Emily Bronte was an English novelist and poet who is best known for her only novel Wuthering Heights. This novel was published in 1847 and is considered to be a classic of English literature. Wuthering Heights By Emily Bronte is set in the backdrop of Victorian age. The mise en scène of this novel comments upon the socio-cultural realities, conflicts and paradoxes that women had to cope with at that time.
The story depicts a thirty years old love affair between Catherine, a beautiful young daughter of Earnshaw and Heathcliff , Earnshaw’s adopted child. The story is narrated by the housekeeper Nelly to Lockwood, a tenant of the house. However, what seems interesting in this novel is that Catherine rejects Heathcliff due to his low born status and lack of education. This action by Catherine in turn, highlights the various themes of this novel – passion, love , cruelty, wealth, education and predominantly, the precariousness of class.
After being rejected by Catherine, Heathcliff goes away only to return as a rich and prosperous person. He then, inherits the withering mansion which highlights another violent theme of possession of lust for power. Further in the novel, Catherine dies and Heathcliff is only left with her memories. At this point, we can compare Heathcliff’s behavior with the Miltonic theme of ‘Heaven and Hell’ as he has fallen from hell into heaven but gets obsessed with Catherine’s memory and begins to hallucinate. He begins speaking with her ghost and dies. The novel ends on a didactic note as Lockwood while going back to London visits the graves of Catherine and Heathcliff.
Therefore, in my opinion, this novel showcases the Gothic tradition, similar to Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre and Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein, that intends to create a predominant feeling of mystery and fear by elements such as supernatural encounters and moonless nights. Thus, concluding on an interesting note, this thrilling novel is one of my favorites because while reading it, the reader proclaims as if they are witnessing the events and not reading the interpretation of the reader. Also, the two narrative voices, one of Lockwood and second of Nelly, bring out both subjective and objective views which makes the novel an interesting and challenging reading experience.
I definitely recommend reading this book not solely because it’s a classic but also because of its unconventionality. It is a painful/heartbreaking love story written in the Gothic tradition with twists & turns unimaginable during Victorian Era.