Wuthering Heights :: Week Six

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 Six: Read to Chapter XXIV

Discussion:

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First of all, my apologies for not being a bigger part of the discussion last week. I took this week off (you early birds may have noticed how bare bones this post was earlier), and when I do that – I forget to come back to the conversation after I’ve posted! However, you all did a marvelous job of talking amongst yourselves (who needs me anyway?! ;))!

I found these pictures of various Heathcliff’s and Cathy’s throughout the years. Which do you think captures them best? Have you seen any (or all) of these renditions? I’ve only seen the one with Tom Hardy and Charlotte Riley.

How are we all feeling about the reading? Wanting more of Heathcliff and Cathy? Excited to leave them behind? Feeling even more ready for Halloween now that your soul has been gothically haunted? Jonesing to join me on a trip to England to vacation in some wuthering moors (anyone? anyone?)?

 

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
jackiemania
Mary Ann
Meg @ A Bookish Affair
Sarah D
joon*ann
Nancy
Roberta
Susan E
Ian Cann (@thebeercolonel)
Nadia
Ashley J.
threewhales
Ashley
jaynesbooks
honeybeejoy
Adam Stone
Martha
Scribacchina
Melissa Caldwell
CourtneyK
Nancy H.

Friendly Reminders:

  • 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 blogand 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!


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65 thoughts on “Wuthering Heights :: Week Six

  1. None of those posters quite capture how I see Heathcliff, all too clean cut, and the bottom one? That mallard wants his lips back from that pout.

    As for this week’s reading, now the kids are as unlikeable as their parents. When not being horribly unking to Hareton, young Cathy is spoilt, selfish and guillable beyond all reason, and Linton is just as bad, totally self-absorbed, I’m actually with Joseph in my dislike of him.

    Heathcliff’s schemes seem to grow crueller and more vindictive as the book progresses, this latest ruse to marry Linton to Cathy just to gain Thrushcross Grange just shows his intense hatred of Edgar all the more.

    However, if you then reread this week’s section, or i fact the whole book with the view that Nelly is in fact deeply smitten with Heathcliff and is scheming to marry him and own Thrushcross Grange, then this perspective may change entirely.

    As for the overall picture, the writing is dragging me on a-pace, and is suitably gothic, though I shall stick to wuthering in the more urban parts of Yorkshire for any vacations rather than the moors themselves.

    • I agree about disliking Linton, or young Heathcliff as his name has become. There aren’t any redeeming qualities to him and I don’t think that this can be blamed entirely on his father’s treatment of him.

      I’m interested in learning more about your theory regarding Nelly. It’s an interesting thought, but I didn’t see it in the text. Are there are passages you could point us to?

    • Ha! Oh Ian… how blasphemous to speak of Tom Hardy’s lips in that way. He was the first Heathcliff I ever saw, so (for better or worse) is somewhat in my brain as that character. However, as the reading progresses he gains more wrinkles, weather beaten skin, and darker hair… weird? Who would you cast as Heathcliff?

      Interesting way of looking at the story using Nelly from that angle. She certainly likes to be in the middle of things even though acting like she doesn’t. Odd that she’s the one who’s really got it best when you come to think of it. Never ill (well, not until the end of this week’s reading), better treated than most of the servants, lives at TG instead of cold, harsh WH. (Just some thoughts).

      When I eventually make it back to England does this mean that you will not be visiting the Brontë house with me?

      • I was *JUST* going to say, “Of EVERYONE in this story, NELLY is the healthiest!!” Frankly, I’m glad. It allows her to witness just about everything and relay it as accurately as possible.
        I’m thoroughly disgusted with the lot of them. They all see fit to gripe and moan, but none will do a thing to really overthrow Heathcliff! And he’s monstrous! We know that he has had kindness in his life; but he refuses to BE kind!
        As for Tom Hardy’s lips? That’s just his face. I don’t even think he’s “acting” in that poster. It’s just his face LOL It’s a nice face, I’m just saying. It’s his face.

        • The problem is I don’t really think there is any basis to overthrow Heathcliff. I’m pretty sure he owns the house now (financially speaking). There’s not much any of them can do about that.

