Genre: Gothic Literature/ Romance
I was not looking forward to reading Wuthering Heights. I’d heard the horror stories of past AP Literature students, and as I sat flipping through the pages, preparing myself for the verbose tendencies of Emily Brontë, dread sat in my stomach like an anvil. However, I was not going to back down from a challenge.
Challenging as it was to get through the first few pages, I was quickly pulled into the world of brooding Heathcliff, meddlesome Nelly, and the rest of the eclectic group of characters living within Brontë’s pages. The novel shows the point of view of the maid, Nelly, as she watches Hindley, Heathcliff and Catherine grow up together as wild children and become even more troubled adults. She tells Mr. Lockwood how she involved herself in their issues, sometimes indirectly causing their downfalls, and followed the families into the next generation.
Brontë’s engaging characterization kept me reading ahead of my peers, fully invested in the people of Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange and how they dealt with love, sickness, and death. However, the deeper I was pulled into the story, the harder it was to find a character to sympathize with, as relationships got more twisted and tangled in heartbreak and revenge. Heathcliff grew more hateful, Catherine more selfish, and Hindley crueler.
It is a story told within a story, which could be confusing at times, and Joseph’s thick Yorkshire accent quickly became the bane of my existence. Main characters were killed off, and I was left questioning who exactly the story was about. The ending was anticlimactic and by far my least favorite part of the entire experience.
Overall, though, I enjoyed reading Wuthering Heights. For every time I was frustrated, I was impressed with Bronte’s lyrical prose and unique ability to create entire worlds within just two locations. She used symbols like the weather to mimic the characters’ emotions, and dogs to signify that a big change was coming. I definitely recommend taking a chance with this book; at the very least, you’ll be able to brag about reading something older than you are.