Thursday, July 29, 2010

If you want to be a really awful human being...

You should be like Heathcliff.

I have been warned about Wuthering Heights. "Don't read it!" they have said. "You'll hate it." (ambiguous and undefined they! O.o) But I love the Bronte sisters. Their history is tragic and intriguing. Plus I loved Jane Eyre. Charlotte Bronte was pretty brilliant so I figured I'd give Emily the benefit of the doubt.

OK. The book itself is good. It's well written and the plot is fairly interesting if you're into nineteenth century relationships and the inner workings of courting and property management, which I am. Hey, everyone needs a hobby. But throughout I was absolutely overcome by how appalling the antagonist is. I'm assuming he's the antagonist because he freaking antagonized me.

Heathcliff is awful. Genuinely awful. He has absolutely no redeeming qualities as a literary villain. Usually there is some sort of flaw or tragedy that causes the reader to bemoan the bad guy's state; to at least understand why he is so twisted. This is not true with Heathcliff. He's just purposely vindictive and cruel through the fault of no one else.

It can be argued that he was made this way by Hindley and by society but he had plenty of opportunities to better himself which he shunned. Heathcliff is a selfish and malicious character. Even his love for Catherine is not redeemable. All it does is cause more pain for those around him, including Catherine herself driving her to the brink of health and sanity.

Heathcliff is cruel to those he loves including his own son and the daughter of his precious Catherine. But why? Why does he act that way? All I can imagine is he is so caught up in his own selfish ways that he doesn't care who he hurts. It's just so evil that I literally can't comprehend it. God, I really dislike him.

In conclusion, Wuthering Heights - a thrilling adventure in nineteenth century self-centered ways and cruelty.

Until next time,


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