    • I was going to agree with all you said… until I got to the part about Nelly. You don’t really believe that, do you? Poor Nelly :-) I think she was smitten with Hindley, if anything. And anyway she’s older and telling the story to Lockwood… I don’t think there’s much for her to gain in scheming. (said Nelly’s champion… it seems to me I picked up that role for the readalong)

  2. I am leaving this readathon as I just can’t get into the book at all. I will rejoin you all on the next one

  3. Behind again this week. Will be having a book binge this weekend starting tonight! Ian I am intrigued by your 4th paragraph…must go read!

    I also think the above Heathcliffs are too clean cut!

    • I agree about the Heathcliffs. Even though he may be a handsome figure of a man, as I read his character, he’s more a hunchback of Notre Dame to me.

  4. The only thing that REALLY sticks out to me about this week’s reading is Linton. What a whiny brat! Bronte-era “Caillou” for sure, ugh. (Any moms here know what I’m talking about??) He reminds me of that little boy in “Heidi”…I haven’t read the book or seen the movie in years and his name escapes me, but that is who I kept picturing as I read. The fake fit! I just couldn’t believe it. And Cathy falls for it so easily. I fear she is going down the same road as her mother, naive and willing to sacrifice her life and happiness for someone who clearly is not worth her time. We shall see!

    I also kind of feel like the “romance” between Heathcliff and Cathy was so whirlwind. It was over before it even started and I couldn’t get very invested. There was the one heartfelt speech by Cathy and after that….meh. It’s like what was discussed earlier, Bronte kinda has some kind of writer ADD or something! I think she could have spent a bit more time cultivating that relationship. Readers may have been more sympathetic to them if she had.

    • I probably shouldn’t be laughing at Linton since he’s sick, but I couldn’t help it, he was quite comical in chapter 23. Especially this part here:

      “Linton had slid from his seat on to the hearthstone, and lay writhing in the mere perverseness of an indulged plague of a child, determined to be as grievous and harassing as it can.”

      And this one:

      “He twined himself up to her, as she half knelt by the settle, and converted her shoulder into a support.”

      I wonder what Heathcliff would of done if he saw him acting like that in front of Cathy?

      • Good point in your last sentence! I bet not, but then again – if it was working to ensnare Cathy’s affections, he probably wouldn’t mind (and possibly would like Cathy even less – as it shows her father’s side more and her mother’s disposition less).

    • I wonder if the real problem is boredom… perhaps if there was more to do out there in the moors people wouldn’t fall in love just because a little drama was present? Then again… what are Cathy’s options?

      • That’s my opinion too. Nelly seems the only reasonable person around, and she’s the only character with a job too. And Cathy was bound to grow restless, as she grew up limited to the Grange.

  5. Ian, i am going back to reread after thinking about your idea with Nelly….

    This weeks reading was interesting only in that it validated how spoilt the characters are throughout. Cathys intense feelings for linton happened too quickly for my taste, especially given his sickly description. (Then again, she really didn’t have much of a day to day life, so i guess there was alot of time to obsess. What did girls do with themselves all day?) And Nelly really believing that burning the notes would end the relationship. Hadn’t she learned with Catherine? By not telling Linton Sr I almost think that she is secretly hoping things will progress, not stop.

    Is Bronte making a of statement about the force of nature in making Cathy so stuborn and thoughtless?

    Btw did we ever find out how Heathcliff made his money?

    • I agree with you about Nelly! I was so surprised that she didn’t tell Linton, but I guess she didn’t want to disturb him with it. She sees herself as a protector, of sorts, and that isn’t really her place. Despite the fact that she grew up with Cathy and Heathcliff, they don’t treat her as a sibling or an equal, although she acts as a family member (particularly when she gets involved with these issues). It’s interesting how the lines between family and hired help are clearly drawn, but vague at the same time.

      • My thinking is that Nelly very much wants to be in the center of things, and that’s why she often inserts herself rather than going straight to the boss. It’s the only way that she can be involved.

  6. Oh, and Wallace, how could you think we don’t need you? Absolutely would love a Yorkshire holiday. I live in midtown Manhattan so it’s always transportive to read books set in wild and open spaces. I will say that i’m getting a little tired of this book. I’m looking forward to finishing and moving on, but I love this format. What’s your next read-a-thon book?

    • Oh my gosh – that picture (the difference between midtown Manhattan and Brontë’s Yorkshire moors) is startling, isn’t it?! The Hobbit is up next. The movie is split up, so we will have finished the part the first movie is about by the time it releases in December.

