For the Love of Reading

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My all-time favorite book is… Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte!  

Cover of "Wuthering Heights (Barnes & Nob...

Cover via AmazonWhy?

 I have always loved WUTHERING HEIGHTS by Emily Bronte as it stole my heart and mind at the age of 18.  It taught me about the pitfalls of idealism and single-mindedness – two flaws I possessed as an adolescent and continue to struggle with today.  I saw so much of myself in spoiled Catherine, and I longed for a mysterious dark Heathcliff to come my way even though my sensibilities warned me otherwise. 

In the pit of my existence I am a hopeless Romantic and the pathos in this novel is evidenced in the quote where Heathcliff mourns the loss of Catherine: “… for what is not connected with her to me? and what does not recall her? I cannot look down to this floor, but her features are shaped in the flags! In every cloud, in every tree—filling the air at night, and caught by glimpses in every object by day—I am surrounded with her image! The most ordinary faces of men and women—my own features—mock me with a resemblance. The entire world is a dreadful collection of memoranda that she did exist, and that I have lost her!”  Ah, the intensity and melodrama of this Gothic tale stirs my heart, but it is also the intensely layered darkness and horror of these pathetic creatures that rapt my imagination.  Ironically, I never really loved these anti-heroes or anti-heroines, but I connected to them, understood them.  Furthermore, I loved the journey of Romanticism through the storytelling magic that the wildest Bronte sister weaved. 

Notably, at the age of 18, the novel was a monumental challenge for me to comprehend in terms of historical thematic genre, narrative structure, and the stylistically poetic language of the 19th Century Romantic movement of literature, so it was such an accomplishment when I got through it and wrote an essay about it.   Although I had always been a reader, this novel was painfully difficult, and I believe it is the book that made me fall in love with English as a subject to study with the mind, not just with the heart. 

Reading Wuthering Heights helped me to find the confidence to pursue a life of academia and it was the beginning of my quest into the literary landscapes of Europe during the Romantic and Victorian Era of the 19th Century.  It led me to the great Romantic poets, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (another absolute favourite), the other Bronte sisters, Thomas Hardy, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Wilke Collins, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Twain, Ibsen, among many others.  Ultimately, Wuthering Heights is the book that lured me into a literary realm where my mind and heart co-exist in the tumultuously transformational epic landscape of my imagination.

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About thehunni

I am an English teacher with FFCA Charter Academy who struts and frets her hour upon the stage. After attending the 2011 NCTE conference in Chicago, and being inspired by the likes of Penny Kittle, Jim Burke and Kelly Gallagher, I decided to embark on the journey to "practice what I preach!" So - here it goes. I'm sure this will be a process that batters and bruises, but hopefully I come out a mere bit wiser as I blog beside my students as a teacher and a learner. I try to blog some of their assignments; otherwise, I use the space to reflect on my learning and teaching!

3 responses »

  1. I am struggling to write about Wuthering Heights, mostly because it is a novel of every kind and not just romantic, Gothic or psychological, but the question I often asked is “Were Heathcliff and Catherine really in love?” If the novel were written differently it wouldn’t be so strong and so powerful.
    My question: How is Wuthering Heights a psychological novel?

    • I agree that it is a novel that has many “types”, yet remains elusively undefinable for many of us. As a teen, Heathcliff and Catherine were passionately in-love, the way that teens long for. Yet, as an adult, I see how fatalistic and immature that kind of love can be. So were they in love? Yes. REALLY in love – well I’m not so sure. The whole concept of them being “one” seems so hyperbolic. So, perhaps that is the point of it being psychological. They are so caught up in their “darkness”, “egos”, and “primal needs” that this is a study of psychological profiles. I’m sure if I took some time to inquire, there must be thousands of Freudian and Jungian theories out there. Yet, we must also consider the magic of the psychological impact the novel has in terms of reader response. Why do we respond to a text that is so rooted in such selfish melodrama?

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