Every so often, I like to either read a classic I haven’t previously read, or to re-read one that I’ve read and enjoyed in the past. It has been several years since I last read Wuthering Heights and as I received a beautiful hard back copy for mother’s day, it seemed like the perfect time to re-visit this classic novel.
The story begins with the Earnshaw family, whose father brings home a starving young orphan from Liverpool with only one name: Heathcliff. Heathcliff and Catherine grow close during their childhoods, until she develops a friendship with the Linton family, and finds herself drawn to their son Edgar, and distances herself from Heathcliff. Wuthering Heights is a dark, tragic story, spanning two generations, with themes of revenge, hatred and identity: Heathcliff and Catherine both express feelings of being tied together so closely that they are like one person.
One of the things that makes Wuthering Heights such an unsettling story to read is how unlikeable each of the main characters is. Between them they demonstrate some pretty awful character traits; it’s hard to identify a single likeable character within the story. And yet, it makes compelling reading. As a reader we feel sympathy for each character in turn, each a victim of highly unusual and tragic circumstances.
My favourite elements of the story are definitely the hauntings at the beginning and end of the story. The terrifying night that Mr Lockwood spends at Wuthering Heights sets up the atmosphere for this bleak story wonderfully.
Re-reading the book this time, I found I enjoyed it more than ever. A truly brilliant classic.