  7. If this shows up twice, my apologies. I hit a key without meaning to, and lost the post the original start.

    To me, it seems the younger set appears very similar to the parents, or at least that we can see the parents clearly reflected in the children. Cathy, like her mother, is spoiled, willful, loving, unrestricted. She enchants everyone she comes into contact with. The loved child, she indulges her every whim, while also exhibiting conscience and an understanding of temptation, perhaps her inheritance from her father. Cathy exhibits more of Linton’s conscience, but in the fight between conscience and willfulness, getting her way wins much as it did with her mother. She is aware that any connection with Wuthering Heights hurts her father, but she must indulge her desires.

    Little Linton shows the Earnshaw restraint, perhaps cowardice is more accurate. He is sickly and whines, much as his mother did. In the scene where she would like to kill Heathcliff, she does not though she would be delighted if he would die. However, as weak and sickly as he appears, there is a touch of Heathcliff in him. He is cruel to Hareton and is certainly capable of scheming as we see in the scene where he blames Cathy for making him more ill.

    Interestingly, Hareton is the most like Heathcliff although not directly related to him. Hareton seems to have benefited from some love, even love from Heathcliff, while Heathcliff seems to have been stunted from its lack. Today we know how important love is in the early years of a person’s life and Heathcliff was certainly deprived.

    The plot has thickened. The characters realign themselves as at the beginning. The love triangle with Heathcliff, Linton, and Catherine, is replaced by the triangle of Hareton, Linton, and Cathy. In the first triangle, the lovers are star-crossed, Heathcliff is driven to further cruelty and loss, Catherine torn between the two men, rages, sickens, and finally dies. What will happen to this younger generation? Will they repeat the tragedy or redeem themselves? Can’t wait to find out!

    • I agree that Hareton is the most like Heathcliff, but in all honesty he’s the only character that I actually feel some sympathy toward. Despite his cruelty, and his creepiness as a kid, Hareton seems to have a good heart. I see him as a gentle giant, of sorts, who is capable to doing major harm but won’t unless he needs to. This is totally unlike Heathcliff, who harms others for pleasure and revenge.

      • I agree. He has had some love, from both parents before his mother’s early death and then from Ellen, and he seems to have gained fromt that. Also, you could say that Heathcliff shows him some “love”, or at least he doesn’t target him for torture or revenge. Hareton’s brutish side is more from a lack of education and direction, though love in his life has been pretty sparse. I agree there is hope for Hareton and I wonder what will become of him. Certainly when we met him at the beginning of the book, he was not a mini-Heathcliff.

        • Definitely Heathcliff loves Hareton. It seems, besides Catherine Sr. and her father, he is the only one Heathcliff has showed any affection for in this whole book. I thought it was incredibly interesting to hear him talk about this to Nelly. And I was surprised by how aware he was of the type of love he felt for Linton (more of a protection to secure his legacy) compared to the love he feels for Hareton.

  8. First and foremost, this book should have been titled Murphy’s Law. Literally everything that could go wrong has, but somehow Bronte is able to balance the negativity of the actual plot with the lightness of the false hope of the characters and her own writing style. I think this is one of the crowning achievements of the book.

    In XXI I noticed that Nelly started calling Linton “young Heathcliff.” This name change is significant, I think. First and foremost, it signifies that Nelly, and by extension others, has accepted Linton as Heathcliff’s son; he belongs to that part of the family now, as his name signifies.

    This also marks the change in his character from that standoffish, rather spoiled but sweet at times child to a selfish, manipulative, and utterly unbearable teenager. “I divined, from this account, that utter lack of sympathy had rendered young Heathcliff selfish and disagreeable, if he were not so originally; and my interest in him, consequently, decayed; though still I was moved by a sense of grief at his lot, and a wish that he had been left with us” (p. 242). This book is the ultimate when it comes to pitting nature against nurture, and I, like Nelly, am not convinced that Linton didn’t have these negative characteristics lurking beneath the surface all along. We got such a quick glimpse of him at Thrushcross Grange, there really is no way to tell.

    Finally, the name change associates Linton with his father in the mind of the reader. We have already seen all of the horrible things that Heathcliff is capable of, and we associate them with his name. By calling Linton young Heathcliff, Bronte is further solidifying his character by calling upon the image we already have of his father.

