Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Wuthering Height- A Classics Challenge Prompt


This is the first posting prompt for the Classics Challenge and it will focus on the author of the novel.

Here is the rules according to the challenge host Katherine @ November‘s Autumn:

To clarify how this will work: I'll post various questions, don't feel obliged to answer all of them. Some may require a little research but you can be creative in how you answer. Participants have the full month to post and share their answers. The different levels are based on how far into the book you are.

Here are the levels:

Level 1
Who is the author? What do they look like? When were they born? Where did they live? What does their handwriting look like? What are some of the other novels they've written? What is an interesting and random fact about their life?

Level 2
What do you think of their writing style? What do you like about it? or what would have made you more inclined to like it? Is there a particular quote that has stood out to you?

Level 3
Why do you think they wrote this novel? How did their contemporaries view both the author and their novel?

Level 1 Answers:

The Author:

Emily Jane Brontë

Pen Name: Ellis Bell

July 30, 1818 

Where she lived:

Haworth Parsonage

(This photo was taken shortly after the death of her father, Patrick Bronte)


Haworth Parsonage is now called The Brontë Parsonage Museum, located in Haworth, West Yorkshire, England and is maintained by the Brontë Society.



diry1pic emily
This page is from the joint journal of Emily and Anne Bronte. You can see that this page is written in Emily’s hand and it contains information about Anne.




Wuthering Heights was Emily’s only novel although she did amass a collection of poetry.


Interesting and random fact about her life:

At the age of 17, Emily attended the Roe Head girls school where her sister, Charlotte was a teacher, although she only remained three months before becoming homesick. She returned home where she and Anne opened their own school. Her refusal to look people in the eyes and her anxiety when away from home leads many people to believe that she had Aspergers, a form of autism that often enhances creativity. 

Level 2 Answers:

Writing Style:

Emily’s writing style in Wuthering Heights has a gothic feel to it, which surprisingly varies greatly from her poetry, although both , her poetry and novel contain that connection to nature. Wuthering Heights is filled with emotion, anger, passion, the supernatural, and violence and to help portray those feelings Emily mirrored the weather to match the feeling of the scene which greatly improved the atmosphere of the novel.

Emily’s writing style depended heavily on emotions and atmosphere , which made her writing style a little less plot-orientated than the works of her sister Charlotte.

What do I like about it? What would have made you more inclined to like it?

The emotional tug of the novel is amazing and allows you to feel what the characters are feeling. Emily chose to focus on her characters raw emotions rather than where her characters were headed and how the plot was going to unfold and it fit the novel well. She also focused on the atmosphere of the novel-by using the wild vastness of the windswept Yorkshire moors, she incorporates the turbulence and instability of both the characters and the landscape.

I liked Wuthering Heights the way it is and do not believe it could or should be changed. It also may come as a shock that I felt bad for Heathcliff and hated Cathy.

Is there a particular quote that has stood out to you?

The following quotes were the ones that stood out to me and best characterized the relationship between Cathy and Heathcliff.

“I was only going to say that heaven did not seem to be my home; and I broke my heart with weeping to come back to earth; and the angels were so angry that they flung me out into the middle of the heath on top of Wuthering Heights; where I woke sobbing for joy. That will do to explain my secret, as well as the other. I’ve no more business to marry Edgar Linton than I have to be in heaven; and if the wicked man in there has not brought Heathcliff so low, I shouldn’t have thought it. It would degrade me to marry Heathcliff now; so he shall never know how I love him; and that not because he’s handsome, Nelly, but because he’s more myself that I am whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same; Linton’s is as different as a moonbeam from lightning or frost from a fire…

…My love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath; a source of little visible delight, but necessary. Nelly, I am Heathcliff.
-Chapter 9

“May she wake in torment!” he cried, with frightful vehemence, stamping his foot, and groaning in a sudden paroxysm of ungovernable passion, “Why, she’s a liar to the end! Where is she? Not there-not in heaven-not perished-where? Oh! You said you cared nothing for my sufferings! And I pray one prayer-I repeat it till my tongue stiffen-Catherine Earnshaw, may you not rest as long as I am living; you said I killed you-haunt me, then! The murdered do haunt their murders, I believe. I know that ghosts have wandered on earth. Be with me always-take any form-drive me mad! Only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you! Oh, God! It is unutterable! I cannot live without my life! I cannot live without my soul!”
-Chapter 16

This last quote is my absolute favorite.

