This is one of the texts you will study on the Reading English module. First of all let me just say that this novel is NOT a typical ‘chick love story’ (as one person put it in my seminar group). Heathcliff is far from the romantic hero, if he can be considered that at all! This is a far more complex story about greed, class, conflict and consequences. Please do not assume that you can watch a TV or film adaptation and know the story. The novel is far more complex, with intricately woven plot and character relationships. These things are never, in my opinion, portrayed correctly on screen and the novel’s gothic atmosphere is usually either overlooked or over-done. I admit that Wuthering Heights is sometimes difficult to get into, I had to go back and start again, as I found I had not taken in the first few chapters, but perseverance with this novel is rewarding. There is so much to glean from the novel’s pages, whether you read it as a proto-feminist novel or from a class conflict perspective, or even from an equality angle. If you have already read this novel, read it again with fresh eyes. It definitely warrants a second read as you find more detail and information hidden within the narrative and dialogue.
As level 4 students we were lucky enough to go on a field trip to Haworth to see the Brontë Parsonage and surrounding village. This was a fantastic opportunity as it really helped to visualise and understand the Brontës and their novels. It would have been worth going for the talk by Susan Newby alone, her knowledge gave real insight into the lives and area of the time. The village itself is well preserved and you can imagine how it might have been in the early part of the 19th century. The apothecary, cobbles, church and pubs all add to the feeling that you’ve been jettisoned back in time, plus there was a bakery that sold great cakes!
So, don’t dismiss Emily Brontë’s masterpiece as ‘just another Victorian romance’, it has so much more to offer. I’ll just conclude with – I LOVE this book!
Lynne & T.E.A