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 Two: Read to Chapter X
Still loving the book; I really am impressed with how easy it is to read (save for Joseph’s dialogue, which I’m happy for the translation in my edition). I have SO much flagged for this week’s reading (partly because it was so long, and partly because I can’t stop flagging things in this story).
By the ending of this week’s reading, I’ve almost forgotten how absolutely terrible Cathy’s father was. Almost. Though I wasn’t sad that he died – Brontë created a touching scene, with the children finding out and being so upset about it. What a poignant moment for us to learn how very close Cathy and Heathcliff had become: “…but they were calmer, and did not need me to console them. The little souls were comforting each other with better thoughts than I could have hit on: no parson in the world ever pictured heaven so beautifully as they did, in their innocent talk…” (44). And after that, example after example of them getting closer and building their relationship.
It broke my heart when Cathy went to stay with the Linton’s; I felt so lonely for Heathcliff (and almost jealous of Cathy, for him). But when I stopped to think of it, I realized how tantalizing being taken in by people who acted loving and warm to her would have been, knowing what alternative awaited her back at Wuthering Heights. I was so angry with how she treated Heathcliff when she got back. And then later – her engagement to Edgar Linton. Do we believe her reasoning? I was so upset at first, but found myself believing her… am I being gullible? I do believe that she is shallow, and I do believe that she wants very much to leave Wuthering Heights, but I also believe that she loves Heathcliff — how could she say what she ends up saying about him (quoted below) without feeling a most passionate love for him? I also believe that she thinks she will actually help him by having the resources of being a Linton. However, I thought she had ruined everything with her terrible tantrum. Edgar Linton is a weak man, and a bad match for Cathy. The fact that he could not either stand up to her or walk away from her does not convince me of her charm, it convinces me that they are destined for failure. Catherine surely needs someone who can handle her, who – at this point – we are to believe is Heathcliff, since he has a similar stormy and strong-willed temperament. I must remind myself how rare it was to have a female character written with such a volatile and stubborn disposition, and how most everyone reading it originally probably thought Linton was exactly what Cathy needed to whip her into being a lady. Am I off base?
And then, of course, we come to some of the most famous passages of the book. The parts that I read and re-read. This is the stuff that Twilight was based off of (it really was inspired by this book, by the way). I could feel, during these passages, the memories of my first love – the kind that is completely desperate for the other person. Brontë does such an amazing job of creating those immensely passionate feelings and putting them into words. I adore her in this chapter.
“…so (Heathcliff) shall never know how I love him: and that, not because he’s handsome, Nelly, but because he’s more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same; and Linton’s is as different as a moonbeam from lightening, or frost from fire” (80).
“My great miseries in this world have been Heathcliff’s miseries, and I watched and felt from the beginning: my great thought un living is himself. If all else perished and he remained, I should still continue to be; and if all else remained, and he were annihilated, the universe would turn into a mighty stranger: I should not seem a part of it. My love for Linton is like the foliage in the woods: time will change it, I’m well aware, as winter changes the trees. My love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath: a source of little visible delight, but necessary. Nelly, I am Heathcliff! He’s always in my mind: not as a pleasure, any more than I am always a pleasure to myself, but as my own being” (82).
Ahhhhhhhh! Oh. My. God. That is the stuff. That is some good writing. Can’t you feel it?! Wow. Literally breathless even after reading it multiple times. One of the most romantic selections of all time from literature.
We leave with Heathcliff being gone for three years and Cathy and Edgar getting married. Interesting that a.) Heathcliff still doesn’t know how Cathy feels about him (he left before the good part, remember?)… so obviously something will happen with that, and b.) That Brontë decided to kill off Linton’s parents because of Cathy (she passed on the fever to them) – that was purposeful, I would think.
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!