Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Wuthering Heights sucks big time

Posted by lea at 1:57 PM
I will never understand how Wuthering Heights achieved such cult status. The characters are awful, the situation ridiculous and the writing absolutely bog-sewer atrocious.

Let's start with the main characters. Heathcliff and Cathy are the most vile, melodramatic, selfish and unnecessary creations in literary history. There isn't a single appealing aspect of their characters, and their so-called 'love' is shallow and self-torturing. Heathcliff, cried up by the author as such a dark and tortured character, is simply one-dimensional and boring as hell (except when he's being domestically violent). He's an immature stamp-footy cry-baby who never gets over his forced separation with Cathy, won't stay away and let her be happy with her choice of husband, and then interferes with their offspring for his own dastardly delight. Bastardly, more like. He is simply pathetic, and not in the good literary 'pathos' kind of way.

Their offspring are almost as bad. The second Cathy is more forgivable, but by God how many times did you want to slap Linton across his weak-willed, self-pitying face? The trashy schoolgirl ending with the ghosts of Heathcliff and Cathy undo the goodwill of Heathcliff's redemption in allowing Hareton and Cathy II to get together.

It's my understanding that Emily Bronte gained publication of her manuscript off the back of her sisters' successes, and in the early days, there was a widespread belief that Wuthering Heights was in fact an earlier, more immature work of her sister Charlotte. This is no wonder, because her attempt at writing in Wuthering Heights is abysmal. Case in point: the original narrator is the self-proclaimed hermit Mr Lockwood, whose heightened curiosity about Wuthering Heights and its inhabitants is unlikely from the first. He re-tells the story as told to him by the servant Nelly Dean, and at points of the narration, Nelly Dean re-tells someone else's  version of the story, so you have a narration-within-a-narration-within-a-narration situation, yet the style of writing never changes. When Joseph speaks in this thick almost-unintelligible brogue, every storyteller reproduces it faithfully. This stretches the imagination of even the most gullible.

The entire story is suffocatingly small both in scope and nature, and the fact that it was even published is astonishing, let alone its success in the past 150 years and the number of people who defend its 'complexity and depth'. For me, it was a waste of time and even the $3.50 I bought it for.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

I COMPLETELY AGREE WITH YOU! Holy crap... I am a senior in high school and I am being forced to chew up this literary garbage slowly and painfully.

At first I thought there was something wrong with ME. I wondered to myself.. "This is a literary classic.. why aren't I getting it? I hate every character and there is no passionate love that everyone blabs on about."

If I had a time machine, I would go back just to burn the manuscript before it ever got into the hands of literary snobs that declared this whiny trash "genius".

Blair on December 4, 2010 at 2:05 AM said...

I completely agree. I have to read this piece of shit sad excuse for a book for school, and then I have to review it, thing is, you can't really say you wanted to build a time machine and go back in time to kill Brontë, you have to say something cloudy.

GAAAH... I love reading, but this book has really been a struggle. Only 50 pages left, that's about 300 pages too much :/

Anonymous said...

I have been an avid reader since childhood, but I remember being forced to read this steaming pile of shit in highschool... I admit, I couldn't even finish it and instead bought the Coles' Notes summary so that I could play Nintendo and still ace the test. Worked like a charm!

If you want kids to read, give them something relevant.

lea on December 22, 2010 at 2:48 PM said...

It's nice to have company in this little Wuthering Heights-hating club! Thanks for your comments Blair and anonymous readers :)

Anonymous said...

I think I LOVE you for this!
WH is a terrible book. The characters all acted sporadic, and were manipulated by Bronte in awkward OCC ways to move the plot forward.
They didn't seem realistic AT ALL.

Anonymous said...

I so agree with you it's the most depressing and unrealistic novel ever. I even hate myself for reading it! What a piece of shit. Gah.

Anonymous said...

WH can only appeal to those suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder. This book is shit i agree i have to do a project for school on it and it makes me want to break my computer and seriously the characters lead themselves into doom and are stupid pricks. And Heathcliff needs to get over himself and a straightjacket.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with above comments. If you're going to go for a Bronte novel, Jane Eyre is much better. More linear and easier to understand. WH does suck - all these flashbacks and changes in narration - and everyone seems to have the same name - why the hell would Bronte choose to name the character Linton Heathcliff? Really? Was this some kind of tradition back then or was she just running out of names?

Joe Papp on March 20, 2015 at 7:54 AM said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joe Papp on March 20, 2015 at 7:55 AM said...

The first half of the book is a wandering pile of words with no point. It's as if Emily Bronte didn't understand how to map out a plot. Finally, after reading the muck of the first half, you get into a semblance of plot... which still has deplorable characters. Great Review!

Traci on July 15, 2015 at 12:23 AM said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Traci on July 15, 2015 at 12:24 AM said...

"Withering" Heights, one of the greatest disappointments in all my reading. It was 100% drivel. Depressing, pointless and a huge waste of time.

Ix on February 16, 2016 at 8:20 AM said...

The problem I have with WH is its cold isolated detachedness to life. It is a story that befits more a medieval time. For Emily Bronte to write something like Wuthering Heights, either portrays a person living internally in a cold sad place, or is living in a wretchedly dismal environment so as to conjure up such a story. What is worse, is those who find favour with WH. To appreciate such a work means only you must be able to identify with it, and that is very sad indeed if people can identify with that work of wretchedness.
Frankly, Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf is a shear literal work of genius compared to Bronte's Wuthering Heights.
I'm against the ideology of book burning, but if you ever were going to burn a book, Wuthering Heights is it.

Wtfmate on May 20, 2016 at 3:38 PM said...

I've just read WH, for the first time, as a 33 year old. Literally when I finished, I googled "why is wuthering heights a literary classic, when its so terrible?" And I found this page! :)
I'm not one to start a book and not finish it, but I had to literally force myself to finish this. There were some compelling parts of drama sandwiched in between the pointless verbal diarrhea, but those were few and far between. And my god, what the fucking FUCK was Joseph saying. Couldn't understand a word... I can only conclude that I had a completely different notion of what this novel was supposed to be, owing to PBS thier propensity to display this as some sort of deep, young love romance. The reality was another matter entirely and now I wish I'd read something g else instead.

Wtfmate on May 20, 2016 at 3:39 PM said...

I've just read WH, for the first time, as a 33 year old. Literally when I finished, I googled "why is wuthering heights a literary classic, when its so terrible?" And I found this page! :)
I'm not one to start a book and not finish it, but I had to literally force myself to finish this. There were some compelling parts of drama sandwiched in between the pointless verbal diarrhea, but those were few and far between. And my god, what the fucking FUCK was Joseph saying. Couldn't understand a word... I can only conclude that I had a completely different notion of what this novel was supposed to be, owing to PBS thier propensity to display this as some sort of deep, young love romance. The reality was another matter entirely and now I wish I'd read something g else instead.

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