Wuthering Heights is a story that has definitely been misinterpreted. Most people would consider the book to be a straightforward love story- similar to Romeo and Juliet and maybe this is one reason why many people have not given it a chance and have made assumptions before reading it fully
This is a book that speaks to the death of romantic notions; even the relatively happy ending doesn’t seem to come from a grand love or fiery romance, but from quiet acceptance. The only successful relationship in the story doesn’t start in secret and it is never dramatic; it is a quiet love story between two people. To me, in many ways, Wuthering Heights was an anti-romance, exactly the opposite of what I had been expecting.
The plot follows the relationship between a well-to-do country girl, Catherine, and the orphan boy, Heathcliff, taken in by her father and how their relationship affects everyone in their influence over a generation. Catherine marries a boy closer to her station and Heathcliff’s life then becomes one of proving himself and of illustrating the error of his loved one’s ways. It does not go well, not for anyone. This, of course, makes a great tale.
Even when I got into the story, I struggled with how unsympathetic all of the characters were. They were foolish, naive, whiny, and self-absorbed. They were very human, however in some cases it was hard to see that they could ever redeem themselves. For example, Catherine- the beloved whose rejection of Heathcliff spurs the book’s events. She had a very high sense of self-worth:
“But I begin to fancy you don’t like me. How strange! I thought, though everybody hated and despised each other, they could not avoid loving me. And they have all turned to enemies in a few hours: they have, I’m positive; the people here.”
And then there is Heathcliff, the main character of the book, who I thought I knew before reading a single page. Turns out I was wrong. My very first thought as I got into the book was one...