Olivia’s Bookish World: Tragic romance to last a lifetime

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Olivia Ebersole

BY OLIVIA EBERSOLE (‘16)

Romance stories are a very popular pick for many teenagers, including myself.  So I never really went out of my way to pick up classics.  I knew many of them would have some sort of relationship drama, but I’ve always been a stickler for cheesy romance.  To my surprise I quickly fell into the tragic romance of Heathcliff and Catherine from “Wuthering Heights” by Emily Bronte.

Emily Bronte wrote “Wuthering Heights” in 1847, more than a hundred years ago. An amazing accomplishment as she barely left her house and the story seems so deep and tragic, it proves the genius of Bronte. The story has lived in many minds as people read it all over the world. Even if one has not read it, they recognize the name. Recently I read the book for my senior research paper. What I did not completely expect was to love it as much as I do.

The book begins a bit slow, as readers come to know Mr. Lockwood, a tenant under Heathcliff. Soon we begin to learn the story of Heathcliff and Cathy as told to Mr. Lockwood by Ellen Dean, the servant and friend of the two main characters.

“Wuthering Heights” is a book that had so many levels to it, it always kept you reading. While there is an obvious romance at the beginning between Cathy and Heathcliff, Brontë uses their relationship to question human nature and society. Cathy uses Heathcliff for her gain as he, an “uncivilized” gypsy, follows her seemingly blindly.  As their relationship progresses and they grow older, it’s almost like watching a car crash; you don’t want to look but you can’t look away. Brontë evokes emotion from the reader by gaining sympathy towards Heathcliff, while later turning the table and spinning the reader’s emotions into terrible sorrow and anger for the man Heathcliff becomes in the end. Cathy had the power to “civilize” him and yet she chose to keep him as a gypsy she could control.

This relationship alone allows readers to discuss what it means in society to be civilized and the rate in which people desire power. Heathcliff and Cathy are a couple you cannot hope will be happy in the end while hating them just as much.

Along with these characters, there are multiple other relationships which show us that love can be a manipulation. Readers consider the idea that with love comes betrayal.  Bronte causes readers to fall in love-hate with her characters, many one begins loving and by the end can’t help but hate them. She does an amazing job with developing characters and showing people can change for better and for worse.  She forces readers to consider the idea of nature versus nurture, in fact, she gives reasons to argue either side is more important.

Not only does Brontë do a great job of evoking emotion and deep thought, she allows the reader to enjoy the plot through gorgeous description and writing. Every word on every page has a meaning, whether a symbol for lost love and betrayal or a foreshadowing event.

The book “Wuthering Heights” deserves to be read by people for years and years; it is a book that anyone can pick up and dive into, even if cheesy romance novels are usually all one picks up. I know from experience.