    As I commented above, Hareton is the only character for which I feel any degree of sympathy. I’m worried about how far Heathcliff will push him toward Cathy in an effort to get Linton to man up, as it were. While I hope that Hareton doesn’t get caught in the crossfire, the nature of the book almost ensures that he will be hurt by Heathcliff’s scheming.

    • I hadn’t caught the name change and its significance to character change, thank you. Since this book appears to be so immersed in heredity vs. environment, nature vs. nurture, it is noteworthy that the change in name and place signals a change in personality. Still, as you note, there had to be something lurking under his previous demeanor in order for the change to be possible — weakness of spirit or resolve perhaps? If it were only place, environment or nurture, there would be no hope for Hereton.

      Thank you, this just gets better.

    • I completely agree with everything you’ve said here. I love the name change; it was subtle and you don’t really notice it at first, but it really does signify how Linton changes from a really annoying yet sympathetic child to a manipulative teenager.

      Like you, Hareton is really the only character I have any sympathy for at this point–he’s not the greatest person in the world, but it’s not really his fault. And he’s the only character who does anything to try to make himself a better person (he learns to read his name).

      • I didn’t notice that, but it’s horrible! And telling, as he sees his son as an object that he can manipulate to further hurt Linton and his family. Such a wretched character.

      • I noticed that, too. And when Heathcliff first met Linton he examined him like he would a horse– checking out his limbs, etc.

        • OK, this is just a thought that popped into my mind now… This is the first time Heathcliff sees his son. Could that be a kind of travesty of parents seeing their baby for the first time, you know how you check that they have all their fingers and all… This could be Heathcliff version of it: treating the boy as a horse.

      • Yes, and it starts from the very first time he knows about the child. When they tell him he’s called Linton, he said something like “so you really want me to hate it” — and I thought, what, it? But of course Linton was a baby at the time, so I guess it was passable. But later? Brrrrr.

    • Yes, thanks for pointing that out! I hadn’t noticed. What I HAD noticed was that Linton now calls Heathcliff “papa”. Heathcliff is so far from what I consider a papa that this is jarring for me to read. It makes me think that Heathcliff must be being (at least) civil to Linton – I can’t imagine any of the other characters, besides Catherine Earnshaw, having any names of endearment for Heathcliff.

  9. Two ideas stand out to me in this week’s reading:

    1) Cathy “finds” Linton again by wandering over the border of Thrushcross Grange to Wuthering Heights, and meeting Heathcliff there. Interesting — remember how Catherine met Linton when she and Heathcliff wandered over the border of Wuthering Heights into Thrushcross Grange? What is it about borders, tresspassing, and those two places which are almost magnetic? Heathcliff didn’t even need to leave his land to entice Cathy over. All these doubles too… Heathcliff/Young Heathcliff, Catherine/Cathy …

    2) Cathy and Linton’s talk about marriage is pretty intense. Some surprising attitudes! I could quote half of chapter 23 but it would take too much room :) But let’s see — Cathy would like to be brother and sister with Linton, not husband and wife, because “…people hate their wives, sometimes; but not their sisters and brothers.” Linton would like Cathy to be his wife not for romantic love but for control over her and help from her: “I think I should not be peevish with you: you’d not provoke me, and you’d always be ready to help me, wouldn’t you?’ … ‘But papa says you would love me better than him and all the world, if you were my wife; so I’d rather you were that.’

    Wow. Not your typical Victorian Idealization of Marriage by any stretch of the imagination!

    • I loved the part about marriage–it’s very telling of Cathy and Linton’s personalities. She’s more interested in loving him and he’s interested in having power and control. This, I believe, is one of the ways in which the kids mirror the attitudes of their fathers.

      • I agree, but also wonder if there’s a part of Cathy that loves Linton not only because he is more refined than Hareton but because she would automatically have more control over this sickly option because of his physicality? She was openly attracted to Hareton twice, yet she goes towards Linton instead. Interesting and (on some ways) slightly similar to her mother who chose Edgar over Heathcliff.

  10. Wallace, I’m utterly devastated that the novel is coming to a close, and I am so there on the moor with you! One of my dreams is to visit the parsonage in Haworth where the Brontes lived.

    • I want to go there even more now than ever. This is fast becoming one of my favorite books. I’ve heard such bad things about it, but once I start reading I find it hard to stop – I’m completely in love with Emily and sad that she didn’t write more books. I’m going to have to pick up some of her poetry!

