Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Wuthering Heights, Chapters 10-15

We're back IN THE HEIGHTS for another installment. I'm reading along with Jill at Fizzy Thoughts and other friends. My reports are averaging bi-weekly so today I have six chapters from Wuthering Heights to share.

We have an interesting narrator in our friend Nelly the housekeeper. As she relays the facts I keep wondering about her honesty. Does she have something against Catherine? Who wouldn't?

Perhaps Catherine is a victim of her time. She chose social status over love (wasn't that the norm?) by marrying Edgar. And now her decision has come back to haunt her in the form of a new and visually appealing Heathcliff who is her true love.

Heathcliff has arrived at the ball like Cinderella (although he looks nothing like her). His childhood resembled hers as he was reduced to the role of a servant by Hindley, the ugly foster brother. Now Heathcliff's back after three years and looks like a fine gentlemen with money. I wonder what happened to change his circumstances?

If only Heathcliff had stayed long enough to hear Catherine express her love for him. Perhaps he would have swept her away in his arms and lived happily ever after. Happiness, however, is not part of the Wuthering Heights experience.

Edgar is not amused to have Heathcliff back and tells the delighted Catherine she must choose. She does what any good drama queen would do and becomes hysterical, taking on the role of "victim" (is there a shrink in the Heights?) and decides she's dying. Pregnant, yes.

Meanwhile Isabella becomes attracted to Heathcliff (not good) and they elope. Poor Edgar! I do feel sorry for him because he's the true victim (and Isabella too). Edgar takes care of Catherine when she would rather be with Heathcliff. And now Heathcliff has positioned himself as "brother-in-law" by eloping with Isabella. Oy.

Heathcliff also is getting even with Hindley and moves back to Wuthering Heights. He eventually becomes master of the house as Hindley has lost control through gambling.

As we end this segment, Heathcliff rushes back to Catherine and there's passion between them! Edgar comes home and Catherine urges Heathcliff to stay (why not?). Party time.

Joining me on the Wuthering Heights read-along are the following:


  1. I was just starting to consider whether we can take everything Nelly tells us as gospel. Can't put my finger on any specific reason we shouldn't, but still...

  2. Oy indeed. That's an excellent word to describe the whole mess.

  3. I get what you mean. I think she has her own motives in telling the story, but I also think that little question about nelly has to do with this - it's easy to think at first that she is just narrating the story as an independent outsider, but it becomes more and more apparent just what a massive, if subtle, role she has in all of these events and you can't help but sense her juding everyone around her. I think that Nelly is actually quite self-important and as the book progresses it is that sense that makes you question her motives.

    Just a thought

  4. I think Nelly is a fascinating example of the unreliable narrator, and Emily Bronte was brilliant for choosing her.

    That's one of literature's greatest mysteries--where Heathcliff was for three years, and how he ended up with the money. That Emily! So maddening in her storytelling!

  5. "Happiness, however, is not part of the Wuthering Heights experience."

    I'll say!

    What a miserable group of people. BUT, I am enjoying them all quite a bit.

  6. Ahhhh, I see another one of us is trying to find justification for the charaters' behaviors. Interesting about Catherine being a victim of her time and choosing social status but at the same time she does this so she can then lift Heathcliff up out of the depths. Lose lose for everyone in this book, I think.


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Ho'ola'i na manu i ke aheahe

"The birds poise quietly in the gentle breeze."
Said of those who are at peace with the world, undisturbed and contented.