Quote of the Day

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.”

― George Eliot

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Quote of the Day

“It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.”

― Oscar Wilde

Wuthering Heights Book Review

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Author: Emily Bronte

Read: June, 2016

Genre: Romance, Gothic

 

 

Review:

“Wuthering Heights tells the story of a romance between two youngsters: Catherine Earnshaw and an orphan boy, Heathcliff. After she rejects him for a suitor from a better background, he develops a lost for revenge that takes over his life. Attempting to win her back, and then to destroy all whom he considers responsible for his loss, Heathcliff creates a living hell for those who inhabit his intimidating residence, Wuthering Heights. This tale of hauntings, passion and greed remains unsurpassed in its depiction of the dark side of love.” (Summary from Goodreads)

I loved this book – it’s quickly earned its place on my favourites shelf. Wuthering Heights is a haunting tale about darker aspects of love, not once shying away from its depictions of cruelty and obsession.

The novel unfolds as a narrative tale told by the servant Ellen Dean. Ellen has been employed by the families concerned in the novel throughout Heathcliff’s life and, after the tenant Mr Lockwood has an unpleasant encounter at Wuthering Heights with Heathcliff, she recounts the tale to him. This interesting narrative grants added perspective to the story whilst still managing to pull in the reader – like Mr Lockwood, we grow strangely involved in the story of Heathcliff and Catherine, and the misery their doomed love inflicts upon those in their circle. By starting the story near its end, with Heathcliff alone and Catherine dead, their respective spouses gone also, Bronte creates the scene of a car crash and invites readers to replay the events which caused it. It’s horrible, and we know it is fated to end tragically, yet we can’t look away as we become sucked into the story.

Besides the narrative, Bronte also expertly manipulates the setting; Wuthering Heights is cold and gothic, stranded in the bitter climate of rural moorland. The weather is generally bleak, the winters cold and uncompromising. The isolation the location imposes adds a sense of claustrophobia to the novel, further emphasising the idea that the characters are trapped in their poisonous relationships and that the dark nature of love is inescapable for them.

And it is the novels dedication to this theme, the dark qualities of love, that renders the story so haunting. Every ghastly deed Heathcliff does, he does out of a twisted sense of love for Catherine. It’s a warning about letting love corrupt you, or, less dramatic sounding, impede your judgement. For though none of the other character relationships quite reach the intensity of that of Heathcliff and Catherine, there are also many examples of characters making less than sensible decisions out of feelings of love – take for instance when Cathy (Catherine’s daughter) sneaks out of the Grange to visit her ailing cousin Linton at Wuthering Heights, despite her father expressly forbidding and Ellen also warning against it. She has been told to avoid that place in order to avoid Heathcliff, who is as wicked as she has been told, and yet Cathy goes anyway out of love and worry for her cousin.

 Wuthering Heights is a warning about love, illustrating its unnerving and potentially corruptible power over people, the story haunting its readers long after its close. I thoroughly recommend it for everyone.

 

Favourite Quote:

“He’s more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.”

If you like this try:

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens.

The Night is darkening round me by Emily Bronte.

lizard

Top 5 Wednesday: Favourite Posts

118368This week’s Top 5 Wednesday Topic is to pick out my favourite posts that I’ve written on this blog – which doesn’t leave a huge selection, considering this blog is basically still a baby. Maybe a toddler at a push. I think it might be capable of walking on it’s own by now? Does that make it a toddler? Who knows.

If you want to take part or join in, here’s the link for the Top 5 Wednesday group on Goodreads.

Anyhoo, here is my list of my favourite posts:

  • Emma by Jane Austen Book Review – probably my longest review to date and the one I got the most comments for – it was nice to have written something that made people want to talk about the book 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Hope you like my list. If you have any posts that you’re proud of/think are interesting/whatever, please leave me a link in the comments! 🙂

lizard

 

 

Quote of the Day

“There’s nothing like deep breaths after laughing that hard. Nothing in the world like a sore stomach for the right reasons.”

― Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower

The Lifted Veil Book Review

Author: George Eliot

Read: June, 2016

Genre: Horror, Gothic

Review:

This book, part of penguin’s little black classics range, includes Eliot’s dark novella The Lifted Veil and the essay Silly Novels by Lady Novelists, which examines the flaws of female writing in Eliot’s time.

The Lifted Veil

“Latimer, a sensitive and intellectual man, finds he has clairvoyant powers: he has a vision of a woman, “pale, fatal-eyed”, who he later meets: she is Bertha Grant, his brother’s fiancee. Entranced and bewildered, Latimer is unwilling to take heed of the warning visions which beset him.” (Summary from goodreads)
 I really enjoyed this novella – Eliot examines the supernatural in an engaging and haunting manner. The narrator – Latimer – is not overtly likeable, but his insecurities and isolation, largely self-inflicted as a result of his clairvoyant abilities, are distinctly relatable and unnerving.
Eliot also explores the consuming, blinding nature of attraction and jealously through Latimer’s infatuation with Bertha and how this later leads him into a poisonous relationship. The twist of the story revealed in the particularly unsettling scene with Bertha’s deceased servant at the end of the novella really emphasises this to readers.
Overall, the story was a dark and suspenseful read that I highly recommend.
Silly Novels by Lady Novelists
 
“Describing the silliness and feminine fatuity of many popular books by lady novelists, George Eliot perfectly skewers the formulaic yet bestselling works that dominated her time, with their loveably flawed heroines.” (summary from goodreads)
This essay was a really interesting insight into Eliot’s opinions on popular feminine literature of her time – she feels that most of it was written poorly and that the characters and stories were overly dramatic/silly. More interesting than Eliot’s direct critiques of these writings however is her concern about how an abundance of such literature would be detrimental to perceptions of women. She felt that through the types of heroine depicted in these novels, harmful stereotypes of women’s intellectual inferiority would be reinforced, or perhaps legitimised. These concerns are communicated effectively, creating a very thought-provoking essay.

Best Quotes:

“We learn words by rote, but not their meaning; that must be paid for with our life-blood, and printed in the subtle fibres of our nerves.”

“By a peculiar thermometric adjustment, when a woman’s talent is at zero, journalistic approbation is at the boiling pitch; when she attains mediocrity, it is already at no more than summer heat; and if ever she reaches excellence, critical enthusiasm drops to the freezing point.”

If you like this try:

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe