Sunday, February 9, 2014

And whether they wander the moors...

There were certain preconceived notions working against me in reading this book.  Although I was told beforehand that there were no likeable characters within it, I didn't take this to heart.  Heathcliff and Catherine are classic characters, I told myself.  Surely, they have some good qualities, or else why would people carry on about them?

Heathcliff is truly repulsive by the end of this novel, and I found myself relieved when he was dead.  The manner in which he treated Catherine Jr. (the daughter of his romantic interest) was so reprehensible that any sympathy I had for him quickly vanished.  He was selfish and hateful, and no matter how deeply he claimed to love Catherine, to treat her daughter that way was repugnant.  Love for her should have motivated him to help her daughter rather than lash out at her as though she were an extension of her father.  I suppose even in life Catherine did not have the hold over him she supposed she did, or else he would not have married against her wishes.

The part I appreciated about the ending most greatly was the failure to confirm that any such ghosts attended the moors as Catherine Linton and Heathcliff, and in fact such a notion is largely dismissed by the narrator.  Heathcliff desired the grave, and he acquired it, and there he lay quietly as all men do.  To die and be buried beside someone is no sweet reunion.  Far better to spend your time with your loved ones in life and in memory than to wish for death, for there is no guarantee of awakening anew.  I greatly understand his loneliness and regret, but it did not excuse his behavior.

I suppose the final verdict for me in the case of this book is that occasionally it entrusted the story to as many of as three narrators at once, which is excessive.  I did have occasion to look up a few words in this novel, which was luckily considerably shorter than the last I read.  Wuthering, by the by, is a roaring sound, such as made by the wind, which is an apt name for a book with such a setting.

It was a wearying read, which I am relieved to finish.  I liked it fairly well, though I will never read it again so long as it isn't required of me.  It appealed to my own melancholy too greatly.

For my next blog post, I aspire to happier topics.