I was going to just do my usual review on Goodreads. But since this is a ‘classic’ I thought I ought to put the pen to this paper as it were, as I have much to say.
First let me begin my explaining that I came to this novel completely free of bias. I knew nothing of it. I had not studied it in school nor have I ever had any discussions about it with anyone.
I was glad to find that discussion about this book is indeed warranted, for all it’s only a mere 212 pages long. I finished it so quickly I surprised myself. That’s a very short read for me! Luckily, because the prose is lovely and dense — and by dense I mean no word is left unused or untended — 212 pages seemed an epic tale indeed.
But let’s be real. It’s quite a soap opera isn’t it? I wonder at all these “classic” tales of “literature” sometimes. My eyebrow is lifted with a bit of caustic cynicism… the stories always end up being rather silly and unrealistic tales of high drama. But that’s what we love anyway, isn’t it? So who cares. Toss the actual notion of the ridiculous out the window. We humans love us some drama. Merely because it’s written in the 1840s and with beautiful language people seem to forget or be confused by the fact that this story is.. extremely melodramatic.
First and foremost my singular opinion, quite during my read as well, is that Nelly Dean has some explaining to do. She is the cause of almost all the strife and problems in the entire story. She is a loathsome meddling gossip and liar of the worst order and let’s not forget that she is the primary narrator of the entire tale. I think she falls over herself with evidence of an unreliable narrator.
So how can we even believe the events that transpired those twenty years even happened as she described them? It’s really too bad Emily Bronte died so soon after this was published. I don’t care what Charlotte said about it. No, I’ll leave it to my own devices that Ellen (Nelly) Dean was the true villain of Wuthering Heights. As the reading went I was only surer and surer.
Too many people died in this book from simply having strong emotions. It was a bit stupid but of course it’s a typical trope of the time period, used for plot.
Now I’m sure some are curious (or maybe not?) about what I think about the other characters of the book? What did I think of Hindley (monster), Catherine (brat), Linton (pissant), Isabella (lol), Joseph (religious whack-a-do)… it must be exceedingly difficult for people to find good help to have kept on that old cracked jerk Joseph. Heathcliff? He was a bastard. Cold, calculating, mean. Also extremely passionate. But he wasn’t the villain.
Also, how can anyone believe these are the true natures of these people when it’s Nelly Dean doing the talking about them? Nelly used to be a part of the Earnshaw family! Then when Heathcliff was brought in she was pushed to the side. This doesn’t ring alarm bells immediately for anyone else? The whole damn book is her being jealous of Cathy and hating Cathy and Heathcliff’s love of each other (she herself says this and admits this multiple times in the story). It’s clear as day and plain as the nose on your face.
Something indeed happened near Glimmerton, in Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange, on those plaintive and windswept Yorkshire moors. But unfortunately because of Nelly Dean we will never really know what actually happened. We can just go stare at the perfect quiet earth where they are all buried and wonder.