Welcome to the Wuthering Heights read-a-long! We’re reading this book through September and October. You can see the reading schedule and guidelines on the Starting Post Page.
Week One: Read to Chapter V
Welcome! Wow, we have quite a group for this one… very exciting. There are several new people and a lot of familiar ones as well. Those of you who are new: please don’t hesitate to ask questions in the comments section — the veterans are very friendly and helpful, and will often get you an answer even before I do! Also, don’t be afraid to join in on conversation threads, or even reply to someone else’s comment… the conversations are what make the reading together fun.
Everyone, please note that this book has always been controversial. At first it was thought crude and rough; so much so that no one believed that a woman had written it. Later (and even now) people tend to have very strong feelings about this book; most either love it or hate it. It is not known to be an easy read – but I suspect that will be what makes it worth reading together. I hope you all can hang in there until the end! I’ve only tried reading this book once, a few years ago (actually listened to it) and didn’t even make it to chapter seven. I happened to watch the movie version (which I mentioned in the sign ups) and loved it. I am really liking it so much more this time – and think, perhaps, it’s because I’m a little bit familiar with the characters. For that reason, you may want to print out this character list to help you if you get confused (click on the image to be taken to the website). I have a similar one at the beginning of my edition, but I know not everyone does. Also, if you click on the name of the character, a detailed page comes up with information about that person… very useful.
So far, I am loving the gothic nature of the novel. I started it last week when it was ninety degrees and sunny, but for the past two days it’s been very overcast and rainy… perfect for reading about ghosts on the moors!
We know little about our narrator so far, other than he is a somewhat shy man. His story about falling in love during his time by the seashore, but being unable to tell her and therefore losing her made a stark contrast between him and Heathcliff (who we later learn is very passionate – even if in a very rough way). There’s something of a gentleness, so far, to the narrator which he seems to expect from others as well. The fact that he has traveled to the “wild moor country” tells us that he is not from there. Perhaps Brontë was trying to set up the difference between those who are from near Wuthering Heights and those who are not? After meeting others from the household, he seems to feel superior to them… is this his ego being bruised (with Mrs. Heathcliff not finding him attractive and the others not being warm towards him) or is this also Brontë making a statement that people were prejudice to those who lived solitary lives in the more remote part of the country?
I adore how Mrs. Heathcliff scares Joseph by acting like she will invoke the devil on him (since he believes it’s possible, and she – evidently – does not). This shows us that not only is she clever, but, perhaps, not easily rattled. This is also shown in the fact that she doesn’t seem to fear Heathcliff. She stops reading by the fire only because she knows he can take her book – but she doesn’t move away from the fire (even though he wants her too) until he goes to hit her… and then she only moves out of his reach. So far, she might be my favorite character.
Ooooh the part where Catherine’s ghost is calling to the narrator to let her in!! so scary. I actually read that at night and freaked myself out a bit. I kept eyeing my bedroom window asking myself what I would do if a ghost started trying to come through… that was where I got myself into trouble. Not sure I’d have the cajones to rub its wrist against the broken glass – but then again one never knows how brave one will be when confronted by a ghost, right? Then (in a scene which might be sweet except for the fact that the vulnerability is so out of character for him that it becomes a bit creepy) Heathcliff goes in to beg Catherine to come inside… eek! I was SO relieved when our narrator (I keep calling him that because I can’t remember his name… were we ever given one?) finally got away and went back to the other residence in the morning. The contrast between Wuthering Heights’ dark loneliness and the warmth and homeyness of Thrushcross Grange is palpable. Even if we are disappointed with Mrs. Dean as a younger person, we already know that she understands what she did wrong, so we can feel comfortable with her.
Though we only have a little of Heathcliff’s story as we leave off this week, we can already start to discuss if we think his temperament is nature or nurture. We know he came from a very low place (both emotionally and physically), and being called “it” in a home where other children are called by their names doesn’t help – nor does having a (somewhat of a) foster brother who abuses him. However, we see that there is already a quietly manipulative side to him (the way he handles the horse situation). Is that because he is trying to survive, or is that because that’s what is in him already? Add that to Mrs. Dean saying that she was convinced he wasn’t vindictive, but that she was deceived… but can we trust her? Thoughts?
Who’s Reading Along:
** Please don’t forget to come to this blog each Friday and share your thoughts in the comments section of the weekly Wuthering Heights discussion (see below for more information).**
Patty @ A tale of three cities
Meg @ A Bookish Affair
Ian Cann (@thebeercolonel)
Heather R (@dolleygurl)
- If you are participating and I don’t have you on this list, please let me know in the comments section. I did not include people who said ‘maybe’ so if you have changed your mind and are definitely reading along with us, let me know so I can add you. Also, if you are not going to be able to join us anymore please let me know and I will take you off the list.
- Comments from the previous week’s reading will be closing Thursday afternoon (before the next discussion takes place on Friday). If you would like to be part of the discussion, please remember to comment before then.
- Each week, on Friday, share your thoughts about the previous week’s reading. If you are stuck on what to comment about, you can respond to my post or others’ comments. Regardless, you MUST check in each week (two weeks without a response and you will be taken off of the list — see below for details on why). You may have only one “off week” (which may not be the last week of reading for obvious reasons) and still be kept on the list, but you must let me know in the comment section by saying something like, “I’m catching up,” or “I’m still reading.” ***for all week’s discussions please refrain from posting ahead, even if you have read ahead, as to not spoil the book for others***
- If you are a blogger you may post a link to your blog if you are posting about each of the each week’s reading. If I, or other readers, have extra time we will gladly try to visit your blog; however, you must make sure to share your thoughts here on this blog, and be part of the main conversation or your comment will not be counted.
- If you go for two weeks without commenting in my weekly update comments section, I will assume you are no longer participating and will take you off of the list (*NEW GUIDELINE*, in order to get back onthe list, you need to a.) Have missed no more than two weeks of discussion, b.) Let me know you would like to be on the list again, and c.) consistently be part of the discussion for the next two weeks after requesting to be put back on the list.). This is in no way to be discouraging, but helps to keep the read-a-long organized (and helps me remember who’s completed what read-a-long…there (ahem) might be something fun for different levels of participants at the end of the year! Thanks!