Wuthering Heights is a story of brooding passion and worsted revenge. The story begins when Mr. Lockwood, tenant of “The Granges” goes to meet his landlord Heathcliff who is also the master of another mansion named Wuthering Heights. Due to a sudden thunderstorm he is forced to stay the night at the Heights, in a room that once belonged to a Catherine Earnshaw. Strange happenings and weird behavior of the people at the mansion make Lockwood enquire with his housekeeper about the family at the Heights. Nelly, the housekeeper then narrates the story of Catherine and Heathcliff and how Heathcliff as an orphan was brought to the Heights. Heathcliff was bullied by Catherine’s brother but Catherine and Heathcliff grow up to be inseparable. Though Catherine loves Heathcliff, she feels she cannot marry him. Catherine tells Nelly that she can never marry Heathcliff because it would degrade her to do so .Over hearing the conversation, Heathcliff runs away and return years later only to find that Catherine has got married to the respectable Linton. Now that he has nothing to lose, Heathcliff vows to avenge everyone around him for his ill fate. His revenge is so fierce that it affects the lives of different generations of people.
The novel is set in the 18th century in two neighboring houses of the Yorkshire moors.In the novel, social class is of utmost priority, which is the sole reason why Catherine refuses to marry Heathcliff as she feels the marriage will degrade her. The novel is set in a period that is characterized by conflict and separatism within the Protestant Church.
The book begins and ends with Lockwood’s narration and since it is in the present tense, first person mode of narration is used. The rest of the story which is a flashback is narrated by Nelly and the mode of narration is third-person omniscient .Apart from the theme of unbridled love, conflict is also a major theme of Wuthering heights. Conflict is portrayed in the book in relationships, between the two houses i.e., The Heights and the Granges and even in the behavior of the characters in the mansions.
Contrary to many people, I found the Wuthering heights to be far from a romantic fiction. The book takes us through Heathcliff’s constant hate and unquenched thirst for revenge. Heathcliff’s doings are abominable and he is worthy of hate, but all the same we cannot help feeling sorry for him for he too has suffered all his life, in his agonizing passion for Catherine. Since the story takes the readers through different generation, it might seem a little confusing in keeping up with the name of the characters. However, the book is an enjoyable read accounting for its status as a best seller.
Book Reviewed by Hala Hassan
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