  11. Sorry to be so late posting. I was away for a few days without my computer. The only point I wanted to add to the discussion this week follows:

    The children are growing up, and Cathy is falling in love with Heathcliff. Scary echoes from the past! My one thought as I read the section where all three offspring, Hareton, Heathcliff, and Cathy, are walking together was what a great opportunity Heathcliff, Sr. had to repay some of the love and kindness shown to him by old Mr. Earnshaw. Two of the three were Earnshaw’s grandchildren, and they had done nothing to Heathcliff, even though he had been mistreated by their parents. For the sake of the one who cared for him, Heathcliff should have been able to just leave the children alone. The fact that he doesn’t tells me his twisted nature is more than just the result of his treatment. If there’s a mean gene, he’s got it. Better treatment might have prevented some of his actions, but in different circumstances, he would never have been warm and cuddly.

    • Interesting – we have been focusing so much on the parents that we forget about old Mr. Earnshaw. Perhaps Heathcliff has as well since he’s been gone so long? But you’re right, there is not a shred of a conscience there in Heathcliff’s mind.

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  13. Meh, I don’t think any of those posters really say “Heathcliff!” to me either! I want him to look uh… a little crazier and maybe more mean spirited. All of the movie posters make him look a little more gentlemanly than I’m imagining him.

    Nelly is becoming more and more of an interesting narrator to me. She is still seeming fairly sane even though she’s surrounded by these people that really seem off-kilter. I would think that a normally sane person would want to get as far away as possible from this cast of characters. I’m still waiting for the proverbial other shoe to drop…

    And ugh, I’m not liking that Cathy and Young Heathcliff are falling in love. I still can’t decide if they’re falling in love because they are attracted to one another in a pure way or if it’s more of a orchestration on the part of Heathcliff who wants the next chapter of the love story to play out differently than the one between him and Catherine. While I think nature definitely plays a role in the second love story, you have to admit that the “nuture” is also at hand as well. Heathcliff is absolutely manipulative when it comes to his son. It’s almost like he brought him to the moors just to use him for his own purposes. He doesn’t care about his son. He doesn’t care about Cathy. He just really cares about himself. He’s definitely rubbing me the wrong way.

    • Who would be your perfect Heathcliff?

      We’ll have to see about Nelly… maybe we won’t ever get any answers and will just have to decide what we think of her individually. I think she enjoys the drama. :)

  14. I have to agree with the vast majority of people that Heathcliff in the posters look a little too clean cut and a little too pretty.

    As for the book, I found Cathy a bit more sympathetic than her mother, but only a little more so. I found that her father was a little too protective of his daughter, but I suppose he has his reasons for that. Maybe I am seeing this through my own eyes, but I found Edgar to be too possessive of his daughter. I also found Nelly wanting to be a little too much a part of the story, more than she probably should have been.

    Hope I made sense.

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  16. Very sorry, but… I forgot to post my thoughts! (have to put a reminder for next week). If there’s still time, here are some thoughts about this week’s reading:

    The beginning of this part when Linton and Heathcliff meet is exactly the beginning of the film with Tom Hardy so that put me directly into the mood.. I liked the roughness of Heathcliff, because I could sense his “revenge” against Linton’s mother who is not Cathy… there is a saying in Greek that children pay for their parents’ sins, and the drama during this first meeting pointed exactly to that phrase…

    Now, for little Cathy and Nelly always finding an excuse to visit WH: I have to admit there is an attraction to such places one cannot escape. I had the opportunity to visit Haworth and the Bronte parsonage a couple of years ago, and those moors are exactly as they are described. They hypnotise you and make you want more. I actually did a walk to all the “secret” places the sisters went to to write, and, of course, it was raining buckets – I could feel the gothic ambience that is depicted in this week’s reading…

    Last, to the posters: my first version of WH was with Laurence Olivier, so I’ll have to stick with the first poster…

  17. I’m going to have to drop out die to a family death. I’ve enjoyed everyone’s comments and re-reading the wild shenanigans on the moors.

    • Oh, Susan, I’m so sorry. We’ve loved having you in the discussion. We’ll be thinking about you! Please feel free to jump back in the conversation if ever or whenever you need a distraction. Sending hugs your way. xo

  18. I was just checking in before the comments are closed and it seems like my original comment from last Friday never made it through. This can be my off week, just in case I miss the deadline tonight, but I’ve read this section :)

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