to disappoint you every single time. He is a monster. He is not the bad boy who can be changed -- he is just a bitter boy and then a bitter man hellbent on wrecking two generations of Lintons and Earnshaws, all for the memory and love of Catherine. In Heathcliff's defense, however, almost everyone in this story is a monster. It is a love story in the same vein that heated soap operas are love stories -- you eat popcorn waiting for what's gonna go wrong next.
I don't quite buy the neat tidy ending -- after watching Heathcliff literally destroy lives, the quick turnarounds and revelations just seem foreign to the narrative. I'm glad that some of the characters finally got to be happy, and tied the loop from the beginning of the novel, but it just didn't sit right with me.
And also, the fact 90% of the story is from the nurse Nelly Dean's recollection of the events is a little ridiculous, and it bothered me how much she was privy to and how sharply she could remember it (and report it!). The funny thing is, though, that Mr. Lockwood is such a dull fop that as soon as he gets control of narration, I wanted Nelly back.
But nevertheless, this is an enthralling story. It is a shame that Emily did not live to write more -- she had a keen mind for what blackness and evil heartache can inspire.