Oh, the sweet tragedy of love immortalized in an austere moorland manor! Emily Bronte’s “Wuthering Heights” sweeps you into a storm, raging with raw passion, societal constraints, and the ghostly whispers of love lost, and found, and lost again.
When a wandering ghost named Catherine begs for entrance through a frost-encrusted window, the weary traveler, Mr. Lockwood, is intrigued, to say the least. His landlord and the source of all this supernatural fuss, Heathcliff, remains the epitome of brooding mystery.
We, as readers, are led through the twisted maze of this tragic tale by Nelly, the maid who knows too much. We watch the fates of Heathcliff, a foundling adopted by the benevolent Mr. Earnshaw, and Catherine, Mr. Earnshaw’s fiery daughter, intertwine like the wild gorse bushes of the moors.
- “He’s more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.” – Catherine
- “I have dreamt in my life, dreams that have stayed with me ever after, and changed my ideas; they have gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the color of my mind.” – Lockwood
- “I wish I were a girl again, half savage and hardy, and free…I’m sure I should be myself were I once among the heather on those hills.” – Catherine
- “I cannot live without my life! I cannot live without my soul!” – Heathcliff
- “If all else perished, and he remained, I should still continue to be; and if all else remained, and he were annihilated, the universe would turn to a mighty stranger.” – Catherine
- “Terror made me cruel.” – Heathcliff
- “Be with me always—take any form—drive me mad! Only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you!” – Heathcliff
- “I have not broken your heart—you have broken it; and in breaking it, you have broken mine.” – Heathcliff
- “The entire world is a dreadful collection of memoranda that she did exist, and that I have lost her!” – Heathcliff
- “I am now quite cured of seeking pleasure in society, be it country or town. A sensible man ought to find sufficient company in himself.” – Lockwood
- “Nelly, I am Heathcliff! He’s always, always in my mind—not as a pleasure, any more than I am always a pleasure to myself, but as my own being.” – Catherine
- “I gave him my heart, and he took and pinched it to death; and flung it back to me.” – Catherine
- “I have a strong faith in ghosts: I have a conviction that they can, and do, exist among us!” – Isabella
- “They were silent—their faces hid against each other and washed by each other’s tears.” – Nelly
- “I sought, and soon discovered, the three headstones on the slope next the moor: the middle one grey, and half buried in the heath; Edgar Linton’s only harmonized by the turf and moss creeping up its foot; Heathcliff’s still bare.” – Lockwood
- “Whatever happens, I’ll not be weeping at your funeral.” – Catherine to Isabella
- “My love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath: a source of little visible delight, but necessary.” – Catherine
- “He wanted all to lie in an ecstasy of peace; I wanted all to sparkle and dance in a glorious jubilee.” – Catherine
- “It is for God to punish wicked people; we should learn to forgive.” – Ellen Dean (Nelly)
- “I shall be as dirty as I please, and I like to be dirty, and I will be dirty.” – Heathcliff
- “My love has made me selfish. I cannot exist without you. I am forgetful of everything but seeing you again—my life seems to stop there—I see no further.” – Catherine
These quotes showcase the passion, love, complexity, and darkness of the characters in Emily Brontë’s “Wuthering Heights.”
Bronte takes us on a wild ride with “Wuthering Heights.” It’s a rollercoaster where the highs are as dizzying as the depths are dark. Our tragic hero, Heathcliff, oscillates between love-struck pauper and vindictive tyrant with startling ease. And Catherine? She’s the eye of the storm—beautiful, destructive, and impossible to ignore.
The vivid imagery of the barren moors and the ancient manor mirrors the raw emotions that pervade the novel. It’s a testament to Bronte’s skill as a writer that she can evoke such strong responses from her readers. I’ll admit it—I veered wildly between wanting to strangle Heathcliff and longing to reach into the pages to comfort him.
The prose is poetic and haunting, drawing us deeper into the troubled minds of our protagonists. With each page turned, we plunge further into their world, caught in their tumultuous love that transcends life and death.
I’m torn between a 4 and a 5 for this one. I settled for a 4.5, docking half a point for my own sanity’s sake. This book will grip you, wring you out, and leave you hanging out to dry. But oh, it’s worth it.
Emily Bronte, the middle child of the famous Bronte sisters, wrote just one novel in her short life, but what a novel it is. Born in 1818, Emily had a fascination for the moors surrounding her home in Yorkshire, England. This love shines through in “Wuthering Heights,” her gothic tale of love and revenge. Emily died of tuberculosis in 1848, a year after the publication of her novel, leaving behind a legacy that continues to haunt and fascinate readers worldwide.
Study or Book Club Questions:
- How do the settings of Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange mirror the characters who inhabit them?
- How does Bronte use the narrative technique to enhance the story?
- Can Heathcliff be considered a hero? Why or why not?
- How does the theme of social class affect the course of the narrative?
Where to buy
Feel the storm of “Wuthering Heights” for yourself here at Amazon. Remember, it’s okay to hurl the book across the room. Emily Bronte won’t take it personally. She’s probably cackling in her grave.
There have been several film and television adaptations of Emily Brontë’s “Wuthering Heights” over the years. Here are some of the notable adaptations:
- Wuthering Heights (1939)
Directed by William Wyler and starring Laurence Olivier as Heathcliff and Merle Oberon as Catherine, this adaptation is considered one of the most iconic film versions. A black-and-white drama, it focuses on the romance and tragedy between the two protagonists and won an Academy Award for Best Cinematography.
- Wuthering Heights (1954)
A Mexican film adaptation directed by Luis Buñuel and titled “Abismos de Pasión.” Buñuel’s adaptation deviates from Brontë’s novel in several ways, including changing the character names and the setting to 20th-century rural Mexico.
- Wuthering Heights (1970)
Directed by Robert Fuest and starring Timothy Dalton as Heathcliff and Anna Calder-Marshall as Cathy. The film captures the dark and haunting atmosphere of the book, with cinematography capturing the Yorkshire moors’ bleakness.
- Wuthering Heights (1985)
This made-for-television adaptation by the BBC, directed by Peter Hammond, features Ken Hutchinson as Heathcliff and Kay Adshead as Cathy. The series was aired in five episodes, providing a more in-depth exploration of the novel’s plot and characters. The adaptation was praised for its faithful adaptation of the original story and its evocative portrayal of the novel’s gloomy and atmospheric setting.
- Emily (2022)
Directed by Frances O’Connor, this film adaptation focuses on the life of Emily Brontë, the author of “Wuthering Heights.” Starring Emma Mackey as Emily Brontë, the movie explores Emily’s relationship with her sisters and her passion for writing that led to the creation of her literary masterpiece. As the film centers on Emily Brontë’s life and is not a direct adaptation of “Wuthering Heights,” it might provide a fascinating context for understanding the inspiration behind the novel.