This book review is a sign of my success in achieveng my self-imposed target last month (September 2007) in reading (and writing a review -this one target is newly added-) one book per week. Alhamdulillah -looking at my own gorgeous image in the mirror- *sound of somebody threw up in the background*
I knew the name of Brontë since I was in Junior High, because we had a book by Charlotte Brontë titled Jane Eyre, an unabridged edition from Penguin Books with its classical white & orange cover. Yes, it’s my mom’s. At that time, my mom incessantly told me that the book was a must-read and the movie made based on the book was also worthed to watch (George Scott as Mr Rochester). My mom even came to the point where she managed to made an (handwritten) Indonesian translation of it for me, even though she stopped translating at page three of the original book. I read the translation so many times, and finally I was motivated to translate it myself with my inadequate Junior High English skill (this is a book, this is a pen, this is a handkerchief) equipped with WJS Poerwadarminta’s English-Indonesian dictionary (which I still use till today although it’s already torn and splitted into many parts, because I haven’t found any other dictionary as complete and as good). I was impressed with Charlotte’s extended descriptive writing ability. I was also impressed with the tranquility and loneliness it invokes in me, and I admired the protagonist who was an intelligent woman succeeded in achieving her objectives.
At the back cover, I found out that there were 3 Brontë sisters (and 2 brothers), and all sisters had written novels and poems. They lived in a solitary lodging surrounded by moors, and educated mostly at home. No wonder their stories always had a solitary moorish surroundings. Wuthering Heights were written by Charlotte’s younger sister, Emily, who had died on 1848, at the age of 30, before this novel was acknowledged as a success.
The story is told by a Mr Lockwood, a young man who rented Thrushcross Grange, a house owned by Mr Heathcliff, who lived in his own house, Wuthering Heights. The situation concerning his acquaintance with the landlord had brought him to delve further into Heathcliff’s family matters. After the encounter with the haughty Mr Heathcliff, a young and pretty lady named Catherine Linton, a young and shabby (but handsome) lad named Hareton Earnshaw, an old man named Joseph, a kind maid named Nelly Dean, and a strange dream about a ghost who claimed that her name was also Catherine Linton, Mr Lockwood were interested enough to ask Nelly, who had lived with the family since Heathcliff was still a small boy, to tell him the complete story of Heathcliff family. So, this is a story inside a story.
I don’t want to tell the whole story of Nelly. I want you to endure the misery of reading this classic book hohohoho. Yes, the structure of the sentence is so difficult I almost give up at the first few pages, it’s harder than Jane Eyre. But I reminded myself that I had to finish the book if I wanted to go on with others. Besides, I always want to know what’s all the fuss about Wuthering Heights, it’s always mentioned as a must-read classics.
But, you expect me to write a long review. OK, if you insist *grins* It’s all began when the landlord of Wuthering Heights, Mr Earnshaw, the grandfather of Hareton, brought back home an orphan, a dirty, ragged and black-haired boy from his visit to Liverpool. He named the boy Heathcliff, and he raised the boy with his family: his wife Mrs Earnshaw, his son Hindley and his daughter Catherine. Hindley had never been in good terms with Heathcliff, and was sent to school, but Cathy was like brother and sister with Heathcliff. The old Mr Earnshaw was always partial to Heathcliff, although the boy never asked for affection. He grew up into a handsome but haughty man. Cathy and Heathcliff always caused trouble everywere they went. When their father died, Hindley went back home with his frail wife Frances. As the master of the house, Hindley treated Heathcliff as if he was a servant. His wife Frances died in giving birth to Hareton, and Hindley retreated from all relationships, keep drinking and gambling, to the point that he had to mortgage everything his father left.
Meanwhile, a family who lived in Thrushcross Grange, the Lintons, also had 2 children, Edgar and Isabella. Cathy, after some trouble caused by her and Heathcliff, had to stay in Thrushcross Grange for awhile, and happened to befriended with Edgar very closely. Edgar was a lot more intelligent than Heathcliff, but had a paler countenance and a weaker body. Cathy found Edgar more entertaining in a way she couldn’t get from Heathcliff. She soon attached herself more to Edgar than spending time at the moor with Heathcliff, and at the pretence that she actually want to help Heathcliff in the future (by marrying to someone with considerable fortune), she decided to marry Edgar. It was the beginning of sorrow in both families. Heathcliff, who loved only Catherine (who was actually also loved Heathcliff, but believed that she couldn’t marry someone without any background and lesser intelligence), left without leaving a note.
He came back years later, already wealthy, and, driven by his madness, vowed to crush everyone who separated him from Catherine. He destroyed Hindley, Edgar, Isabella, Catherine, and even himself. He took possession of Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange. He treated Hareton, Hindley’son, like Hindley treated him when he was a small boy.
What’s become of Catherine and Heathcliff? Would they ever be together again?
I hate the book, but yet I love it. A very sad love story indeed. You all know I don’t like love stories, but Brontë’s love stories were different. It’s always about one true love, a forever-and-a-day monogamistic love we all hope to find. Being a book from the 19th century, there was always a problem of different society level. Made me want to stomp my feet and threw the book to the wall. I hate the spoiled and arrogant Catherine. Yet I love her when she was being tender to Heathcliff. I hate the evil ways of the ruthless Heathcliff, but yet I’m sided to him.
Wuthering Heights was adapted into movies in 1939, starring Laurence Olivier as Mr Heathcliff. It was nominated for Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress, Best Actor,Best Director, Best Score, but win only for Best Cinematography. Wuthering Heights was also adapted in various language movies. Timothy Dalton and Ralph Fiennes had played as Heathcliff. Johnny Depp was rumoured to play Heathcliff in 2006, but it was never confirmed.
Now, the conclusion, if you like love stories or if you like classics, this is a must-read book, but you have to be very very patient 🙂
Some of the information on the movie and Emily Brontë was taken from Wikipedia.