“I disturbed nobody, Nelly.”, he replied, “and I gave some ease to myself. I shall be a great deal more comfortable now; and you’ll have a better chance of keeping me underground, when I get there. Disturbed her? No! She has disturbed me, night and day, through eighteen years’-incessantly-remorselessly.”
-Chapter 29

Why do I think Emily Bronte wrote this novel?

As the daughter of a clergyman, Emily was constantly taught the themes she included in Wuthering Heights. Love and hate; crime and punishment; good verses evil; class structure, revenge, the ills of obsession and lust and I believe that she wanted to show what would happen when you entwine these elements with a complex love. I also believe that she wanted to push the bounds of writing.

Emily must have loved the characters that she created as finalized a sequel. Sadly, the manuscript was lost after her death.

How did their contemporaries view both the author and their novel?

Many early reviews are the same as they are today, they either loved it or hated it. While most critics recognized the power and creativity of this novel, many found it unlikable and ambiguous.

The Atlas review called it a "strange, inartistic story", but commented that every chapter seems to contain a "sort of rugged power

The Graham's Lady Magazine critique bluntly stated "How a human being could have attempted such a book as the present without committing suicide before he had finished a dozen chapters, is a mystery. It is a compound of vulgar depravity and unnatural horrors."

The Douglas Jerrold's Weekly Newspaper critique was more positive, yet still shocked at the novel's raw depictions, noting "In Wuthering Heights the reader is shocked, disgusted, almost sickened by details of cruelty, inhumanity, and the most diabolical hate and vengeance, and anon come passages of powerful testimony to the supreme power of love—even over demons in the human form. The women in the book are of a strange fiendish-angelic nature, tantalising, and terrible, and the men are indescribable out of the book itself". However the review also emphasized the "great power" of the novel and its provocative qualities; it said that it was a "strange sort of book—baffling all regular criticism" and that "[it is] impossible to lay it aside afterwards and say nothing about it".

Although the Examiner agreed on the strangeness, it saw the book as "wild, confused; disjointed and improbable".

The Britannia review mirrored those comments made on the unpleasant characters, arguing that it would have been a "far better romance" if the characters were not "nearly as violent and destructive as [Heathcliff]". The unidentified review was less critical, considering it a "work of great ability" and that "it is not every day that so good a novel makes its appearance".


Until We Meet Again,

Best Wishes & Happy Reading,

Angela Renee


Anne said...

I loved this post! Wuthering Heights is one of my all time favorite novels and I really like all the things you wrote about it, I espececially liked the quotes.

Shann said...

Wuthering Heights is my favorite Bronte book. Love the quotes you picked out!

Jedediah said...

I think I need to try and reading Wuthering Heights again. I started a few years ago and I had to give up because I had such problems with dialogue written in dialect - and that doesn't happen often to me at all.
The diary page is beautiful.

JaneGS said...

I'm glad to read that someone else loves WH too! I think it brilliant and Emily incredible, though WH seems to have fallen out of favor these days. I do find Emily's poetry and WH to be discordant--odd that such fervent and fairly orthodox religious poetry could come from the same pen as WH.

Great post and I loved the quotes you provided.

Cat said...

Your post is wonderful and I love the quotes you've chosen. WH seems to be a book that is either loved or loathed and I'm a lover! So much passion and drama.

Katherine said...

I had planned to read Emily's poetry this year but I just might have to give Wuthering Heights a try. I've always been reluctant because of its wild and passionate plot. But now I'm intrigued with how she pulls the emotions of the reader. The first quote you shared is so poetic.

I think I read somewhere that Emily's manuscript for her next novel (I'm assuming it was the sequel you mentioned) was destroyed by Charlotte because it wasn't 'good.' But I don't know if that's really true.

Thank you for your wonderful post Renee! :)

Debbie said...

Another Bronte sister I must read. I will be reading Charlotte's Jane Eyre in the challenge.

I really enjoyed your post.

Elisa said...

I love Wuthering Heights, but a lot seem to loathe it because of Heathcliff. He may be dreadful but I find him still intriguing.

Angela Renee said...

Thanks for stopping by! I hope that you will give Wuthering Heights a go. Or, if you have previously read it, I hope that you will reread it and rediscover what a gem this novel is.

Best Wishes,
Angela Renee

Anonymous said...

I also posted about a Bronte sister...

Here's my Classics Challenge post on Anne Brontë

Karen said...

Such a fantastic post. I rarely learn much about the authors that I love so this has been interesting. I used to re-read Wuthering Heights regularly. I always thought it was a shame that she never wrote more novels.