This post contains affiliate links.  On my reading challenge for 2022, I listed reading 12 classics.  Some will be second reads, and some are new reads.  I tackled this goal with Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë as my first book.  I read this book in high school, and I remember deeply sympathizing with Heathcliff.  On my second reading, 32 years later, I did not feel the same way.

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

About Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

Set in the English moors decades ago, the story follows the Earnshaw family.  Mr. Earnshaw has two children–Hindley and Catherine.  When Mr. Earnshaw travels to Liverpool on business, he finds an orphan and brings him home.  He names the orphan “Heathcliff.”

Catherine and Heathcliff are best friends and confidants, but Hindley treats Heathcliff terribly.  When Mr. Earnshaw dies, Hindley becomes the man of the house.  He relegates Heathcliff to servant status.  Because Hindley is an alcoholic, he frequently goes off on drunken rages, with Heathcliff on the receiving end.

Heathcliff’s future is further dashed when Catherine marries a neighbor, Edgar Linton.  Catherine chooses Edgar because of his wealth.  He can give her a life that Heathcliff cannot, even though she’s in love with Heathcliff.

At this final insult, Heathcliff quietly resolves to exact revenge on all who have harmed and dismissed him throughout his time in the Earnshaw home.

My Thoughts on the Book

Ah, how age changes one’s perspective.  When I read this as a teen, I felt deep sympathy for Heathcliff, and though I didn’t like his tactics to get revenge, I understood them.  However, reading Wuthering Heights now as someone firmly entrenched in midlife, I still felt sorry for young Heathcliff.  Yet, I saw his revenge as a complete waste of his life.  He would have been far better off to move and seek his fortunes elsewhere and enjoy his life.  His desire for revenge and the revenge he exacted seemed to deepen his misery, not make him happier.  By the end of the book, I found him a detestable person.  Actually, I disliked all of the characters this go around.

Another aspect that annoyed me is that the story is narrated by the housekeeper, Nelly.  The reader has to learn the entire story through Nelly explaining it to a stranger who comes to rent a property from Heathcliff.  I would have appreciated the story much more if it were narrated differently.

I give Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë 3 out of 5 stars on the Mom’s Plans’ scale.

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