Wuthering Heights, Life and Growth
How the book you hate can become the book you love most.
"I cannot live without my life! I cannot live without my soul!”
When this question was first posed to me, I had a complete mind blank and couldn’t remember a single book I had ever read. Because I am the typical English student who feels too much and empathises with everything, every book I read affects me in some way. After the mind blank of realising that I have a whole eight shelves of books that I have read, I started thinking about which actually had the most significant impact on my life to date.
“I am Heathcliff!”
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte is not only a book that has taught me about life, but is actually my favourite book. Those who know me will know this already, I think the “I am Heathcliff” mug I got from the Bronte Parsonage is a slight give away to that one, but I can honestly say that at one point I despised the book.
“My love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath: a source of little visible delight, but necessary.”
I read the book for the first time between my first and second year of college and it was actually the book I was going to be studying in my second year and in some ways, I was then forced to read it. I’m not going to lie but I’m a little nervous about writing this next bit, let’s hope my lecturers will forgive me! I was apprehensive about reading it as it was the first Bronte novel I had read and at the time I had the misconception that all Victorian writers were boring and had nothing to write about other than love and romance. Oops.
So, what have we gathered so far: that I actually started out hating my favourite book and the book that has taught me so much about life….
“He is more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same”
After I read it, I was beyond confused. I didn’t understand why people loved this book so much. I thought Cathy was a moody spoiled child, Heathcliff was an angry bitter man who was too caught up on one person and all the other characters were insignificant.
But once I actually started thinking about the book and started to take into account other elements, including Bronte’s own life isolated on the Yorkshire Moore’s I read it again…this time with an open mind. That is the first thing that Wuthering Heights has taught me, to have an open mind. If you read a book with a closed mind, you find all the faults and flaws in a book (like Josephs terrible depiction of a Yorkshire accent…I still don’t understand that one) The same goes for life, if you go through life with a closed mind you see all the faults and flaws in life, getting caught up on the ugly parts and missing the beautiful bits.
“She was a wild wicked slip of a girl. She burned too bright for this world”
I see more of myself in Cathy every time I read the book and understand Heathcliff more and more each time, although I don’t think anyone will ever fully understand Heathcliff, but that’s the whole point…I think. They are both very passionate and fiery characters who have the ability to bring out the best and the worst in each other.
At this point in my life, I was very unsure about myself and was still trying to find my feet. Having had a slightly ‘rocky’ year or so in education I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life which was something that was making me incredibly anxious.
Cathy in a way taught me that it’s okay to not be sure what you want to do with your life. Heathcliff and Cathy are characters who are both lead by their emotions and act based upon what they are feeling at that time. This is simultaneously the best and worst thing to do.
We all feel things and we should be allowed to act upon them and so we should illustrate how we feel. There are so many beautiful moments that Bronte depicts between Heathcliff and Cathy with them being led by their emotions, with my favourite being when they are talking about their ideals of heaven.
We should be able to show how we are feeling, but also within reason. I’m not suggesting you go screaming and shouting “dashing [his] head against the trunk of the tree” like Heathcliff does, but simply expressing feelings is SO important. I have been guilty of both of these reactions and know that screaming and shouting gets you nowhere, thankyou Heathcliff for that valuable lesson.
“Be with me always-take any form-drive me mad! Only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you!”
So, while I hated the book to start with, it is now my favourite book and the book that I turn to when I need some sort of comfort in my life and a way of stopping myself feeling anxious about what the future holds.
It is my way of proving to myself how far I have come in a short space of time, and a reminder of all the lessons I have learned along the way.
by Amy Hardman